Draft Pick Jockeying: Scenarios Entering Final Week of Play

Before I get started I’ve been a little distracted by the news about Damar Hamlin. It’s tough to write about the end of one of the worst seasons in Bears’ history while that young man is fighting for his life. His chances of playing again diminish with each day he spends on a ventilator. That said, the only thing that matters is that Hamlin recovers to lead an everyday life. Prayers up, Damar.

As I said, the Bears have little fight left and even less to fight for. Chicago “phoned it in” during last week’s 41-10 loss to the Lions. It was by far their most pathetic effort of what has been a dismal season. If you believe in foreshadowing, the Bears played their season opener in near-monsoon weather, and after beating the 49ers, have won just two games since.

Justin Fields led the Bears in that win, but he’ll miss the season finale due to a hip injury. Nathan Peterman will start in his place, while the Vikings hope to secure the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. That combination doesn’t bode well for Chicago’s footballers. Minnesota should jump out to a large lead before resting their starters.

A loss would leave the Bears at 3-14 on the season, just as many pundits predicted. If Chicago is “fighting” for anything, it’s a shot at the No.1 draft pick next April. A loss to the Vikings combined with a Houston win over Indianapolis will give the Bears an NFL-worst record.

Believe it or not, a Chicago victory over Minnesota has the potential to drop the Bears to the fourth pick. Here are your draft pick scenarios entering Week 18:

  1. The Bears will select No. 1 overall if they lose to the Vikings and the Texans beat the Colts.
  2. Chicago will earn the second selection if they lose and Houston also loses.
  3. The third pick is in play, too. If the Bears win on Sunday, and if the Broncos win against the Chargers or the Cardinals defeat the 49ers, then Chicago falls one slot.
  4. In a worst-case scenario, the Bears will fall to No. 4 if they beat the Vikings, and the Texans, Broncos, and Cardinals all lose.

Why is the number one pick so important? It seems unlikely that the Bears will draft one of the top two quarterbacks because they are building their offense based on the strengths of Fields. That means GM Ryan Poles will have his pick among the top non-quarterbacks in the draft. A strong possibility also exists that Poles could trade down to a team that wants one of Bryant Young or C.J. Stroud.

In fact, one of those teams could be the Texans. Houston has 13 picks, including three of the top 32. The Bears might actually have more leverage in a trade with the Texans by finishing second. If the Bears have the first pick, they’d likely demand the No. 2 overall in any package.  If Houston gets the first selection, they might be inclined to build a package around their second first-round pick and the top pick in the second round. In that scenario, the Texans would be choosing their top quarterback and defensive lineman. They’d have little inclination to trade up if they couldn’t come away with the 1.1 and 1.2 picks.

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