How Thursday Night Football vs. Panthers impacts Bears' 2024 draft picks

It's the question every Bears fan has been asking all week: what does the best-case scenario actually look like?

Chicago Bears, 2024 NFL Draft
Chicago Bears, 2024 NFL Draft / JEFF HAYNES/GettyImages
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If the Bears win, their pick drops to the no. 5 selection

If the Bears win on Thursday night, their pick will drop to the no. 5 overall spot in the first round. But, it's not all "bad" news. Carolina would drop to 1-8, tied with the Arizona Cardinals, and they would actually jump the Cardinals for the no. 1 spot, for now. The reason for Carolina's jump to no. 1 has to do with strength of schedule. If Arizona were to lose this weekend, Carolina's pick would fall back down to the no. 2 selection.

Hypothetically speaking, here is the top of the draft order if the Bears were to beat Carolina:

1. Chicago Bears via Carolina Panthers (1-8)

2. Arizona Cardinals (1-8)

3. New York Giants (2-7)

4. New England Patriots (2-7)

5. Chicago Bears (3-7)

6. Los Angeles Rams (3-6)

The prospects available at no. 5 will have one major difference than if they were still picking at no. 3, and that's the probability that North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye will have already gone. Whether or not the Bears were planning to take a quarterback with their second selection, Maye will not be there.

The significance of Maye being drafted in the top four picks is more so that the Bears would be less likely to trade that pick to a team that desperately wanted Maye. If they stayed at no. 3, then another team making a trade with the Bears to come get Maye becomes far more likely after Caleb Williams and Marvin Harrison Jr. go one and two.