The Chicago Bears have officially secured the first-overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft as the Carolina Panthers lost and the Arizona Cardinals won in Week 17. The clock is now ticking as Ryan Poles is in a similar position this year as he was last year. Actually, Poles and the Bears are in an even better position because they own two first-round picks this year. Last season it was the Bears' pick at first overall, but this year it will be the Bears' pick via the Carolina Panthers.
If we rewind to Week 18 of the 2022 NFL regular season, the Houston Texans beat the Indianapolis Colts in a meaningless game and moved from first overall to second. Lovie Smith was the head coach but was already told he was being fired at the end of the year. Fans love to speculate that Smith won that game as revenge on the Texans, while also helping his old team, the Bears, come away with the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Ryan Poles used that luck to make a trade with the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers moved up from ninth overall to first to select Bryce Young. Chicago received the ninth-overall pick, a second-round pick (61) in 2023, a first-round pick (1) in 2024 and a second-round pick in 2025. Also in that trade was DJ Moore.
Ryan Poles is playing chess while other teams are playing checkers
The Panthers didn't have a strong roster in 2023 and Ryan Poles found a way to weaken it even more. Poles made sure that DJ Moore was a part of the trade, weakening the Panthers' WR group. Adding a rookie quarterback who wasn't even viewed as the clear-cut favorite in his draft class was a recipe for disaster and Poles helped create that disaster by taking his most reliable weapon in Moore.
Now, the Chicago Bears own the first overall pick and the 10th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. The opportunities are endless for Poles, and he could add some serious talent in the upcoming draft. Will he move on from Justin Fields or trade down and acquire more draft capital? Buckle up and get ready for the ride! What a great gift as we ring in the new year!