Did Matt Eberflus drop a hint at what the Chicago Bears might do with the ninth pick?

The Chicago Bears seem destined to select Caleb Williams at 1.01. However, not enough people seem to be talking about what they might do with the ninth pick in the draft. Did Matt Eberflus drop a hint this morning while at the annual coaches meeting?

Feb 27, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Chicago Bears coach Matt Eberflus speaks during a press
Feb 27, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Chicago Bears coach Matt Eberflus speaks during a press / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like the Chicago Bears are locked into Caleb Williams with the first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. That isn't the only first-round pick the Bears own though. That pick was gifted to Ryan Poles by the Carolina Panthers with a little help from an old Bear himself, Lovie Smith. The Panthers traded their first-rounder in 2024 to move up from nine to one (funny coincidence) to select quarterback Bryce Young. That didn't work out well for the Panthers and they finished with the worst record in football in 2023 - gifting the first pick in the draft to Chicago.

After an up-and-down season by the Bears, Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus sadly moved on from their quarterback, Justin Fields. Fields was traded to Pittsburgh for a bag of potato chips and now all the focus seems to be pointed at top quarterback prospect Caleb Williams. Social media is all over the place on this one from a fan perspective, but Poles has a process to his madness and we all just need to see how it plays out.

The Chicago Bears also own the ninth pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and everyone is hoping that one of the top wide receivers falls to Chicago at nine -- Marvin Harrison, Jr., Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze. The problem here is that might not happen. Chicago also only has four picks in the draft -- although three of them are in the top 75 and two of them are in the top 10. With two picks in the top 10, Ryan Poles has the ability to vastly improve the roster even more than what he's accomplished over his first two years. This leaves us with the question. What will the Chicago Bears do at 1.09?

Did Matt Eberflus drop a hint at what the Bears will do at 1.09?

While at the 2024 NFL Annual League Meeting, Matt Eberflus met with the media on Tuesday morning. Herb Howard of The Bigs was in attendance and mentioned that while speaking to the media about the upcoming draft, Eberflus was asked about their plans for the ninth pick in the draft -- specifically where the first eight players off the board could be on the offensive side of the football. Eberflus said that the Bears will focus on players that either help the quarterback or affect the quarterback.

Is this a hint at what the Bears might do with the ninth pick? Let's break it down a little. The first part of his comment states that they will look to add a player that helps the quarterback. Well, that could be any position on the offensive side of the ball. Knowing the draft prospects, I would think it could mean the Bears will consider a wide receiver, a left tackle, or maybe Brock Bowers (TE). There isn't a running back worth taking at 1.09 and honestly, no team should ever use that high of a pick on that position anyway. Center and guard shouldn't be an option either.

Now, let's take a look at the second part of Eberflus' response. They will look at a player who will affect the quarterback. On the surface, one might think this screams pass rusher. However, it could be any position on defense. Let's try to read between the lines though. The Bears don't need a cornerback outside of some depth now that they extended Jaylon Johnson. Depth isn't something you use a top-10 pick on. The linebacker group is very good and there isn't a linebacker worthy of a top-10 pick in this draft class. This leaves the defensive line and safety.

Safety is a big need, but again, knowing the prospects in this draft class, none of them are worthy of a top-10 pick. There are guys worthy of being taken in the first round and that could lead to Chicago trading down from 1.09. Remember, Poles only has four picks in the draft, so trading down from nine is a highly likely scenario. In my opinion though, if the Chicago Bears are to stay at 1.09, then defensive end (or pass rusher) is the most likely outcome.

You could make a case for Jared Verse, Laiatu Latu, or Dallas Turner in the top 10. For me, it's Jared Verse all the way. Jerry Newton or Byron Murphy, II could also be in play. I only have Newton as a top-10 prospect, but I know others have Murphy ranked that high too.

Did Matt Eberflus tip the Bears' hand? Some might think so. Although you can narrow down what positions are worth taking in the top 10, Eberflus left his response wide open for nearly any player at any position. It's always fun to dissect these things though and I still think they are keying in on wide receiver, left tackle, Brock Bowers, or an EDGE rusher. What do you think

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