NFL Honors provides unique perspective for the Chicago Bears impending decisions

Chicago Bears, Caleb Williams
Chicago Bears, Caleb Williams / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

The NFL Honors has become an annual event, and a key feature of Super Bowl week, where the league celebrates the best individual performances of the season ahead of the year's epic finale. This year's event was no different, as Keegan Michael-Key returned to host a star-studded night in Las Vegas. Many awards, such as Most Valuable Player (Lamar Jackson), Offensive Player of the Year (Christian McCaffrey), and Defensive Player of the Year (Myles Garrett), were presented on Thursday night, but the general manager Ryan Poles and the Chicago Bears decision-makers should specifically take note of the rookie-level award winners.

Chicago Bears, CJ Stroud, Will Anderson Jr
Chicago Bears, CJ Stroud, Will Anderson Jr / Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

This year, the Houston Texans became the second consecutive team to roster both the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year (C.J. Stroud/Will Anderson Jr) after the New York Jets (Garrett Wilson/Sauce Gardner) a season ago. Notably, it is interesting that the Texans were able to walk away from the season with this hardware - and a playoff run - thanks in large part to their unforeseen aggression in last April's NFL Draft.

With the second overall pick, the Texans were assumed to take the unselected out of Stroud and eventual first overall pick Bryce Young, but they stole the entire show by turning around and trading up from the twelfth to third overall pick, where they selected the class's premier defensive player in Anderson. This move was surprising and even received criticism for being too aggressive, especially for a team who, "on paper", had a talentless roster.

The Chicago Bears' reputation heading into 2024 is certainly higher than the Texans' was a year ago, but with a unique opportunity to quickly revamp their roster, the Bears should seriously consider following in Houston's footsteps. Now, this year's draft class may not feature a premier defensive prospect as highly touted as Anderson that would immediately impact the Bears' defense in such a manner, but the Bears could still be able to trade up from the ninth overall pick to select another cornerstone player.

Take this scenario, where the Bears select Caleb Williams first overall, the Washington Commanders take Drake Maye second overall, and then the New England Patriots, who may not be in love with the third quarterback on the board, look to trade back for future draft compensation. The Bears are in a good spot in terms of quality and quantity of draft picks in the near future - especially if they trade Justin Fields. Poles could look to aggressively move up from nine to three to select perhaps the class's best offensive weapon in Marvin Harrison Jr or even an elite offensive tackle prospect in Joe Alt.

Chicago Bears, Marvin Harrison Jr
Chicago Bears, Marvin Harrison Jr / Brooke LaValley / USA TODAY NETWORK

One reason the Texans were able to so quickly reap their rewards from last year's draft is that they were careful to go out and find two leaders at premium positions who would improve the quality of play around them. All three prospects listed above, and several other high-caliber individuals, could serve similar roles with the Bears, especially as the team tries to get over the hump and make the playoffs themselves.

Of course, Poles and the front office are not going to make this decision based on what another franchise did last year or who won what award at the NFL Honors, but it offers a unique perspective for a team that is facing the defining decision of their regime. There is truly no blueprint for what to do in the Chicago Bears' circumstance, but whatever decision the team eventually makes should be backed somewhat by recent and historical precedents across the league.