Monday, January 16, 2023

Bear Draft Pick Scenarios: Two options left for runner-up

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The final matchup of Super Wild Card Weekend between the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night will now officially determine the value of the Chicago Bears’ second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Bears will now own either the No. 53 overall or the No. 54 pick in the April draft after seeing the Baltimore Ravens eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday. With the Bears owning the Ravens’ second-round pick in exchange for All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith, they had a vested interest in the first weekend of the playoffs and caught a few breaks that served their cause.

The main thing that broke in the direction of the Bears was the Ravens’ loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. If Baltimore had survived the first round, the value of the choice for Chicago would have dropped and remained a mystery for at least another week. Now that they’re eliminated, the value of the pick ultimately comes down to how they hold up against the other teams eliminated in the wild card round.

The bears also benefited from the two surprises of the weekend. Because the New York Giants (9-7-1) defeated the Minnesota Vikings (13-4) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8) rallied to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers (10-7), two more teams have with a better reputation than the Ravens were added to the first group of eliminations and pushed them further up the draft order.

The Bears may have another break if the Buccaneers (9-8) manage to upset the Cowboys (12-4) in their wild card matchup Monday night. Either the Cowboys win and the poll stays at 54th overall, or they lose and the poll jumps to 53rd.

The Bears may be happy that the first round of the playoffs improves the value of their only second-round pick, but some of them probably still wish they had kept their original second-round pick, considering how precious she was in the end becoming.

The Bears ended 2022 with the worst regular-season record in the NFL, which earned them the No. 1 pick overall in the 2023 draft, but also ensured the pick they gave up for Claypool was the first pick of the second round would be . Normally that would be the No. 33 overall pick in the draft, but since the Miami Dolphins lost their first-round pick to manipulation and exited the first round with only 31 picks, it’s actually the No. 32 overall pick that ended in the hands of the Steelers.

Now, the Bears’ decision to trade for Claypool could yet pay off in the 2023 season. He didn’t excel in the second half of the season with the Bears, but coaches and general manager Ryan Poles appear to have attributed his lack of performance to being asked to learn a complex new offense on the fly and also how to deal with some injury woes, which kept him out of two games. With a full offseason to build chemistry with Justin Fields, Claypool could turn a corner for the Bears in 2023.

Still, it’s easy to imagine what options the bears would have had had they decided to stay in 32nd place overall. Maybe they could even have picked one of the higher-ranked recipients in the class, like Josh Downs, Jalin Hyatt, or Zay Flowers.

For now, the Bears are said to be waiting for more than 50 selections between first- and second-round picks, but it’s entirely possible — maybe even likely — that things could change a bit before Draft Day arrives in late April.

The Bears were widely expected to move back from #1 in the draft since they don’t need a quarterback and could get a massive pick in the class from a team looking to rise for their pick of passer prospects. If the Poles go this route, there’s a good chance he can pick up several premium picks that would put them on the clock ahead of their current second-round pick.

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