Rip up the mock drafts, there is a new team sitting at the top of the NFL draft board.
There was speculation that the Chicago Bears would look to move on from the top selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Bears already have their franchise quarterback in place with Justin Fields.
There was a chance that Chicago would stand pat at pick No. 1 with an elite defensive lineman in Jalen Carter an almost surefire top-three pick. However, recent legal issues for Carter may have turned the Bears away from spending that top selection on the Georgia star.
Chicago was ready to move down, they just needed their dance partner. Yesterday, March 10, they found that partner in the Carolina Panthers. NFL insider Ian Rapaport reported the deal.
The Panthers received the first overall pick in exchange for the ninth overall pick, pick No. 61, a 2024 first-round pick, and 2025 second-round pick and wide receiver D.J. Moore.
The Chicago Bears receive a big haul to build around Justin Fields
In Moore, the Bears have found a No. 1 receiver for Fields to throw the ball to. Chicago’s skill position group instantly appears more potent than what it put on the field in 2022. Fields’ weapons next season include Moore, Chase Claypool, Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet. Moore carries a hefty cap hit for Chicago, but the team still boasts the most cap space in the NFL with $75.6 million. Poles has plenty of room to keep building around Fields.
Chicago sticks in the top ten where they can upgrade any of their positions of need. The team can protect Fields by selecting tackle Peter Skoronski, add secondary help in Devon Witherspoon or Christian Gonzalez or upgrade their defensive front with Calijah Kancey. In free agency, the Bears will likely be the NFL’s biggest spenders. Poles has the cap space, and he will use it.
Carolina Panthers are in a position to take the quarterback of their choice
Reports indicate the Panthers have not ruled out moving back from the first overall pick if they fall in love with more than one quarterback from this class. However, the team is likely to stick with the first pick and take their favorite.
It appears that Bryce Young is no longer the favorite to be the first quarterback selected in this year’s draft. Multiple reports indicate that Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud is the quarterback the Panthers have their eyes on at No. 1 overall.
Carolina is in the driver’s seat. They get to dictate how the rest of the draft falls. Under new head coach Frank Reich, the Panthers have the opportunity to find their franchise quarterback for the next 10-plus years. No pressure.
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