(670 The Score) Just about everyone has an opinion on what the Bears should do with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft in late April, so we figured at 670 The Score that it might be fun to track the sentiment across the league and sports media landscape.
With that in mind, we’re taking a look at what players, sports personalities, analysts, pundits and others have to say about how the Bears should use the top pick as they come off a 3-14 season. Of course, intertwined in the debate is one’s belief in 23-year-old Bears quarterback Justin Fields' long-term trajectory. Should the Bears use the No. 1 pick to build around Fields or look to trade Fields and select his replacement at the top of the draft? Here’s a look at what they’re saying.
Jaylon Johnson, Bears cornerback
Appearing on the Parkins & Spiegel Show on Jan. 12, Johnson made it clear that the Bears should use the No. 1 pick to build around Fields, not replace him.
“I almost feel like that’s a waste of a draft pick, if you let me tell it,” Johnson said of the possibility of the Bears using the No. 1 pick to draft a quarterback and move on from Fields. “I just believe in Justin. In a sense, I don’t feel like there’s another quarterback in this draft that’s better than Justin if you ask me. But I don’t know, maybe if somebody else believes there’s a savior in this draft class at quarterback – hey, I'm all marbles in, all chips in on Justin. I feel like it’s not his abilities. It’s more so about what you put around him, the offense you can create with him. That challenges people.
“If we go all marbles in on Justin, I don’t think he’ll let us down.”
Laurence Holmes, 670 The Score midday host
Holmes strongly believes the Bears need to trade down out of the No. 1 spot and use that return to build around Fields.
“It would be a failure if the Bears made a pick at No. 1,” Holmes said on his show on Jan. 9. “That to me would be the only wrong move.”
Micah Parsons, Cowboys star edge rusher
Arguably the best defensive player in the NFL, Parsons cast his support for the Bears to build around Fields.
“I’ll be shocked if Chicago don’t trade back or don’t go above and beyond to build around Justin!” Parson tweeted on Jan. 11.
Mike Tannenbaum, former NFL general manager and current ESPN analyst
Tannenbaum believes the Bears should trade Fields and select Alabama quarterback Bryce Young at No. 1 overall to replace Fields.
“I would trade Justin Fields, and I’m taking nothing away from him,” Tannenbaum said on “Get Up” on ESPN on Jan. 10. “I think he has a chance to be a good, maybe a top-10 quarterback. But if you can get at least a first- and a third-round pick (for Fields) – which I believe you can, because so many teams need a quarterback – I’m going to draft Bryce Young, who I think is going to be a better quarterback than Justin Fields. And when I do that and get at least a first- and a third-round pick, I’m resetting (with) Bryce Young’s rookie contract and I’m going to be able to get at least four starting-caliber players (in free agency as well).”
Boomer Esiason, WFAN host and NFL on CBS analyst
Esiason would like to see the Bears trade down twice in the NFL Draft and use that extra draft and/or player capital to support Fields.
“Most people out there believe that (the Bears) believe in Justin Fields and this is what we think right now – and that they should trade the No. 1 pick to one of two AFC teams that are dying for a quarterback,” Esiason said on the Parkins & Spiegel Show on Jan. 11. “One would be Houston, and the other would obviously be Indianapolis. They’re right behind (the Bears in the draft order). Wouldn’t it be interesting if they made two trades? Maybe you trade with Houston and you go to No. 2. Houston can take Bryce Young if that’s who they want. And now Indianapolis has a bunch of guys to look at, whether it be (Kentucky’s) Will Levis or (Ohio State’s) C.J. Stroud or (Florida’s) Anthony Richardson. They can go that way, maybe (the Bears) trade with the Colts and they drop down again and they get some more assets. Listen, it’s a canvass to be painted on.”
Nate Tice, Athletic writer
Tice believes Fields is a better player and prospect than the four top-rated quarterback prospects in this draft, so he would be fully focused on building around Fields.
“There’s not just one dude,” Tice said on the Hoge & Jahns podcast in reference to the ranking of quarterback prospects. “If you ask 10 people that watch these four guys, the rankings are all going to be different. Or at least, you know, a couple guys might have the same, but it’s all over the place. But that’s why I say, none of these I have as a higher prospect than Fields when he was coming out or how I feel about Fields now.
“Personally, I think it would be idiotic (to trade Fields and draft a quarterback). I think Fields is a full tier better as a prospect.”
Rich Eisen, NFL Network host
“You’re out of your mind” if you want to trade Fields and draft his replacement, Eisen said on his show in January. Eisen likes Fields more than Young or Stroud.
“Justin Fields has proven that the Jets should’ve taken him at No. 2 (in 2021) instead of Zach Wilson, that he was the second-best at the position (behind Trevor Lawrence),” Eisen said.
Colin Cowherd, Fox Sports 1 host
Cowherd would also like the Bears to build around Fields, but he would put a focus on acquiring a proven offensive player as part of their trade out of the No. 1 spot
“You have a pitiful offensive line, a bad receiving core and in (2023), those are the two things you’ve got to get right,” Cowherd said on his show on Jan. 9.
“If I was the Bears, I would not only trade down with the pick, but I would trade down and not just get draft picks. Because they’ve shown no ability to offensive players and develop them. I’d go to the Raiders and say, ‘You want it? Give us Hunter Renfrow and picks.’”
“Fields has proven that he has real potential,” Florio said. “He’s already the best running quarterback in the league. It’s up to the Bears to build a passing game around his next-level rushing skills. Given his threat to slip past the defensive linemen and gain 50 or more yards at any given time, it shouldn’t be that hard to get more out of his overall abilities with his arm.”
Matt Miller, ESPN draft analyst
Miller doesn’t believe the Bears should consider taking a quarterback at No. 1 overall. He thinks there are parallels between Fields’ trajectory and Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts’ rise. With more playmakers around him in his third NFL season, Hurts emerged as an MVP candidate in this 2022 season.
“I don’t have any quarterback in this class graded higher than I had Justin Fields,” Miller said on NBC Sports Chicago on Jan. 12. “He was my No. 2 quarterback right behind Trevor Lawrence.”
Dane Brugler, Athletic draft analyst
If he ran the Bears, Brugler would look to trade down, but he’d make sure it’s only a few slots. In his mock draft on Jan. 17, Brugler had the Bears moving down to No. 4 in a trade with the Colts and then selecting Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter.
“I don’t think it’s as simple (for the Bears) as just saying, ‘What’s the best offer? All right, boom, let’s take it,’” Brugler said on the Mully & Haugh Show on Jan. 19. “I think there’s a good chance if they get that offer from Indianapolis sitting there at No. 4, that has to be the most appealing trade offer even if it’s a little bit less than what another team is giving them because you’re still within the top four picks. You’re staying within striking distance of those two defensive linemen – Will Anderson from Alabama and Jalen Carter from Georgia. I think there’s a big drop-off after those two in terms of the next-best non-quarterback in this class."
Mel Kiper, ESPN draft analyst
In his first mock draft, Kiper predicted the Bears would stay at No. 1 overall and take Carter. Kiper doesn't think any of the quarterbacks in this draft class are "super elite," and he believes the Bears want to land Carter. He also wouldn't entertain the idea of trading Fields.
"They want to come out of this draft with Jalen Carter," Kiper said, calling it the intersection of "need plus the great player."