(Audacy) The entire football world knew the Bears would trade the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft at some point.
Chicago already has what it believes to be a potential franchise quarterback in Justin Fields, so general manager Ryan Poles traded down to add assets around Fields.
That was no surprise, but the timing might have been. The Bears agreed to the deal with the Panthers on March 10, about seven weeks before the start of the NFL Draft. Should the Bears have waited a bit longer to continue their due diligence on the quarterbacks as promised or to hope for a better trade package?
David Haugh and Dan Wiederer of the Audacy Original Podcast “Take The North” discussed if the Bears potentially made a mistake by trading the pick so early and if it could come back to haunt them in future years.
“The minute that you pulled the trigger on that trade and got rid of the No. 1 pick, you closed the door on your evaluations to a larger extent on the 2023 quarterback class,” Wiederer said (1:45 in player above). “Now, the reason I bring it up – and this isn’t being critical but it’s worthy of conversation – is you promised going into the offseason that you were going to do your due diligence on this class, which presumably meant going to all their pro days, which presumably meant maybe bringing a couple into Halas Hall for a top-30 visit to see how they are on the board, to see if they blew you away, to put them through a private workout to see how the ball comes off their hands, what their movement skills are like, and now you’ve closed the door on that.”
“Is it a mistake? I don’t know. Is it worth asking? Certainly,” Wiederer continued. “Because you had the No. 1 pick in this draft, so that was an opportunity, if so desired, to change course at quarterback.”
Wiederer completely understands why the Bears have stayed the course and are seeing it through with Fields, but time will tell the answer of what was the right call.
“You can’t discount the possibility that five years from now we’re looking back and going ‘My God, why didn’t they take more time to allow themselves to be open-minded to be blown away by Bryce Young,’” he said. “Again, I’m not being critical, but I don’t think it’s out of line to bring up that conversation.”
Time was on Chicago’s side as it held the No. 1 pick as a trade chip, but Poles wanted to act early, believing the impression the quarterback prospects made at the NFL Combine was a strong one and that their value was already high.
“I also think that it’s just smart business and it’s good networking,” Haugh said. “It’s only time and if you have it, use it wisely. You’re not going to be sorry for getting to know everything you can about Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson. One, because you never know when in fact you might be in a room across from them negotiating a contract during free agency. You never know when you might be facing them in a Super Bowl and you might want to know every tendency that there is or a playoff game or whatever the case may be.
“I think the more information you can get the better off you’re going to be, and they’re still over a month until the draft. If you have the time, finish the process if you’ve already started it. And if you haven’t started it, shame on you. You should’ve.”
Perhaps the Bears did do what they thought was enough due diligence on the quarterbacks to move the pick.
“That’s the latter part, right, it’s how far along did you get and how thick are those files inside the offices at Halas Hall on each of those quarterbacks?” Wiederer said. “If they’re not fully filled out – again, it’s not worthy of criticism, but it’s worthy of putting a star on it and saying let’s revisit this in 2027.”
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