With their loss to the Saints in the NFC Wild Card round on Sunday, the Bears will have the No. 20 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft this year.
After the expansion to a 14-team playoff this past offseason, the draft order now starts involving playoff teams at the No. 19 selection, which is held by the Washington Football Team. The corresponding order among playoff teams is determined from when a team got eliminated, said team’s regular season record, and, in the event of a tiebreaker, their strength of schedule.
With Washington at 7-9 and no other playoff teams holding a worse record than the Bears, Chicago now has the No. 20 spot locked up. This marks their first selection in the first round since 2018, when they took Roquan Smith with the No. 8 pick.
This marks the third time the Bears have had the No. 20 pick in their franchise’s history. The last time they held said spot came in 2013, when they selected three-time Pro Bowler Kyle Long. They also picked at No. 20 in 1974, selecting defensive end Dave Gallagher. Gallagher played one season for the Bears and was out of the NFL after five seasons.
The No. 20 selection has seen some stars taken in its place, including the likes of Jack Youngblood, Steve Atwater, Aqib Talib, Tambi Hali, Frank Ragnow, Noah Fant, and Brandin Cooks. The Jaguars held the selection last year and took LSU edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson, who played more of a reserve role in his rookie campaign.
As they head into the offseason, the Bears have plenty of choices to make. Their first-round pick will likely be selected on an offensive player, but it should be interesting to see what they do with the No. 20 pick, whether they keep it or not.