We’re officially less than a week until the 2023 NFL Draft mercifully, finally, arrives. For Chicago Bears fans, it has been months of speculation and rumors since securing the first overall pick, and the hype hasn’t changed after trading the pick to the Carolina Panthers.
Now sitting with the ninth overall pick, the possibility of trading down a second time looms large for the Chicago faithful.
Ryan Poles has made it clear that he values “blue chip” players. Will he stick at nine and select who he and his team have determined is an elite talent, or will they be willing to field trade calls to acquire more volume for a roster with plenty of holes? Below, we will discuss three players that might be on the board that could garner trade interest.
Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
How the quarterback position goes in the first round is going to be a driving factor for how much of the board shakes out. At this point, it’s all but assumed that Bryce Young is going to be the first overall pick to the Carolina Panthers – as of writing, he has -1600 odds, with Stroud being second at +800 – but it’s up in the air how Stroud, Anthony Richardson, Will Levis, and Hendon Hooker will fare.
If Levis (or Richardson, for that matter) falls to the Bears at nine, it could create a bit of a scramble from teams like the Titans and Commanders to attempt to move up.
Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
Jalen Carter is a name that Bears fans are quite familiar with. Rumors linking the Bears to Carter have been swirling since long before the NFL Scouting Combine. If it weren’t for his legal issues, he would be in the conversation as being the best player in the draft, and the first non-quarterback to be drafted.
It seems the panic around Carter has cooled as of late, and there’s no promise that he will be on the board when the Bears are on the clock. If he is, he very well could be the pick for Poles. Carter is also the caliber of player that could garner trade interest from numerous teams as a franchise cornerstone for a defensive line, including from the likes of the Pittsburgh Steelers at 17 – a team that has been linked to Chicago in recent weeks as a potential trade partner.
From NFL Now: Teams are meeting to make their decisions on when they would take #Georgia DT Jalen Carter, with no question on talent but plenty of questions otherwise. pic.twitter.com/5LMsGKYjeo— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 19, 2023
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Another “blue chip” player, Jaxon Smith-Njigba is widely considered to be the best wide receiver in this class as a polished route runner. Philadelphia has been linked as a potential wide receiver landing spot with the 10th pick, as has Tennessee at 11, Houston at 12, New England at 14, and Green Bay at 15.
If one of those teams not named Green Bay wants to leapfrog the others and secure the best wide receiver in the class, Chicago should absolutely listen.