From the perspective of the Chicago Bears, it seemed like general manager Ryan Poles worked the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft to pick up an extra selection for nothing at all. Chicago had Tennessee right tackle Darnell Wright as the top player on their board, and several reports indicated that they had zero intention of drafting Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter. With both Wright and Carter on the board with the Bears on the clock at nine, they worked a trade back to ten with the Philadelphia Eagles.
So why did Philadelphia do something they didn’t have to do?
Eagle GM Howie Roseman recently spoke with Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, and Florio asked him point blank, “Why did you trade up from 10 to 9 to get Jalen Carter?”
“I think when we looked at it, I think one of the things just going back and you know, me personally made a lot of mistakes here throughout the process in the draft process and looking back and sometimes, it’s about getting cute with picks and not really going and getting the outcome that you desire as opposed to kind of being a little bit more conservative,” Roseman said. “And so, for us, where we were in the draft at that moment, we felt like that was the right thing to do to get Jalen here. Obviously, we know the story and the background behind Jalen. And we don’t feel so confident in our abilities to know that we can make everything right, but we do feel like in this specific situation that we have a good environment. We do think Jalen loves football. He wants to be great and so we’re excited to get him here and obviously work from there.”
A championship-caliber team like the Eagles, with a veteran locker room and established culture, can roll the dice .on a talented prospect with some red flags. Carter is going into a perfect situation for him, and he’ll have every opportunity to thrive and reach his full potential.
Chicago picked up a fourth-round pick from Philly so Roseman could ensure that no other team would jump them for their top player on their board, but how much did Ryan Poles posture about another team moving up with them?
That’s a question Florio asked as well.
“I think you’re left your own devices in those situations, and you’re putting yourself out there when, I mean there are situations where you’re trading for nothing, right?” Roseman said. “I’m not saying it was in this situation necessarily, but you’re doing it and you have to be comfortable with the outcome either way. And so, you have to be comfortable with the outcome of, ‘Hey, I traded a fourth-round pick’ and understanding that could be a good player for your team a year from now, but at the same situation being OK with not getting the player and who is next. And so, you know, that’s not to say we wouldn’t have been OK staying at 10 and taking another player, we just felt for us and our team and where we were that Jalen Carter was the right selection for us.”
Poles addressed the trade back in his post draft presser and he said he wasn’t going to risk moving back further, because Wright was their guy.
So Roseman probably did trade up for nothing, but that wasn’t a chance he was willing to take, because that’s the kind of risk a Super Bowl winning general manager can take. A fourth round pick was the necessary insurance he needed to use to get his guy.
Wright and Carter will have their careers linked due to the trade, but that’s not fir to either player. Each pick was the right move at the right time for each team. The Bears got the player they coveted, and the Eagles got the player they coveted, so this is a win-win for both franchises.