Talk of the Bears trading away the No. 1 pick in the draft have picked up steam since the NFL Combine started, and consensus now is that Ryan Poles wants to acquire more capital to fill more holes on his roster. Add in growing fervor for several teams to add one of the intriguing quarterback options, and it seems like the climate is right for a blockbuster deal. As more information emerges from the Combine, however, it seems more teams than previously expected are interested in trading up. And so, the idea that the Bears can trade back twice before finally picking is starting to become popular.
That’s exactly what Todd McShay projected in his latest mock draft, starting with a swap with the Colts to go from No. 1 to No. 4.
“It's time for a long-term solution at QB for the Colts, and that might just mean moving to the top of the board,” wrote McShay. “No team scored fewer points than Indianapolis (15.8 per game) last season, the team's fifth straight season with a new Week 1 starter under center. The Colts will make it six straight, but this time, it should stick. With a handful of QB-needy teams lurking in the top 10 and the Bears listening on trade offers, Indy can get its top choice by jumping the line.”
McShay says exactly how much the Bears receive from Indy in the trade will depend on how much they covet one specific QB. He believes that player is Bryce Young, and that the return could be the No. 4 pick, the No. 35 pick, a 2023 fifth-rounder and a 2024 first round pick.
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Following the Colts trade, McShay mocks C.J. Stroud to the Texans and Will Anderson to the Cardinals. With uncertainty swirling around Jalen Carter, McShay has the Bears trading with another QB-needy team: the Las Vegas Raiders, who currently control the No. 7 pick.
“If this comes together, the Bears would be the third team since 1967 to trade twice in the top 10 of a draft, joining the 1983 Oilers and 1997 Jets, according to ESPN Stats & Information research,” wrote McShay. “But if the price is right, why not keep moving down? The Bears have Justin Fields under center and plenty of other needs, so draft capital is king for them right now.”
McShay projects the return from the Raiders to include at least a third and fourth round pick, with the chance to get a second round pick, too. All told, that means Poles will add four or five extra picks to his war chest for 2023. That’s huge considering the Bears are still trying to build the foundation of their team.
In his projections, McShay has the Raiders selecting Anthony Richardson at No. 4. Directly after that, the Seahawks pick defensive lineman Tyree Wilson and the Lions pick cornerback Christian Gonzalez. Then, finally, McShay has Poles adding a building block to his team, offensive lineman Peter Skoronski.
“There were already questions about whether Skoronski fits better as a tackle or guard at the next level, and his 32¼-inch arm length measurement at the combine will keep that chatter alive,” wrote McShay. “Offensive tackles ideally have 34-inch length or more. But he is sudden, almost always balanced in his set and powerful. And the explosion showed up in his vertical (34.5 inches) and broad jump (9-foot-7), both second-best among offensive linemen. Plus, only three sacks over 33 career starts were attributed to him at Northwestern. Braxton Jones looked impressive as a rookie, but the Bears need help on the offensive line.”
Justin Fields was sacked 55 times last season, which tied for the NFL lead alongside Russell Wilson. Some of that can be explained by Fields holding onto the ball too long as he tried to keep plays alive, but in too many cases Fields had a defender in his lap before plays had a chance to develop. If the Bears draft Skoronski, the hope is that improved protection will help everyone in the offense succeed. Further, if Skoronski slides into the left tackle spot, the Bears will be able to move Braxton Jones to right tackle, shoring up two positions at once.
Skoronski is a Park Ridge native, and said it would be a dream come true to play for his hometown team, even though he grew up a Packers fan. Skoronski’s grandfather, Bob, played left tackle for the Packers under Vince Lombardi in 1956, then again from 1959-1968. He won five NFL Championships and two Super Bowls with Green Bay. That family history wouldn’t stop Skoronski from suiting up in navy and blue.
“Obviously, you know, I'm not going to be some Packers fan saying I won't play for them,” Skoronski said on 670TheScore earlier this year. “It’d be an absolute honor to, you know, play for that franchise for sure.”
The NFL Draft begins Apr. 27.