Should the Bears Trade the No. 9 Pick? Cases for and Against Chicago Moving Down

The Bears are expected to choose QB Caleb Williams with the first pick in next month's draft. But what will Chicago do with its selection at No. 9?

Everyone knows what the Chicago Bears plan to do with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. USC quarterback Caleb Williams has long been viewed as the obvious choice at the top of the draft, and his path to Chicago became even more apparent when the Bears traded fellow QB Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week.

But what about Chicago’s pick at No. 9 overall? The Bears’ choice at No. 1 initially belonged to the Carolina Panthers, but the club’s No. 9 selection is their original pick.

Will general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus consider trading down from No. 9 after adding Williams to begin the draft? Or will Chicago stick in the top 10 and bolster its roster with another blue-chip prospect? Let’s make the case for both paths.

Why the Bears Should Trade the No. 9 Pick in the 2024 NFL Draft

With visions of Williams in a Bears jersey already running through their dreams, many Chicago fans had been targeting wide receiver help with the ninth overall pick.

According to Pro Football Network’s Mock Draft Simulator data, users are drafting Washington WR Rome Odunze or LSU WR Malik Nabers at No. 9 in roughly 35% of simulations.

The fit made sense entering free agency. Wideout Darnell Mooney played the second-most snaps (766) and received the second-most targets (61) among Chicago WRs in 2023 but left to sign a three-year, $39 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons.

However, the Bears filled their WR2 void behind D.J. Moore by acquiring Keenan Allen from the Los Angeles Chargers earlier this month. Chicago sent a fourth-round pick to the Bolts and Allen, who set a new career high with 108 receptions last season while ranking 10th league-wide in yards per route run (2.36).

Allen wasn’t the Bears’ only veteran offseason addition. Poles also signed RB D’Andre Swift, TE Gerald Everett, C Coleman Shelton, and S Kevin Byard, traded for OL Ryan Bates, and extended franchise-tagged CB Jaylon Johnson.

Chicago’s roster should be improved in 2024, but the club is light on capital in the upcoming draft. After a variety of transactions, the Bears have just four selections this year: their two first-round picks, a third-round pick (No. 75), and a fourth-round pick (No. 122).

Trading down would allow Chicago to acquire more picks in the 2024 draft and potentially in future seasons. The Bears are sitting right in front of QB-needy teams like the Minnesota Vikings (No. 11), Denver Broncos (No. 12), and Las Vegas Raiders (No. 13) and could benefit from a bidding war if one or multiple signal-callers fall to No. 9.

Why the Bears Should Hold Onto the No. 9 Pick in the 2024 NFL Draft

While Chicago could restock its draft capital by moving down from No. 9, there’s also a case that the Bears should stick inside the top 10.

If Odunze or Nabers is still on the board when Chicago makes its second selection, the Bears should run to turn in their card. Allen was an excellent addition, but he’s 31 years old and entering the final season of his contract. He’s not a long-term solution in the Windy City.

New Bears offensive coordinator Shane Waldron knows how to deploy a rookie wideout. As the Seattle Seahawks’ OC in 2023, Waldron integrated first-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba into the club’s offense.

Seattle used 11 personnel (three WRs) on 52.9% of its plays in 2022, the eighth-lowest rate in the league. Waldron increased that rate by more than 10 points (64.2%, 15th in the NFL) after landing JSN in 2023.

Chicago has other positions it could fill at No. 9 beyond wide receiver. Georgia tight end Brock Bowers has been a popular selection in our mock draft simulator, heading to the Bears in roughly 15% of mocks.

But edge rusher might be the most glaring void on Chicago’s roster.

KEEP READING: Commanders Leaning Jayden Daniels at No. 2?

The Bears traded for Washington Commanders DE Montez Sweat at the 2023 deadline and watched him thrive — six sacks and 14 QB hits in nine games — over the rest of the season.

DeMarcus Walker is a serviceable starting option opposite Sweat, but Chicago could consider a higher-upside pass rusher at No. 9. Alabama’s Dallas Turner, Florida State’s Jared Verse, and UCLA’s Laiatu Latu are among the DEs the Bears might think about with their second first-rounder.

All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

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