Bears GM heads to combine, where offers for No. 1 pick await
A deal for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft is likely to be in place before the end of the Scouting Combine, which gets underway this week in Indianapolis.
Hometown general manager Chris Ballard is among the known bidders for the first pick in the draft, which currently belongs to the Chicago Bears. General manager Ryan Poles and Ballard were co-workers and shared an office in the Kansas City Chiefs’ scouting department.
Poles and the Bears are unlikely to draft a quarterback with Justin Fields entering his third season, but two top-rated defensive linemen would make staying put at the top tempting. Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter and Alabama defensive end Will Anderson Jr. are viewed as blue-chip players, but quarterback demand almost always raises prospects at that position in April.
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud are expected targets of the Colts, who would like to move up from No. 4 to avoid losing out on an elite passer. The Houston Texans own the No. 2 pick and are also in the QB market, as are a number of teams with selections in the top 10 who could be willing trade matches when Poles begins comparing offers.
Poles said in January he would listen to any offer, not immediately rejecting the notion a team could trade for Fields instead of the No. 1 pick. The Bears also plan to meet with quarterback prospects during in-person interviews in Indianapolis this week.
General managers often spend countless hours meeting with agents of their own veteran players at the combine with free agency opening in two weeks.
They’ll also be in the company of their peers during and after player testing periods at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The No. 1 pick has been traded before draft day 12 times since 1967. This is the first time the Bears own the No. 1 pick entering the draft since selecting Bob Fenimore in 1947. The “Blonde Bomber” was a halfback at Oklahoma A&M.
–Field Level Media