The Chicago Bears have the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and a number of options at their disposal.
After drafting quarterback Justin Fields in the first round of the 2021 draft, Chicago could trade down for a big haul and stick with Fields under center.
They could also take a quarterback with the first pick and trade Fields or use the pick for a position of need.
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C.J. Stroud, who could be the first quarterback taken off the board in April and was also teammates with Fields for one year at Ohio State, doesn’t want to be drafted by Chicago.
“I don’t want to go there. That’s his team,” Stroud said Friday at the NFL combine. “But I gotta do my own thing. I gotta go build my legacy. Me and him are brothers for life.”
Last week, Bears general manager Ryan Poles said the organization is leaning toward moving the pick.
“We’ve always leaned [toward trading back from No. 1] because Justin did some really good things,” Poles said Tuesday from the scouting combine, according to ESPN. “I’m excited about where his game is going to go. But, at the same time, when you sit in our situation at one overall, you have to do your due diligence. You have to investigate everything. You have to spend time with those guys just to make sure we’re making the right decision.
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“What’s important to me — and I think everyone knows me by now and how I want to treat our players — we’ll be in communication with Justin along the way just to make sure that he knows what we’re doing and nothing is a surprise to him.”
Fields has shown flashes he can be the answer at quarterback for the Bears, improving in his second year in the NFL.
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Fields threw for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions in 15 games, adding 1,143 yards on the ground with eight touchdowns.
After praising Fields for his resiliency in 2022, Stroud made sure to add that Fields can do more than use his legs on the football field.
“He ain’t no damn running back. He’s a quarterback,” Stroud said Friday. “He can sling that rock. So, I’m going to stand up for my brother every time. And he’s going to do great things in his career, and I’m excited to play with him.”