Jan 9, 2023 - Sports

Bears get top draft pick after a woeful 2022

Football player running with ball

Justin Fields set records this year running the football. Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Bears ended their miserable season by losing their 10th straight game Sunday to finish 3-14.

The bright side: After falling to the Vikings 29-13, they now have the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

  • This is the first time since 1947 that the Bears will draft first overall.

State of play: As the organization heads into one of its most crucial offseasons in recent history, let's break down what happened in 2022:

Ryan Poles: The new GM set the tone early last offseason by trading away superstar Khalil Mack. He then gave up defensive stars Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn midseason. After those trades, the Bears didn't win another game.

  • Yes, but: He secured several draft picks in return and traded for wide receiver Chase Claypool.
  • And two rookies stood out after entering the lineup — undrafted linebacker Jack Sanborn and second-round safety Jaquan Brisker.

Matt Eberflus: The defensive-minded head coach was hired for his toughness and discipline, something the Bears lacked before the season. And yet this defense is arguably one of the worst in franchise history.

  • Yes, but: The Bears lost several close games they could have won.

Justin Fields: The young quarterback proved he is the future by dazzling fans with big plays and setting franchise rushing records.

  • Yes, but: He struggled when opponents forced him to throw rather than run.

What's next: The Bears lead the league with over $100 million in cap space.

  • The free agent class should include several premier linemen, including defensive tackle Daron Payne and offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr.
  • They will also have to decide on retention of their own free agents, including running back David Montgomery.

Meanwhile, the team could use its first-round pick in the draft on edge rusher Will Anderson or defensive tackle Jalen Carter.

  • But with other teams desperate for a quarterback, the Bears could also trade down for more picks later in the draft.

The bottom line: This offseason may be more exciting than the actual 2022-23 season.

  • The clock is ticking.
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

Chicagopostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more