Panthers Trade for the No. 1 Overall Pick in the NFL Draft. Bears Show Belief in QB Justin Fields.
After years of searching for the cheaper, more affordable, or some may say "smarter" option at quarterback, the Panthers decided today to spend a haul to move from #9 to #1, to land their quarterback of the future. The Panthers finished the season strong last year, but it was clear that after time with PJ Walker, Sam Darnold, and Baker Mayfield at the helm, it was time to make an investment for a possible star. The Panthers traded away Pick #9 and #61 in this year's draft along with a 2024 1st round pick, 2025 2nd round pick, and star wide receiver DJ Moore, in exchange for the 1st overall pick in this year's draft. Some would say that it is a hefty price to pay, but the talent at the top of this year's draft warrants the bold move. With the 1st overall selection the Panthers will have their choice between Alabama Star Bryce Young, Ohio State Quarterback CJ Stroud, Kentucky QB Will Levis, or the ultra athlete QB from Florida in Anthony Richardson. The Panthers are odds on favorites to select CJ Stroud with the pick, based on the history of their new head coach Frank Reich. According to Pete Prisco of CBS Sports who said "I can't see Frank Reich choosing a smaller quarterback".
By moving down to 9th, the Bears most likely also forfeit the opportunity to grab one of the two best defenders in this draft in Alabama Edge defender Will Anderson and Georgia DT Jalen Carter. However, there will be a lot of talent left on the board, the likes of Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzales, Texas Tech sack artist Tyree Wilson, Wide Receiver Quentin Johnston, and Tackle Peter Skoronski could all still be available when the Bears pick at 9. Given the legal situation with Jalen Carter, he could also drop to the 9th pick. The Bears have needs at offensive line, defensive line, linebacker (after losing Roquan Smith), wide receiver, and defensive back. They now have eight picks in the first five rounds of the draft to address their issues. This move, along with acquiring DJ Moore, solidifies the Bears trust in their quarterback Justin Fields. This is a similar move to the "move of trust" the Eagles made for their quarterback Jalen Hurts during the draft last year. The Eagles traded away their first round pick to acquire WR AJ Brown. The Bears are hoping for similar returns on their investment in Fields. Below is a mock draft for the Bears, assuming no additional trades are made:
Trading for the number one pick overall has been done on several occasions in the past, most recently in 2016, when the Rams acquired quarterback Jared Goff. The Chargers famously gave away their rights to acquire quarterback Michael Vick to the Atlanta Falcons in 2001. The number overall pick was also traded in 1997, 1995, and 1990 for quarterback Jeff George. In only one of those cases did the team trading for the quarterback, make it to the Super Bowl with the quarterback they traded for, and that was Jared Goff. However, it is always best in my opinion to go and get your guy if he is within reach. Sean Payton often talks about how the Chiefs jumped him for Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 draft. The Saints franchise would be a lot different if Sean Payton would have gotten a hold on "his guy". The Panthers hope that their move to grab "their guy" results in the type of success Andy Reid and the Chiefs Kingdom are experiencing.