This Sunday, the Chicago Bears are set to face one of the NFL’s most successful teams, the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles currently hold the league’s best record at 12-1, and it’s easy to see why; they have constructed a roster that has premier talent at nearly every position.While that’s a difficult process to copy, there are three things the Bears should do this offseason to replicate Philadelphia’s recent prosperity: Find a top tier receiver, build from the trenches, and take advantage of desperate teams in the draft.
Arguably the biggest part of the Eagles’ offseason was acquiring wide receiver AJ Brown in a trade with the Tennessee Titans. Since coming to Philadelphia, Brown has solidified himself as one of the NFL’s best receivers while helping Jalen Hurts take the next step as a quarterback. The Bears could find similar success if they find a top-flight receiving option for Justin Fields. The team probably has too many needs to draft a receiver in the first round (though I’m enamored with TCU receiver Quentin Johnston); luckily, some of the NFL’s top receivers — including Deebo Samuel, Davante Adams, and the aforementioned Brown — were drafted in the second round. Investing in a second round receiver could pay massive dividends for the Bears’ offense.
A large part of the Eagles’ success this year can be attributed to offensive and defensive line play. Philadelphia’s offensive line, led by Jordan Mailata, Jason Kelce, and Lane Johnson (who also happen to be releasing a Christmas album together later this year), has been absolutely dominant at times this season. Similarly, the defensive line, when healthy, has been terrific against both the run and pass. It’s been said time and time again that the Bears must invest in the offensive line this offseason, but the defensive line is arguably an even bigger need for this team. Luckily, the draft’s two best defensive players are Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson and Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter. Don’t be surprised if the Bears end up drafting Carter, as Matt Eberflus’ defense relies heavily on having a dominant 3-technique defensive tackle. Carter would fill this role perfectly, making him an obvious target for the Bears. But no matter who the Bears end up drafting in the first round, they’ll need to use a combination of draft picks and free agent money to improve this team’s play in the trenches.
Finally, the Eagles have been able to acquire a treasure trove of draft picks thanks to the desperation of other teams. In past years, they traded down with the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints in order to acquire additional first-round draft picks. One of those picks ended up being traded for AJ Brown, and another will likely wind up in the top ten this year. The Bears, who will likely finish with a top five pick, are in prime position to make a similar move. A team with so many needs could significantly benefit from additional draft picks, especially high ones. There’s merit to drafting an elite talent high in the draft, but if a desperate team sends the Bears an enticing offer, they should seize it immediately.
In all likelihood, the Bears will not be as successful as the Eagles next season. However, by replicating some of Philadelphia’s moves in previous offseasons, they can build the foundations necessary to create a dominant team in years to come.