This past Sunday, the Chicago Bears once again lost a close game despite a phenomenal performance from quarterback Justin Fields. While many fans were upset by the team’s inability to beat the lowly Detroit Lions, the loss significantly helped the Bears’ chances of landing a high pick in this year’s draft. If the season ended today, the Bears would have the sixth overall pick in the draft. But, if they play their cards right, they can squeeze into the top five.
With three wins and seven losses, the Bears are tied for the third-worst record in the NFL, behind only the 1-7-1 Houston Texans and the 2-7 Las Vegas Raiders. Barring a sudden turnaround, those teams are likely locked into top five picks. However, nine teams (including Chicago) have three wins, which means the Bears really have to make losing a priority if they want to attain a top-five pick. Luckily, many of these teams face each other at some point down the stretch, which means some of them have to pick up another win. This includes a Bears-Lions game in Week 17, which could end up being crucial for draft position.
The easiest method for the Bears to secure a top draft pick is to simply lose out. But with an offense that’s suddenly firing on all cylinders, this may prove to be more difficult than originally thought. Thus, the team’s fate may instead lie in the hands of the other three-win teams. Four of those teams — the New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns — don’t own their own first-round picks, so it’s hard to see them purposefully tanking the rest of the season. That leaves the Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars and aforementioned Detroit Lions as the Bears’ primary competition for a top pick. Talent-wise, all of those teams could easily go winless down the stretch. However, the Lions and Jaguars play each other in Week 13, while the Panthers and Steelers face off two weeks later. Thanks to this, at least two of those teams will attain another win this season. Another factor that helps the Bears’ chances is the fact that their remaining schedule is the third-strongest in the NFL. All in all, scheduling is very much in the Bears’ favor as it pertains to getting a top pick.
Overall, the best move for the Chicago Bears is to lose as many games as possible in order to earn a high draft pick. Adding a young, incredibly talented player to this roster would go a long way toward vaulting the team toward contention. And with the teams ahead of the Bears seemingly on track to win more games, the Bears have a real shot at acquiring a premium draft pick.