Ex-Bears head coach maps out potential draft strategy


As the Bears moved within half a game to overtake the Houston Texans for the No. 1 pick in the draft last week, the focus around the Bears from now until draft day remains on the draft strategies. 

General manager Ryan Poles and the Bears' front office are gifted with a unique situation. They will inevitably earn a top-four pick in the draft, even if they win out the final two games of the season. Yet, they already have a quarterback in Justin Fields. 

The draft is usually centered around quarterbacks in the first few picks of the draft. However, the Bears are covered in that area, as opposed to plenty of teams behind them in the draft. 

Should the Bears select a defensive star at their original draft position? Do they trade down? And if so, how far down?

"If the Bears are No. 2 or 1, they're gonna have an opportunity to collect some draft picks and move down," ex-Bears coach Dave Wannstedt said on Unfiltered. "The key will be, who wants a quarterback down there? Now, No. 5, the Colts, that's a team right there. If I end up picking No. 2, I'm cutting a deal with the Colts right now.

"You know why? You can go down there to No. 5 and you can get, in my opinion, one of those defensive players – the Georgia kid (Jalen Carter), the Alabama kid (Will Anderson Jr.) – a difference maker."

Wannstedt's prognostication suggests the Bears could get the best of both worlds by trading down only a few selections in the draft. By executing this strategy, the Bears could acquire additional draft capital to bolster their horrid roster, while selecting a generational talent on the defensive front – such as Anderson from Alabama on the edge. 

It's possible, depending on how the cookie crumbles, the Bears could land one of the top defensive stars (Carter, Anderson) while moving down from a top selection. It's all but likely the Texans will select Bryce Young (if they choose first). After that, Anderson and Carter are predicted as the next two players to go. 

But, if quarterback-hungry teams evaluate the draft and come back with minimal findings, they may jump to take C.J. Stroud out of Ohio State higher than anticipated. It depends on the draft order. And for the Bears, it depends on the value of a trade-down. 

RELATED: What potential trade could look like if Bears land No. 1 pick

This is all hypothetical. There are still two weeks left of football, which could skew the draft order in different directions. As aforementioned, the Bears could drop to the sixth pick, or rise to the first selection in the draft. 

Nevertheless, no matter where the Bears end up selecting in the first round, Wannstedt assures they should proceed with caution if they elect to trade down. 

"If you make a trade and get more draft picks and move down to No. 8, you might be sitting there saying 'Oh, there's a defensive back or tight end.' All of a sudden it changes."

There are candidates for strong selections near the bottom of the top ten draft picks for the Bears. In the edge departments, there is Jared Verse (Florida State) and Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech) to consider. Peter Skoronski, an offensive lineman out of Northwestern, is another name the Bears could consider to help improve their front five. 

The draft is tricky. To that, Wannstedt makes note the Bears cannot waste their chance by moving down too far. 

"You gotta be careful. The instinct is 'Gimme, gimme, gimme.' That's not the case. You don't want to move yourself out of getting a player that you want," Wannstedt said. 

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