National Football League
Bears secure No. 1 pick in 2024 NFL Draft with Cardinals win, Panthers loss
National Football League

Bears secure No. 1 pick in 2024 NFL Draft with Cardinals win, Panthers loss

Published Dec. 31, 2023 4:49 p.m. ET

For the second time in as many years, the Chicago Bears are on the clock. 

Thanks to the Carolina Panthers' 26-0 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Arizona Cardinals' stunning 35-31 upset win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Bears will own the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft by virtue of their blockbuster trade last offseason with the Panthers for the 2023 first overall pick.

The trade continues to look better for the Bears, especially as quarterback Justin Fields and wide receiver DJ Moore — the latter of whom was also part of that fateful trade — helped Chicago improve its own record to 7-9 with a blowout of the Atlanta Falcons. That's a four-win improvement over the Bears' league-worst 3-13 record last season, and even keeps Chicago's slim playoff chances alive.

The good news for the Bears comes on the heels of reports that the team will retain head coach Matt Eberflus for the 2024 season. The defensive-minded head coach has overseen a remarkable improvement on that side of the ball in recent weeks following the midseason trade acquisition of defensive end Montez Sweat.


Now, the question becomes whether the Bears will again retain Fields and bypass the top quarterbacks in the draft for a second straight year. While Fields has also improved over the past several weeks, injuries and poor play limited him at the start of the season. Plus, this year's quarterback class, headlined by North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye and likely USC quarterback and 2022 Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams, is regarded as much stronger than last year's.

Thus, all eyes will turn to Chicago during NFL Draft season for the second straight year.

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