Ryan Poles, the general manager of the Chicago Bears, will have to make one of the most important choices in the team’s history. He has two options: either he trades it for a ton of additional picks, as he did the previous year, or he uses the top pick in the 2024 NFL draft to choose a quarterback.
In his first mock draft of the year, Nick Baumgardner of The Athletic crafted a trade scenario in which the Bears send the No. 1 overall to the Atlanta Falcons. Chicago would receive a future first-round and second-round selection in addition to the No. 8 and 43 overall picks in the next draft. Poles may desire more for the top overall slot, but let’s go with Baumgardner in this case.
Baumgardner projects Chicago to select Florida State wide receiver Keon Coleman at No. 8 with the Falcons’ selection from that trade. Baumgardner has them selecting Dallas Turner, a former Alabama edge rusher, with their own pick, which comes in at number nine overall.
This year, Poles made one of the best trades of his two-year tenure when he acquired edge rusher Montgomery Sweat for a second-round pick. Sweat’s impact was undeniable. The defense had a total of 10 sacks prior to his arrival (he played his first game with the Bears in Week 9). Following his addition on the edge, Chicago’s final nine games saw them rack up 20 sacks.
Turner had 11.0 sacks, 11 QB hits, 33 hurries, and a 19.6% pass rush win-rate in 14 games this season, per PFF. He had 25.0 sacks over his three seasons with the Crimson Tide.
If the 6-foot-4, 242-pound Turner were added to the opposing side to complement Sweat, the Bears would have an extremely formidable defensive line. Turner would line up against the outside tackle on the edge in Matt Eberflus’ 4-3 defense, just as he did the great majority of the time at Alabama.
Turner was mentioned by the scouting department of Bleacher Report as follows:
Turner may be this year’s edge class’s best pure athlete. He moves smoothly and gets off to a good start when working laterally. Not to mention his quickness, which enables him to make hustle plays down the field with chase-down tackles and close on quarterbacks.
Coleman is an intriguing prospect in a draft that looks to be loaded at wide receiver, with Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, and Rome Odunze among the best players.
Baumgardner thinks the Bears will stick with Justin Fields as their starting quarterback, and adding Coleman—who stands 6 feet 4 and weighs 215 pounds—would provide Fields with a solid big-bodied target to go along with WR1 DJ Moore.
According to Baumgardner, “the Bears would spend the 2024 draft wrapping their arms around Fields and building out the rest of a talented roster if the Falcons and Bears trade at No. 1 goes through.” “Coleman is a 6-foot-4 contested-catch machine who can run with anyone. He also played basketball at Michigan State before transferring to Florida State.”
With Florida State, Coleman caught 108 passes for 1,456 yards and 18 touchdowns in the previous two seasons. He is very athletic and agile, and he can make quick adjustments while running. Although he’s still a little raw, he has unimaginable talent and enormous potential.
What is Baumgardner’s proposal’s main flaw? It’s way too bright. The Carolina Panthers sent the Bears a top wideout in Moore, 2023 first- and second-round picks (No. 9 and No. 61), a 2024 first-round pick, and a 2025 second-rounder in exchange for the No. 1 pick they received last year.
Poles would undoubtedly want more than two firsts and two seconds if he were to trade No. 1—and he claims to be open to anything.