The calendar has turned to December. The weeks remaining in the NFL season are dwindling. The Bears, thanks to a half dozen one-possession losses, have one of the worst records in the league.
It’s never too early to start thinking about next year.
For the Bears, there will be a lot of discussion about the draft over the coming months. This offseason will be all about finding help for quarterback Justin Fields. Who will general manager Ryan Poles target with that in mind?
The Bears have a good chance of landing a top draft pick. As the losses have mounted, their projected draft slot has continued to shoot up. Here’s where things stand entering Week 17.
Bears projected pick: No. 2 overall
The Texans beat the Titans this week for their second win of the season. All of the sudden, the Bears are back in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick.
The Texans face the Jaguars and the Colts in their last two contests. Those are winnable games for the 2-12-1 Texans. In order for the Bears to move up to No. 1 overall, they would need to lose their final two games against Detroit and Minnesota and hope that Houston wins one of its last two.
Denver held firm at No. 3 after a drubbing at the hands of the Rams. Arizona and Denver are both 4-11 behind the 3-12 Bears.
The latest projected NFL draft order, per @tankathon. With Houston’s win this week, the Bears are back in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick. pic.twitter.com/D9kcHFymOR— Sean Hammond (@sean_hammond) December 27, 2022
Here’s the projected top 10
Here’s what the top of the draft would look like if the season ended today. The team with the worst record is awarded the first pick, the second-worst record picks second, and so on down the line. If there is a tie, the team with the weaker strength of schedule is awarded the higher pick. Strength of schedule is determined by opponents’ combined records.
Projected draft order is according to tankathon.com.
|Team||Record||Strength of schedule|
|3. Broncos (traded to Seahawks)||4-11||.490|
|7. Rams (traded to Lions)||5-10||.506|
|10. Saints (traded to Eagles)||6-9||.522|
What changed this week?
With a win over the Broncos, the Rams dropped down to No. 7 from No. 4 last week. Note: The Broncos’ traded their top pick to the Seahawks, and the Rams traded theirs to the Lions.
The Saints and Raiders flip-flopped in spots Nos. 9 and 10 thanks to a Raiders loss and a Saints win (New Orleans’ pick belongs to Philadelphia).
Tennessee has entered the chat after appearing to be a playoff team for much of the season. With Ryan Tannehill sidelined for the rest of the year following ankle surgery, plus a loss to the Texans, the 7-8 Titans moved up to No. 13, only one game out of the conversation for a top 10 pick.
The Bears’ chances at a top five pick look very good right now, unless they win their final two games.
What to watch this week
The Cardinals and Falcons square off with major draft implications. The Texans and Jaguars are both playing their best football right now and will meet in Houston on Sunday.
The Panthers (6-9) vs. Buccaneers (7-8) is the rare game that has both playoff implications and top 10 draft pick implications. The winner will lead the NFC South division. The loser could be looking at a top 10 selection in the draft.
The Broncos, who are hot on the Bears’ tails, finish the season with the Chiefs this week and the Chargers next week. The way the Broncos are playing, those don’t look like winnable games. If the Bears manage to pull off a win against either the Lions or Vikings, the Broncos seem poised to grab that No. 2 spot.