Mock drafts over the next two months will likely feature various requirements that Chicago has to get out of the No. 1 overall selection.
The list of teams potentially in the market for an upgrade at the position -- Houston, Indianapolis, Seattle, Detroit, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Carolina, etc. -- is much longer than the list of prospects available: Alabama's Bryce Young, Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, Kentucky's Will Levis and Florida's Anthony Richardson. The reality is that not all of those teams will be able to draft a quarterback. High demand and low supply leads to a seller's market and an urgency to complete a sale.
In today's thought exercise, two of those franchises facilitate trades to move up without the Bears trading out of a position to select one of the elite defenders.
The draft order below is now the official order based on team records and tiebreakers. There are only 31 picks as a result of the Dolphins' pick being forfeited due to tampering violations.
Without further ado, let's kick this off!
For more extensive draft content, check out our latest prospect rankings and mock drafts, as well as our new weekly podcast, "With the First Pick," featuring former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. (Check out the latest episode below.)
Mock Trade from Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 1
Bryce Young QB
Alabama • 5'10" / 204 lbs
Houston trades up from No. 2 overall with Chicago to ensure it gets its quarterback of choice. Bryce Young is the consummate leader and the right choice to lead the Texans franchise.
Mock Trade from Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 2
C.J. Stroud QB
Ohio State • 6'3" / 218 lbs
After trading back from No. 1 overall, Chicago trades back again to No. 4 overall, allowing Indianapolis to move up in the process. The Bears add more draft capital for the rebuild, and the Colts get the second quarterback, C.J. Stroud, in this scenario. It is an ideal situation for Chicago as it dictates two young quarterbacks with potential going to the AFC. The Colts have grown tired of investing in veterans.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Will Anderson Jr. EDGE
Alabama • 6'4" / 243 lbs
Arizona stays put as chaos breaks out in front of it. The Cardinals finished in the bottom 10 in sacks last season but now have a real chance to upgrade with the addition of Will Anderson Jr.
Mock Trade from Indianapolis Colts
Round 1 - Pick 4
Jalen Carter DL
Georgia • 6'3" / 314 lbs
After trading back twice, Chicago elects to stay put and take the other top defensive talent: Jalen Carter. Chicago finished dead last in sacks (20) last season, but Carter should aid the cause.
From Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 5
Will Levis QB
Kentucky • 6'4" / 229 lbs
In this scenario, Will Levis is the third quarterback off the board but still a top-five selection. Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron worked with Kentucky offensive coordinator Liam Coen in Los Angeles.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 6
Tyree Wilson EDGE
Texas Tech • 6'6" / 271 lbs
With the No. 6 overall selection, Detroit takes a similar approach as Jacksonville a year ago. Travon Walker was taken No. 1 overall because of his potential. Tyree Wilson is an incredibly long pass rusher with the twitch to be special down the line.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Northwestern • 6'4" / 313 lbs
It is unclear what Las Vegas' plan is at quarterback, but it does not involve Derek Carr. The Raiders are not going to find the answer at No. 7 overall, but they can upgrade the talent around that eventual quarterback. Peter Skoronski improves the ceiling of the starting unit.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Myles Murphy DL
Clemson • 6'5" / 275 lbs
Myles Murphy is a blue-chip talent, so Atlanta should be excited to add him at this stage. The Falcons' defensive front has some serious skill with Arnold Ebiketie, Grady Jarrett and Murphy.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Florida • 6'4" / 232 lbs
Carolina was unable to facilitate the trades necessary to land one of those top-three quarterback prospects. As a result, it takes a player who needs time to develop but has more potential than anyone else at his position.
From New Orleans Saints
Round 1 - Pick 10
Illinois • 6'0" / 180 lbs
James Bradberry is scheduled to become a free agent, so Philadelphia gets younger and cheaper at the position. Devon Witherspoon plays the game with fiery passion and should become an instant favorite among Eagles fans.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Georgia • 6'5" / 311 lbs
Broderick Jones is a young player with great strength. Tennessee may need both left and right tackle this offseason. Jones will fill one of those roles dependent upon what other decisions the Titans make this offseason.
From Cleveland Browns
Round 1 - Pick 12
Oregon • 6'2" / 201 lbs
A year after drafting Derek Stingley Jr. in the top five, Houston picks up Christian Gonzalez to play opposite him. Ideally, the Texans would take a bigger position of need, but the board did not fall in that way.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Alabama • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Brian Branch has been entrusted to organize and communicate Nick Saban's scheme on the back end, so he should fit right in with New York. Branch has the versatility to play nickelback, safety and boundary cornerback roles. Senior advisor Phil Savage also has close ties to the Alabama program.
Round 1 - Pick 14
TCU • 6'4" / 215 lbs
Quentin Johnston's collegiate production may not justify being selected at this point, but teams will have a difficult time ignoring his height and speed. Standing 6-foot-4, Johnston will run fast at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Notre Dame • 6'4" / 265 lbs
Green Bay's offseason strategy will be impacted by Aaron Rodgers' decision, so the public should be more informed when he returns from darkness. With Rodgers' return in mind, Green Bay adds a well-rounded tight end capable of impacting the run and pass games.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Cam Smith CB
South Carolina • 6'0" / 188 lbs
Cam Smith was much improved from last year to this year. He has shown great awareness to play both zone and man coverage.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Ohio State • 6'6" / 310 lbs
Cornerback and offensive tackle will probably be the two positions that I flip back and forth between for Pittsburgh over the next few months. The draft is setting up to have options at both positions available in this range.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Penn State • 6'2" / 194 lbs
Pittsburgh left Joey Porter Jr. available to address the offensive line. Detroit responds by adding to the secondary. If you look around the league, most of the good teams are building depth in the secondary.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Drew Sanders LB
Arkansas • 6'5" / 234 lbs
Tampa Bay begins its restoration in the wake of Tom Brady's retirement. Lavonte David moves on and Drew Sanders enters to play alongside Devin White.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Bryan Bresee DL
Clemson • 6'5" / 305 lbs
Seattle is looking to stack strong draft classes after finding multiple starters on both sides of the ball last year. Bryan Bresee has not played up to his potential, but quality interior defenders are difficult to find. The Seahawks make a futures bet at a position of need.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Zay Flowers WR
Boston College • 5'9" / 182 lbs
It may be a stretch for Zay Flowers to be taken this high, but Los Angeles needs some speed and could very well move on from Keenan Allen this offseason. The future may be built around Mike Williams and Flowers.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Deonte Banks DB
Maryland • 6'2" / 205 lbs
Baltimore stays in-state to find its boundary cornerback replacement for Marcus Peters. Banks is lower on my personal board, but I understand why a team looking for boundary help would be interested. Once teams get through that initial wave of blue-chip talent, there is a large pool of players who could be justified in the first round.
Round 1 - Pick 23
USC • 6'0" / 175 lbs
Jordan Addison, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson form a dynamic trio in Minnesota for now, but the Vikings are set up with sustainability at wide receiver for many years to come.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Utah • 6'4" / 240 lbs
Jacksonville has a wealth of pass-catching options now, but the idea is to create an off-ramp from the massive wide receiver contracts it handed out last season. The Jaguars can not do too much to support Trevor Lawrence.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Kelee Ringo CB
Georgia • 6'2" / 207 lbs
Kelee Ringo has gotten turned around in coverage quite a bit this season, but he has the height, weight and speed that teams covet from a man coverage cornerback. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale is the right coach for the job to maximize his skillset.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Ohio State • 6'1" / 200 lbs
Dallas has been looking for a stable complimentary piece to CeeDee Lamb. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has seen his stock tumble, but his route-running prowess makes him an ideal fit underneath.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Florida • 6'5" / 347 lbs
The Bills upgrade pass protection for Josh Allen. O'Cyrus Torrence gives the Buffalo offensive line a bit of an edge to win in the elements.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Georgia • 6'7" / 265 lbs
Darnell Washington's best attribute is his blocking, but he is also an essential chain mover. His massive frame makes him another difficult match-up for defenses in contested-catch situations.
From Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 29
Lukas Van Ness EDGE
Iowa • 6'5" / 275 lbs
With Marcus Davenport scheduled to hit free agency, New Orleans re-invests in its pass rush with the selection of Lukas Van Ness.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Texas A&M • 6'3" / 195 lbs
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is scheduled to be a free agent. If I had to guess, the Eagles will re-sign him, but it is February, so we are accounting for all possibilities until free agency takes place next month. Antonio Johnson slides into the back end of the secondary.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Texas • 5'11" / 215 lbs
Head coach Andy Reid gets another weapon for Patrick Mahomes. Bijan Robinson has three-phase ability to catch passes, run the ball and block.