The 2022 NFL regular season is officially over and it ended in style, both on the field, with teams able to snag a playoff berth in the last second and from a draft perspective. In particular, by winning against the Colts, the Texans removed themselves from the first overall pick spot, who’s now in possession of the Chicago Bears. This article will be focused on the first four teams selecting next April, with a deep dive into all the scenarios that could emerge.
The Bears were able to witness the breakout of their young quarterback Justin Fields while still being able to land the first overall pick, a prize that gives them power and flexibility.
Despite some rumors saying that Chicago could still be looking at quarterbacks because the new regime didn’t selected Fields in 2021, I still highly doubt that this will be the route that the Bears are going to follow. Fields still has flaws as a passer, but at the same time, he has been able to keep the Bears alive in some games while carrying the whole offense with a well-below average receiving corps and an atrocious offensive line.
Chicago has a significant amount of needs and their only focus heading into the offseason should be trying to add as many talented pieces as possible. Sitting at one, the Bears will probably have their eyes set on Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. or Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter. Both are game-changers able to help Chicago’s defensive line right off the gate while also possessing immense upside as prospects.
By remaining in the current position, the franchise would be able to make a complete decision on the player, without having to wait and see. At the same time though, knowing that the Bears will probably not interested in selecting a quarterback, multiple quarterback needy teams like the Texans, Colts, Raiders and Panthers, among others, could easily make a trade up in order to jump above anyone else and get a franchise signal-caller. Despite this being an expensive move, it’s something that could easily come into life. Landing a haul of high-caliber picks would make sense for the Bears, who, as previously stated, have many needs all throughout the roster.
A Davis Mills magical drive late in the game led the Texans to win against the Colts, that also led the franchise to “lose” the first overall pick. A few hours later, Houston also decided to fire head coach Lovie Smith, and they will now enter the offseason once again with the need of adding a new coach and a new franchise quarterback.
Houston will very likely look to add a quarterback with this pick as Davis Mills hasn’t been able to prove himself as a franchise player in two seasons in the league. The Texans could follow a couple of different routes: make a move to trade up to the number one slot to get whoever they deserive, or play the game of wait-and-see.
If the Bears will remain in their spot, for Houston it’s basically the same thing of having the first selection, as the Texans' focus is on a quarterback and the Bears' isn't. Instead, if someone jumps over Houston to select a quarterback, they would still have the chance to pick among the two still on the board between Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Will Levis.
Houston’s choice at the head coach spot will obviously play a massive part, but in any scenario, the Texans will have their new franchise quarterback next April.
A team that entered the season with high expectations and ended up selecting in the top-3, the Cardinals at least put themselves in a rather great spot draft-wise. The franchise could either snag the prospect remaining between Will Anderson Jr. and Jalen Carter after the Bears selection in order to add a blue-chip game-changer able to bolster the defensive line. Or, they may consider taking calls in order to move back and add more draft capital from a quarterback-needy team.
By sliding down a few spots (the Raiders at seven and Panthers at nine could make a move), the Cardinals would still be in position to land a great prospect while also bringing in a few more valuable picks for a roster that needs it. Meanwhile the Cardinals have fired their head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim has stepped down. A revolution is definitely on the horizon with major changes around the corner.
Arizona has a franchise quarterback recovering from a torn ACL and some extremely valuable weapons. While adding a capable head coach will be vital for the team in order to take a step forward, the Cardinals are also in line to select one of the absolute premiere talents in next April’s Draft.
After signing Philip Rivers and trading for Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan in back-to-back seasons while putting together extremely bad performances, the Colts will now probably go all-in and select a young quarterback to develop instead of bringing in seasoned veterans.
Overall, the Colts don’t have a bad roster but they need a spark on offense and a signal-caller able to elevate the system. The Jeff Saturday experiment is still going on as the organization is seemingly planning to retain the inexperienced head coach for the 2023 season. At this point the Colts could either trade up to the first or third spot, if they have a specific target in their mind, or sit at the fourth spot and take the quarterback that the Texans will pass on. He could be either Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud, or even Will Levis, who will very likely end up in this territory.
Indianapolis and the front office will need to hit on a quarterback in order to give the franchise something to work with for the long run and a solid base.