The 14th pick in the NFL Draft isn’t the sexiest of selections for teams, and in the case of the Chicago Bears, it is a pick that they reportedly could be interested in trading if the price is right.
As Michael C. Wright wrote last week, Bears GM Phil Emery is open to the idea of swapping the selection, but he insists that any trade for the selection would have to be of “equal value,” so it’s unlikely he would just do it for a lower first-round pick and a selection in the later rounds of the draft.
If a team blows the Bears away with an offer, Emery and company would be smart to listen. The first round is chock full of talented players on the defensive side of the football, and when you couple that with the fact the Bears have a multitude of holes they need to fill on their roster, trading down and getting a nice bounty of picks could be exactly what the doctor ordered to kickstart the rebuilding process on the team’s defense.
The problem naturally is that the Bears have a lot of holes that have to be filled immediately, and selecting a player that can start right out of college would go a long way to filling one of those holes, and doing so cheaply would be hugely beneficial to the team. With most teams likely looking for offensive help in the draft’s opening round, the Bears could be in prime position to have their pick of safeties in the draft, as well as having a good number of defensive linemen to choose from.
Whether it’s a defensive tackle like Louis Nix III or Timmy Jernigan, or if it’s a safety like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Bears really do have the pick of the litter when it comes to guys who could potentially fill in gaps in their defense as they try to shore up a group that was one of the worst in the NFL last season. Replacing a guy like Jeremiah Ratliff or Major Wright with a talented rookie could be a great place to start, and could make the thought of trading the team’s first round pick a tough pill to swallow.
When push comes to shove, though, the Bears would be absolutely right in trading the 14th pick, but only if the price is right and if their strategy has a specific goal. If the Bears want a great defensive tackle, then they would be stupid to trade down. If they are going for safety help, then that would fit right into what they are doing, and trading for a lower pick in the first round and additional selection(s) would be a smart move by Emery as he attempts to perform similar magic on the defensive side of things as he did with the offense last season.
Outside of those circumstances though, the Bears would be wise to stay in the 14th slot in the first round. Yes, getting more draft picks would be nice, but it’s rare to have a chance to draft a high-quality tackle or have your pick of the safeties in the draft, so Emery has to weigh all of his options carefully.