Why the Chicago Bears should trade up in the first round

After overhauling a defense that cost the team several victories last season, the Chicago Bears look poised to compete in a division that should have two of the strongest offenses in the NFL (Detroit and Green Bay). Even so, to be a legitimate contender in the strong NFC North, Chicago must trade up in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft ensuring that a future star and a Day One starter is added to this team.

Picking up veterans through free agency was a nice start, but drafting a future centerpiece for this defense must be priority number one for a team that continues to experience immense turnover each offseason to the next.

Last May, after leading the defense for 13 years, Brian Urlacher retired.

2013 marked the first year the Bears were without Brian Urlacher since 2000.

2013 marked the first year the Bears were without Brian Urlacher since 2000.

Ten months later the team released Julius Peppers. And with only one year remaining on both their contracts, the careers of 12-year veterans Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman are coming to an end. Over the past decade the Bears have had one of the strongest and most talented defensive units in the entire NFL, but as time progresses so must this team, as 2014 must usher in a new era for this defense.

Since 2005 the team has drafted just one defensive player in the first round, Shea McClellin, thus failing to restock the team with any future leaders as star veterans aged.

Charles Tillman returning an interception for a touchdown against the Cowboys. One of eight throughout his Bears tenure.

Charles Tillman returning an interception for a touchdown against the Cowboys. One of eight throughout his Bears tenure.

For so long the Bears relied on their defense to get them out of trouble, forcing key turnovers and scoring more than any other squad in the league. No longer can the team depend on a defense that took them to the Super Bowl a mere eight seasons ago.

In 2013 the team has never looked more different, scoring more and gaining more yards than ever before, but if Super Bowl XLVIII showed us anything it’s that a prolific passing game doesn’t win championships. In the end, this team will go as far as the defense takes them, therefore adding a star defender in the first round is a no-brainer.

At pick number 14 Chicago is hardly in a bad position to pick an elite prospect, in 2013 DT Star Lotulelei was picked 14th by Carolina, and in 2011 DE Robert Quinn went 14th to St. Louis, (two of the best young defensive linemen in the NFL), however the 2014 Draft is simply one the Bears cannot afford to miss on. The team is in desperate need of leaders, guys like Brian Urlacher or Charles Tillman, who can be the backbone of the defense for the next decade, as Brian had been since 2000. Therefore, in order to best serve the short-term and long-term interests of the team the Bears must draft a top prospect in the first round, ensuring they contend next year and also have foundation for years to come.

  • chrisyygirl6218

    probably because the jury is still out on whether the Bears will pick a DT, CB or FS. Personally I thing the should trade up for Ha Ha Clinton Dix

  • Terry D

    Terrible article. If you are going suggest trading up, at least suggest a pick and why he would be better than those projected to be available at 14. Then you should explain how the trade would work, with who, and for what. Lazy journalism.

  • funisalwaysnumberone

    Keep studying, Alex. Somewhere in Journalism school they’ll tell you that your premise needs to be expanded on with SPECIFICS. Trade up for whom or for what…? Huh?

  • airjordan45

    Your logic* (sorry, i got all riled up!)

  • airjordan45

    You’re logic doesn’t really make sense. To trade up to even a top ten pick, they’d have to give up their 2nd round pick and one or two high picks for next year. How are the Bears supposed to rebuild on defense with only 5 picks this year and even less next year? The draft is not an exact science, but this year’s draft is the deepest its been in recent years, especially on the defensive side of the ball. I’ve heard some experts say that a 14th pick this year is equal to an 8th pick last year talent-wise. I don’t think Phil Emery will risk giving up that many picks on one player.

  • RF

    I don’t get it. What kind of Bears draft assessment is “trading up” without stating for who or what? You don’t trade up just to trade up. Unless the Bears are able to land Clowney I don’t see why we should risk our future by trading away future picks or talent. There are some real possibilities at the #14 pick. I’ve seen all the mock drafts and unless there’s an unexpected run on defensive lineman the Bears should land someone who can contribute right away. My wish list hopes that Anthony Barr is available and if not – that the Bears pass on undersized Aaron Donald and Timmy Jernigan and grab Ra’shede Hageman . . . and let’s not forget how badly the Bears need a solid safety.

  • Thompson Way

    I’m sorry, who is worth trading up for? In the last two years the elite players didn’t make it past the 7th or 8th pick, but this year (and we can argue about this) some of these elite players aren’t projected to be gone until the 20th pick. If anything the Bears could trade back a couple spots and still get an elite starter. Now, if you said that the Bears should trade up into the second round, then I would be your choir. The Bears could get a S, and then trade up in the second and get one of the better DT or CBs.

    • Thompson Way

      Lets hope for an irrational run on QBs, right!

  • thephxrising

    Great in theory. But the Bears don’t have anyone to give up for a higher draft choice.

  • MDMaloney

    Trade up to get? The Bears are in a great spot in a very deep draft. At #14 top DTs Timmy Jernigan and Aaron Donald should be on the board. It is highly likely MLB C.J. Mosley will be on the board. CBs Gilbert and Dennard should be available at the Bears pick and finally the top FSs in Clinton-Dix and Pryor will also be available. I am not sure there is someone else there inside the Top 10 that would make Chicago trade multiple picks and/or players to get. If anything, draft logic says in a deep draft you see if you can slide down a couple of times to pick up additional picks. These picks don’t have to be future HOFers, they simply need to be good and provide depth for a defense that lacked it. If the Bears D can improve from 2nd to last in the league to middle of the pack, they’ll win a lot of games.

  • Cory Parrish

    I still hope they get Ha Ha Clinton Dix in the first round and then go DT in second round. Maybe we get lucky and Hageman drops that far (all though unlikely). Having a safety that scares QBs throwing deep (as Ha Ha will provide) will allow our new (all though old) and improved d-line. Jared Allen, Lamar Houston, WIlly Young, Israel Idonije, Jeramiah Ratliff, & Nate Collins can hold down the fort this year especially with a young guy to learn from them. But if we truly want a can’t miss prospect that will make a major impact from day 1, it is Ha Ha!!

    On a side note, trading up isn’t the best idea (in my humble opinion :-)). Trading back would be an idea worth considering. We could possible pick up another 3rd round draft pick by moving back just a few spots too. Into a place we can still get the guy we need.

    • chrisyygirl6218

      I agreed with you until the second paragraph. We need Dix. We our Superbowl contenders with Dix. The quarterback will take his read and as he looks he see Clinton Dix locking down his deep receiver and so he looks for option number 2 and BLAM! Jared Allen Strips the ball and and the bears recover. The opposing team’s quarterback is still on the ground! Go Bears!

      • Cory Parrish

        I would be just as happy with Pryor, maybe even more happy in all honesty. The bigger hits he would provide from the secondary would be a huge stepping stone back towards the good ole Bears defense we know and love! We could possibly get Pryor even if we traded back a few stops.

        Great analogy to futher the point of drafting a Safety, would we have beaten the Packers in week 17 and gone to the playoffs if we had Aaron Donald on the team last year? Maybe but probably not. would we have beaten the Packers in week 17 and gone to the playoffs if we had Calvin Pryor or Ha Ha Clinton Dix on our team last year? Well, all they would have had to do was not blow 1 coverage in the 4th quarter and we would have been in.

  • Malcolm young

    I’m still waiting for you to finish making your point. You start with the premise that the Bears need a leader on defense. Agreed. You then note that several have been available at the #14 pick in the last few years. Having established that, you utterly fail to explain why the Bears will not be able to find such a defensive leader at the #14 position this year. You also ignore the possibility of a free agent acquisition, such as Houston or Allen, stepping into that role. Since the Bears may already have their defensive leader on the team, and could pick up another in the first round of the draft, how does trading up help the team? The most obvious result of such a trade will be the loss of later draft picks which could be used to build quality depth, and I don’t see how that helps.