The Chicago Bears have secured the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL draft thanks to their 29-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings paired with the Houston Texans' stunning 32-31 win over the Indianapolis Colts
Only the Texans and Bears had a shot at the No. 1 pick in the draft heading into Week 18. Houston owned the edge because of its 2-13-1 record, a half-game worse than the 3-13 Bears.
In the end, the Bears got the top choice thanks to Sunday's results.
There was no shortage of drama in Indianapolis, as Houston built a 24-14 advantage in the second half before falling behind 31-24 in the fourth quarter. Yet Davis Mills found Jordan Akins on a deep ball on fourth down for a touchdown in the final minute and then converted the two-point conversion with another pass to Akins.
Indianapolis' Hail Mary attempt fell incomplete, clinching the spot for the Bears.
Chicago is in a very good spot. The Bears already have a young franchise signal-caller in Justin Fields, who broke through in his second season and showcased the tremendous potential that led Chicago to trading up from No. 20 to No. 11 in the 2021 NFL draft to get him.
However, numerous teams drafting below them in the top 10 could use a rookie quarterback to build the roster around. The most obvious teams in that realm are the Texans and Colts.
Other teams could opt to go quarterback if they part ways with veteran starters, including the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers and Las Vegas Raiders.
The Atlanta Falcons selected Desmond Ridder in the third round last year but could opt to go elsewhere, too.
In sum, any of those teams can offer a haul of picks to the Bears, who have plenty of work to do throughout the roster. That could enable Chicago to fill the numerous squad holes.
Or the Bears could stand pat and pick one of the dynamite defensive prospects in this year's draft. That list starts with Alabama edge-rusher Will Anderson Jr., who's had 27.5 sacks in the past two years.
He is the type of player who can transform an entire defense a la the Los Angeles Rams' Aaron Donald. Other defensive stars projected to go early include Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter and Clemson edge Myles Murphy.
General manager Ryan Poles should have a litany of choices at his disposal to decide the direction of this franchise as the Bears look to move past an era in which they've posted .500 or worse seasons since 2019.