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2024 NFL Draft order: Bears, Commanders to pick 1-2

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The Chicago Bears locked up the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft last week, thanks to the Carolina Panthers’ Week 17 loss — the Bears own the Panthers’ first-round selection this year. The No. 2 pick, however, wasn’t settled until the regular season’s final day.

That slot belongs to the Washington Commanders, who capped a season-ending eight-game losing streak with a 38-10 setback against the Dallas Cowboys. Because the 4-13 Commanders faced an easier schedule this season, they’ll receive a higher Round 1 pick than the two other 4-13 finishers: New England and Arizona.

Picks 1-18 are now set. The remaining slots, Nos. 19-32, will be determined by playoff finish.

(*will be determined by playoff finish)

1. Chicago Bears (from Carolina)
2. Washington Commanders
3. New England Patriots
4. Arizona Cardinals
5. Los Angeles Chargers
6. New York Giants
7. Tennessee Titans
8. Atlanta Falcons
9. Chicago Bears
10. New York Jets
11. Minnesota Vikings
12. Denver Broncos
13. Las Vegas Raiders
14. New Orleans Saints
15. Indianapolis Colts
16. Seattle Seahawks
17. Jacksonville Jaguars
18. Cincinnati Bengals
19. Green Bay Packers*
20. Pittsburgh Steelers*
21. Los Angeles Rams*
22. Miami Dolphins*
23. Philadelphia Eagles*
24. Houston Texans (from Cleveland)*
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers*
26. Arizona Cardinals (from Houston)*
27. Kansas City Chiefs*
28. Detroit Lions*
29. Buffalo Bills*
30. Dallas Cowboys*
31. San Francisco 49ers*
32. Baltimore Ravens*

What Chicago could do at the top

A month or two ago, this decision was more straightforward. Justin Fields had a shaky start to the season, then got hurt, and the Bears were heading toward their own potential top-five pick. Then Fields returned, showed progress, the defense ascended with the addition of Montez Sweat, and the Bears won five of seven games.

Now, Ryan Poles is in an envious spot. He could trade back from No. 1 — again — and, with a haul, keep building around Fields, a fan favorite who has received locker-room support. Alternatively, Poles could realize the opportunity ahead of him: to pair Caleb Williams (or whichever QB is atop his board) with receiver DJ Moore, a top-five defense and an above-average O-line. In the latter case, Fields likely would become the highest-profile trade chip in the league this offseason.

For the second year in a row, it’ll be all eyes on Poles until he makes that decision.

What’s having the No. 2 pick mean for the Commanders?

Of all the QB-needy teams over the past five years, Washington has been — by far — the most patient (if “patient” is the right word).

Depending on how you want to look at things, that patience is about to pay off in the form of getting a shot at either Williams or North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye. If Chicago sticks with Fields, Washington’s new ownership group (and, likely, a new coaching staff) will have a chance to pick between two of the best college QB prospects of the last decade. Williams and Maye are both talented enough to improve an offense quickly.

They’re more than talented enough to build around. For Washington, this is huge.

What does having the No. 3 pick mean for the Patriots?

Things are a bit trickier for the Patriots than the Commanders, though similar fortunes could be had here. New England also may be on the verge of starting over with a coaching staff — and if that happens, obviously, without Bill Belichick.

There may not be a better time for owner Robert Kraft to re-evaluate everything inside his organization, make proper hires and then draft his next franchise quarterback. Even at No. 3, he might be able to get all that done this year.

Chicago does hold a bit of a wild card here here, though. The Bears can do three things with the top pick: Draft Marvin Harrison Jr. to team with Fields, draft a quarterback to replace Fields or trade down to further build out an already talented young roster. If the Bears trade the pick or take a quarterback, New England’s consolation could be Harrison or the top tackle in the draft (either Penn State’s Olu Fashanu or Notre Dame’s Joe Alt).

Required reading

(Photo of Justin Fields: Patrick McDermott / Getty Images)



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