As the NFL enters the final week of the regular season, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft is still up for grabs. The Houston Texans have poll position for the top pick, but they still have to lose their finale against the Indianapolis Colts to secure it. If the Texans beat the Colts, that would open the door for the Chicago Bears to lock down the No. 1 pick with a loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 18.
Both the Texans-Colts and Bears-Vikings games kick off at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, so NFL fans won’t have to wait long to find out who holds the top pick in the draft.
The Bears sure seem to be punting their finale against Minnesota. Star quarterback Justin Fields will sit out the game with a hip injury, which means backup Nathan Peterman will get the start. Peterman has been labeled as one of the worst NFL quarterbacks of the modern era. The Bears are seemingly leaving nothing to chance in their pursuit of getting the No. 1 pick.
Chicago will be crossing its fingers that its former head coach, Lovie Smith, can do them a favor and beat a bad Colts team on Sunday. The Colts are the only team in the NFL with a worse point differential than Houston. While landing the No. 1 overall would sure seem like a huge boon for the Texans, Smith made it clear Houston will try to win the game against Indy.
Lovie Smith made it abundantly clear that Texans will play to win the game against the Colts.— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) January 2, 2023
Lovie Smith on potential for earning top overall pick: 'Easy to answer that question. How about the No. 2 overall pick could that help? Or the 3? You never really know how they're all going to turn out.'— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) January 2, 2023
The game also has major draft implications for the Colts, of course. Right now, Indianapolis would pick No. 5. A win would likely push them down one more spot, while a loss could move them as high as No. 3 if the Broncos and Cardinals win.
Colts head coach Jeff Saturday also said his team is trying to win their finale:
“The difference when you finish with a win as opposed to finishing with a loss and what that does, irrespective of your season, just the idea as you move forward to the offseason and to getting prepared, how far that really goes,” Saturday said. “So, trying to encourage those guys to play with intensity, finishing strong, another opportunity to go out there and play with your brothers because again, whether you finish hoisting a trophy or finish the way we’re finishing, teams change.”
Here’s what’s at stake for both the Texans and Bears as they chance the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Why the Texans need the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft
The Texans need a quarterback, and there’s no better place than find one than with the No. 1 pick in the draft. Davis Mills, a third round pick in 2021, has given Houston some decent play at QB this year, but he isn’t the long-term solution. If the Texans get the No. 1 overall pick, you can almost guarantee they will be drafting a quarterback.
Alabama QB Bryce Young and Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud are the two top QBs in the class. Kentucky’s Will Levis is getting hyped as the No. 3 QB on the board, while Florida’s Anthony Richardson is currently viewed as the fourth best QB in the class. While Stroud was tremendous in his final college game against Georgia in the College Football Playoff, it feels like Young will be the front-runner to go No. 1 overall regardless of who has the pick.
Young is small at 6-foot, 195 pounds, but he’s an electric playmaker. The Alabama QB threw 32 touchdowns to five interceptions this year, and is also a threat to gain yards by running himself. The Texans also have the Cleveland Browns’ first round pick this year because of the Deshaun Watson trade, which is slated to be No. 12 overall right now. Houston could find its franchise QB and still add another blue chip talent in this draft with one more loss.
Why the Bears need the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft
The Bears are been terrible all year, but this should deserves to be called a success because of the development of QB Justin Fields. Fields turned into a superstar in his second year in the league by finishing with the second most rushing yards ever for an NFL QB on the season and also showing improvement as a passer.
If the Bears get the No. 1 pick, they will almost certainly be looking to trade down. That would open the door for any team in the league to come up and draft Young if they believe he’s a no-brainer pick at the top of the draft. With so many teams around the league needing a QB, the Bears could be looking at a massive haul of picks and possibly players in return for No. 1.
The Bears shouldn’t be looking to trade down too far. Chicago badly needs help on the defensive line. Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter and Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson are the top two defensive players available, and either would be major boost for Chicago. The Bears could also target an offensive linemen or a wide receiver if they miss out on Carter and Anderson after a trade down.
Who could be looking to trade up to No. 1? The Texans, Colts, Titans, Falcons, Raiders, and Panthers are just a few teams who could be ripe to deal for the first pick if Chicago lands it.
We have a new NFL mock draft coming next week
Until then, check out JP Acosta’s most recent projection fo the first round from last month.