2024 NFL Draft order: Bears, Commanders to pick 1-2; first round set after Super Bowl LVIII – The Athletic

By The Athletic StaffFeb 12, 2024

By Larry Holder, Kevin Fishbain and Nick Baumgardner

The Chicago Bears locked up the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, 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 NFL 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.

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Picks 1-32 are now set.

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. Los Angeles Rams
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
21. Miami Dolphins
22. Philadelphia Eagles
23. Houston Texans (from Cleveland)
24. Dallas Cowboys
25. Green Bay Packers
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
27. Arizona Cardinals (from Houston)
28. Buffalo Bills
29. Detroit Lions
30. Baltimore Ravens
31. San Francisco 49ers
32. Kansas City Chiefs

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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. — Kevin Fishbain, Bears beat writer

What does 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).

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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. — Nick Baumgardner, NFL senior writer

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, as New England will not be coached by Bill Belichick for the first time in 24 years. Instead, Robert Kraft appointed Jerod Mayo as the team’s next head coach.

Even at No. 3, Kraft might be able to re-evaluate everything inside his organization, make the proper hires and then draft his next franchise quarterback all this year.

Chicago does hold a bit of a wild card 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). — Baumgardner

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2024 NFL mock draft: Falcons, Bears pull off big trade; Caleb Williams goes No. 1

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2024 NFL Draft consensus Big Board: Could Brock Bowers, Malik Nabers land in top 5?

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2024 NFL Mock Draft: Caleb Williams sticks at No. 1, Giants add Malik Nabers

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Which 2024 NFL Draft prospects could determine how Round 1 plays out?

Required reading

  • The Bears and the first pick in the draft: The NFL now waits on Ryan Poles — again
  • How will the Patriots rebuild? Top options at the top of the NFL Draft and in free agency
  • Cardinals 2024 mock draft scenarios: Should Arizona help Kyler Murray or move on at QB?
  • NFL Draft 2024 underclassman tracker: Which college football stars have declared early?

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(Photo: Brandon Sloter / Image Of Sport / Getty Images)

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