Four Teams Who Could Trade For the No. 1 Overall Pick in the NFL Draft

Roger Goodell
Roger Goodell / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

On Monday, the negotiating period for the top overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft unofficially began when Adam Schefter tweeted out a report that the Chicago Bears were "leaning" towards trading the No. 1 pick. Accompanied by an extremely funny graphic that only gets better the longer you look at it.

This is not a big surprise because the Bears already have a quarterback and there are anywhere from two to four QB prospects in this year's draft good enough to justify a top-5 selection, depending on where you consume your mock drafts. Chicago also has a ton of areas of need across the roster and could definitely use more picks. So it makes sense for the Bears to trade back-- the real question is who will emerge as a contender to take the No. 1 overall spot and get their pick of the QBs available.

The way we see it, there are only four true possibilities. Here are those four.

Houston Texans

The Texans are in a very advantageous position should they decide they want to trade up. They hold the No. 2 pick so no matter what deal they do with the Bears, Chicago knows they'll only be dropping down one spot. Houston is also loaded up with draft assets thanks to the Deshaun Watson trade and can outbid anybody, should it come to that. Basically if the Texans want this to happen then they can make it happen without much trouble. There is a strong possibility that they don't feel the need to press, though, and will sit back to watch things unfold. There is no clear-cut generational quarterback prospect that will absolutely go No. 1. Every team has their own rankings this year and if Houston feels they can get their guy at No. 2, they won't sacrifice additional assets to make sure they don't miss.

Indianapolis Colts

As things stand, the Colts are the most likely team to trade up because they come across as the most desperate and Jim Irsay openly spoke about how good Bryce Young was during the introductory press conference for new head coach Shane Steichen. Indy has been flailing since Andrew Luck retired, sending out picks in earnest trying to find his replacement. They have failed spectacularly and it's easy to guess that Irsay is tired of it. Unless someone else on this list is willing to give up a king's ransom it feels borderline probable at this point that the Colts will overpay so they can move up and take Young. This view is aided by the fact that Indy holds the No. 4 overall pick, which is far enough down that the Bears can ask for multiple high-end picks but not so far that Chicago will miss out on one of the two elite defensive prospects.

Carolina Panthers

Sensing a theme here? The Panthers have also gone through a carousel of subpar or bad quarterbacks since their franchise face departed and their owner is getting impatient. The team's hiring of Frank Reich, known quarterback guru, is an indicator that they'll be finding their future signal-caller in the draft no matter what. Sitting at No. 7, Carolina would have to pay a hefty price to move up to the top slot but cannot be ruled out due to the desperation factor. It does feel more likely as things stand that Carolina will wait to see how the draft board falls after the first two picks and try to move up to No. 3 and pick before the Colts, but getting to No. 1 is the only way to ensure they get their pick of QB.

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders have the ninth overall pick and as such shouldn't be considered a strong contender to trade up this high. However, the Raiders are the last team who appear to be a realistic possibility. The price to move up goes from extremely high to astronomical once we go out of the top-10. The Bears will have a tough time justifying moving all the way down to No. 9 and almost certainly would not move down further. But we cannot rule them out because the current roster is awfully expensive for a gradual rebuild. More importantly, that does not seem like something Mark Davis wants given the reports from last year that the Raiders were "cash poor." Josh McDaniels needs someone to work with and Vegas could get aggressive trying to make that happen.