Hey, look, the Bears just won the right to the No. 1 pick in the draft! They should trade it.

General manager Ryan Poles has so many holes to fill, he’ll need all the draft picks he can get.

SHARE Hey, look, the Bears just won the right to the No. 1 pick in the draft! They should trade it.
Bears general manager Ryan Poles looks on before a game this season.

Bears general manager Ryan Poles has some huge decisions to make in the coming months.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

If you’re a Bears fan, you were asking fate to do one thing for you Sunday. Just one. You were asking for same-day delivery of the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft.

And you, having dealt with so much pain and disappointment over the years because of your devotion to this franchise, were expecting what in response? Probably a UPS van full of derisive laughter.

Instead, the unexpected happened, which is to say that happy happened. The Bears lost to the Vikings, and the Texans beat the Colts, the exact result needed to bring the first pick in the 2023 draft to Chicago. The Bears haven’t had the first overall selection since 1947, when they drafted Oklahoma A&M halfback Bob Fenimore, who lasted just one season because of injuries. I’d tell you to ignore that sad trivia, but I’m guessing it’s floating in your marrow.

Let’s talk present day. There were two big goals for this season. Just two. The first was to see development from quarterback Justin Fields, and that happened, though perhaps not in the way many people would have expected. The second in a rebuilding season was to lose as many games as possible in order to improve the team’s draft position. No one in the organization would say such a thing out loud, but it was loud and clear in the substandard roster that general manager Ryan Poles put together and in his decision to trade top defenders Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn during the season. No apologies necessary for the approach. A 3-14 record, setting a franchise record for losses in a season, turned out to be a big winner Sunday.

You can thank Texans coach Lovie Smith, the former Bears coach, for pulling off a last-gasp, 32-31 victory over the Colts. A loss would have given his team the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Instead, Houston will get the second pick overall. I’m not sure why someone in the Texans organization didn’t call down to the sideline late in the game and tell Smith to wake up and get on with the losing. But he didn’t lose, bless him, and the Bears are the beneficiary of whatever you want to call what he did. Lunacy? Maybe. Or maybe Smith knows he’s not long for his gig in Houston and left a going-away present.

Now, you can argue that the history of No. 1 overall picks isn’t great or that 2023 doesn’t look to be a strong draft or that one is the loneliest number, but I’d rather have the top pick than not. There’s very little downside to having it, unless you wouldn’t know an offensive lineman from an offensive joke.

What should the Bears do with the No. 1 pick? At this moment, in early January, trading it makes the most sense. This team has so many holes, it could hold two drafts and still not have enough players coming to the rescue. The Bears need to get help at wide receiver and on the offensive line if they want to further Fields’ development and make sure he’s still ambulatory in 20 years. They need help almost everywhere on defense. It’s true that they’ll have the most salary cap space in the league to attract free agents, but this entire endeavor is a numbers game. The larger the number of talented players in uniform next season, the better chance the Bears have of turning things around in the years to come. It’s why trading the No. 1 pick to get three or four more draft picks should be the goal.

After Sunday’s 29-13 loss, Bears coach Matt Eberflus talked about how hard his team played this season and how that would pay dividends when the talent level rises. It’s the kind of thing coaches say. You know what the best team “culture’’ is? The one that’s built by winning, not by corporate leadership books.

The Bears are married to Fields, at least as far as this rebuild is concerned, but I’d love to know what Poles really thinks of his quarterback. If we agree that much of what comes out of the mouths of coaches and general managers publicly has little resemblance to the truth, we don’t really know if Poles thinks Fields is going to be a good passing quarterback. He knows that Fields can run, as proven by his 1,143 rushing yards this season. The kid is the most exciting athlete in Chicago sports since the 2010-11 version of Derrick Rose. Fields didn’t play Sunday because of a hip injury, and if it weren’t for the top-pick drama, Chicago would have reacted by napping.

Poles knows he has to build around Fields. Does he know if he can win with him? Does he know if the Bears can win with a running quarterback? Does he think any team can win a Super Bowl with a running quarterback?

It’s entirely possible that Poles is like many of us: He hasn’t the foggiest about what the future holds with Fields, but he sure as hell is looking forward to the show.

This could be good, and the No. 1 pick only helps. It’s what all that losing was for this season. Now, let’s see what the Bears can do with it.

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