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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

COLUMN: Why the Chicago Bears should draft Harrison Jr. and keep Justin Fields

Charlie Riedel | Associated Press
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) runs the football while Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie (22) attempts to tackle him on Sep. 24 in Kansas City. Sports Reporter Eddie Miller details what the Bears should do with their first round picks in the 2024 NFL Draft. (Charlie Riedel | Associated Press)

The Chicago Bears go into the 2024 NFL Draft with the first and ninth overall pick after finishing the regular season 7-10. With several changes to the coaching staff and an underwhelming season, quarterback Justin Fields’ job is at risk.

Chicago got the first overall selection following a trade last year with the Carolina Panthers. 

With the first overall pick, the Bears should trade back to the second pick, select Ohio State University wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. and should stick with Fields.


With a quarterback-heavy class, the value of the first overall pick is too high for the Bears’ not to trade it. An ideal suitor is the Washington Commanders. The Commanders need a quarterback after a 21-interception (most in NFL) season from quarterback Sam Howell. 

If Poles can sell that the Bears want University of Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams – ESPN analyst Mel Kiper’s no. 1 prospect – the return from Washington could be attractive.

A similar trade occurred in 2017 when the San Francisco 49ers acquired two third-round picks and a fourth after moving back one spot to the third pick. 

Assuming Poles trades back, Harrison Jr. might be the easiest pick of his career. Posting 1,211 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns, Harrison Jr. finished as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy Award.

The Bears have a solid receiving core consisting of wide receivers D.J. Moore, Equanimeous St. Brown and tight end Cole Kmet. Adding Harrison Jr. would round out the receiving core and give Fields a better chance of success. 

Chicago ranked 32nd in receiving yards this season with 3,421.


At ninth overall, the Bears should go with the best edge rusher available. Two candidates are Florida State University edge rusher Jared Verse and University of California, Los Angeles edge rusher Laiatu Latu. 

Latu is coming off a 13 sack, 2 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions. Verse logged nine sacks and one forced fumble. Latu is 15th on Mel Kiper’s big board and Verse is 18th. 

The Bears’ defense looked better this season after trading for defensive end Montez Sweat at the trade deadline. Despite the addition, Chicago finished 31st in sacks this season. 

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