2024 NFL Draft order: Bears secure No. 1 pick and Commanders move up to No. 2

The wait is over. It is finally over. We can now officially say that the Carolina Panthers have secured the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft ... which means that the Chicago Bears own the top selection in the upcoming draft.

Bears general manager Ryan Poles has gotten everything a front office executive in his position could possibly want. The Bears traded back in the 2023 draft for greater capital, which the Bears now own. The team has won five of its last seven — including victories over the NFC North champion Detroit Lions and playoff hopefuls in the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons.

And the catalyst for Chicago's late-season success? The re-emergence of quarterback Justin Fields since returning from an injured finger in the second half of the season. For Poles, who still may decide to trade away Fields, his quarterback ending the season on such a hot streak is creating a good problem to have.

Here is the top 10 of the 2024 NFL Draft entering Week 18. (Mallory Bielecki/Yahoo Sports)
Here is the top 10 of the 2024 NFL Draft entering Week 18. (Mallory Bielecki/Yahoo Sports)

Fields has probably raised his trade return, so if he's dealt, Poles once again gets to build more draft capital in Chicago's coffers, and he can draft "his guy" to lead the team.

In addition to that, the Bears still own a top-10 pick in their own right, even with all of the late-season success. Now, Poles isn't definitively back for 2024, but according to ESPN, the second-year GM appears poised to return.

Is there anyone having a better start to the New Year than Poles at this moment?

Jets visit Patriots in top-10 duel

While the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins duke it out for the AFC East crown to close out the 2023 regular season, their divisional brothers will be battling it out for better position in the draft.

The Patriots currently own the third pick, while the Jets sit at No. 8. Bill Belichick might be coaching his last game at the helm of New England, and he does so against the team he spurned to arrive in Foxborough.

New York finds itself in this situation after quarterback Aaron Rodgers was lost for the year 75 seconds into the season opener. It had a defense that could keep it in any game, but an offense that was downright abysmal as no quarterback behind Rodgers showed any promise.

So on Sunday, the Jets play for pride and a chance to push their division rival's draft position in the process.

Commanders take on Cowboys team hoping to win NFC East

Sam Howell does not appear to be the quarterback of the future in Washington. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

The Washington Commanders currently stand between the Dallas Cowboys and the NFC East title.

Thanks to the Philadelphia Eagles tripping at the finish line, the Cowboys are now in position to win and overtake the Eagles and once again deprive the NFC East of a back-to-back winner.

There will be no resting starters on the Dallas side, so Washington is going to play a completely motivated archrival. This can work one of two ways: The Cowboys can come into FedEx Field and embarrass the Commanders, or Washington can play the role of thorn in the Cowboys' side with a classic upset victory.

There's no in between with these two. If Dallas loses and Philadelphia beat the New York Giants, then the Eagles repeat as NFC East champions. If Washington finds a way to win, it may push itself out of the second overall pick and its best chance to find a franchise quarterback in recent memory. The math is clear for everyone involved.

Who will pick No. 1 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Here is the current 2024 NFL Draft order entering Week 17:

  1. Chicago Bears (via Carolina Panthers)

  2. Washington Commanders

  3. New England Patriots

  4. Arizona Cardinals

  5. New York Giants

  6. Los Angeles Chargers

  7. Tennessee Titans

  8. New York Jets

  9. Atlanta Falcons

  10. Chicago Bears

  11. Las Vegas Raiders

  12. Minnesota Vikings

  13. New Orleans Saints

  14. Denver Broncos

  15. Seattle Seahawks

  16. Cincinnati Bengals

  17. Arizona Cardinals (via Houston Texans)

  18. Pittsburgh Steelers

  19. Green Bay Packers

  20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  21. Indianapolis Colts

  22. Jacksonville Jaguars

  23. Los Angeles Rams

  24. Buffalo Bills

  25. Kansas City Chiefs

  26. Philadelphia Eagles

  27. Detroit Lions

  28. Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns)

  29. Miami Dolphins

  30. Dallas Cowboys

  31. San Francisco 49ers

  32. Baltimore Ravens

Latest Yahoo Sports mock draft top 10 (from Dec. 28)

1. Chicago Bears (via Carolina Panthers): Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

2. Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

3. Washington Commanders: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

4. New England Patriots: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

5. New York Giants: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

7. Tennessee Titans: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

8. Chicago Bears: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

9. New York Jets: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

10. Atlanta Falcons: Brian Thomas, WR, LSU

Who will be taken with the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Things have changed a bit since our last mock draft. My colleagues are pretty much all in agreement that Fields is on his way out in Chicago, even though fans were loudly cheering his name in the Bears' 37-17 win over the Falcons on Sunday.

Poles has to put himself and the team first. In this situation, Yahoo Sports' Nate Tice argues that instead of the Bears taking USC's Caleb Williams with the top pick, they put all their eggs in the basket of North Carolina's Drake Maye. For those unfamiliar with Maye's game, think of a Josh Allen lite.

Maye is a go-getter and prefers to do his damage in the pocket. He loves a good deep ball, and he's shown a knack for being aggressive with his throws. At 6-foot-4 and 229 pounds, Maye is a slightly smaller version of the 6-foot-5, 237-pound Bills quarterback. He's also not as proficient as a runner as Allen, but let's be clear, if Maye is tucking it and running, there aren't many defenders who want to be tasked with bringing him down.

I'll let you all read the rest of Nate's thorough breakdown, but he makes an incredibly compelling argument for why the Bears would be wise to grab Maye with the first pick, while Williams appears destined to return to his native Washington, D.C. At least right now.