CHICAGO – The Bears entered the 2022 NFL Draft without a first- and fourth-round pick in their arsenal and just six picks, total.
By the time the draft was over, the Bears had 11 new players to try and coach up in 2022 and beyond.
And no, the Bears didn’t make any headline-worthy trades. In actuality, all of the aforementioned trades came on Day 3 of the draft and after the fourth round.
While fifth-rounders and later are typically considered players that make up the back end of the roster, what Ryan Poles did on Day 3 was an excellent example of why the Bears hired him to run the franchise. And not only that, it also showed he is a competent GM and should only get better in time.
The Bears obviously needed impact players coming into the draft. That’s without a doubt. Well, the best way to secure an impact player via the draft is to snag one in the early first round, right? Sure, teams can always land one after the first round, but their best chances at finding an immediate playmaker always lies in the top-15 picks of the draft.
Chicago didn’t have a first-rounder, but they could’ve used one of their seconds -if not both- and a future first-round pick to move up into the first round and grab a guy.
But Poles opted against that. He knew that he needed both of his second-round picks. And his third-rounder. He also knew he was going to need every pick next year.
And let’s be honest: That pick is very, very likely to be the aforementioned top-15 pick. It’s even very likely to be a top-10 or better pick. For someone who likes to build through the draft like Poles does, that’s practically invaluable.
Poles knew there was plenty of talent remaining talent in the second- and third-rounds of the 2022 draft, which is why he decided to stick with what he had. He then picked the guys he thinks will impact the team most in 2022. At the time, it was Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker. Poles and Matt Eberflus obviously had a plan to address the secondary before anything else and they stuck to their plan.
And while Justin Fields needs a ton of help, addressing a depleted secondary that has to face off against receivers like Justin Jefferson, Adam Theilen, Jameson Williams, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Christian Watson multiple times per year isn’t a bad idea, at the end of the day.
The decisions may have been frustrating, especially when considering who was on the board at the time, but there’s still something to say about Poles’ and Eberflus’ ability to refrain from flinching when it came to their plan/vision.
And then there was Day 3. Poles’ ability to work the phones was quite impressive. When you throw in the fact he turned three picks into eight, it’s even more so.
Poles knew going into the final day that three picks wasn’t going to cut it. The draft is already a crapshoot, but Rounds 5-7 is the ultimate crapshoot. The Bears’ odds of hitting on all three picks in that moment of the draft were slim to none. And even if they did hit, a quality backup or great special-teamer was the likely ceiling.
So, Poles added five more picks to his Day 3 arsenal and increased his odds of landing a diamond in the rough. At worse, he added a bunch of depth guys without mortgaging any of the Bears’ future.
All of this screams solid GM’ing, if you ask me. Anyone expecting the Bears to rock the NFL in the draft was delusional, to put it mildly. That wasn’t going to happen and odds are it was a reckless approach if the Bears did in fact create some kind of shockwave over the weekend.
Poles made the best of what he had, which is what the best GMs in the NFL do. Teams can either run from it or embrace it and work with it in hopes of building the team the right way. Poles went with the latter option and not only did he go about it the right way, but he was creative, assertive, and confident while doing it.
In all, there may not be a whole lot of hope for the Bears in the present, but the future is certainly looking bright with Poles running the show.
Featured image via David Banks-USA TODAY Sports