The Chicago Bears‘ offseason hasn’t exactly been exciting.
Of course, that’s been by design.
New general manager Ryan Poles has been tasked with rebuilding the Bears’ roster. As a result, Chicago isn’t expected to compete for an NFC North division title this season as the roster undergoes a major transformation (via a complete teardown).
I think most fans understand that what Poles and the front office are doing this season is necessary if the Bears want to compete for championships in 2023 and beyond.
But that doesn’t excuse a questionable decision that Chicago made this offseason.
CBS Sports recently named the most puzzling offseason move for each NFC team and they absolutely nailed it when it comes to the Bears. The national sports media outlet questioned Chicago’s decision to pass on wide receivers early in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Bears had plenty of holes to fill on their roster, but one that stood out and felt important was wide receiver. Not only did Chicago lose Allen Robinson in free agency, but it lost four of its top five wide receivers from the 2021 season. In the draft, general manager Ryan Poles elected to use his first two picks in the secondary with cornerback Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker. While these are two intriguing prospects that fill areas of need, the Bears made the decision to pass on wide receivers Wan’Dale Robinson, John Metchie III, Tyquan Thornton, George Pickens, Alec Pierce and Skyy Moore.
Darnell Mooney is a rising star and rookie Velus Jones Jr. could surprise some people, but the Bears could have added a starting wide receiver with one of those first two draft picks, and could have ultimately fast-tracked Justin Fields’ development if it worked out.
I loved the Bears’ selection of Tennessee Vols wide receiver Velus Jones Jr in the third round. I think Jones is an underrated player who dealt with some tough situations at USC and his first year at Tennessee. Jones ended up having a breakout season in 2021, proving that he can be a reliable option in the NFL.
But considering the Bears’ plans — to build around quarterback Justin Fields — you would’ve thought that drafting a wide receiver to pair with Darnell Mooney would’ve been a priority for Chicago.
Fields needs a strong supporting cast around him. If the Bears want to have a Cincinnati Bengals-like ascent in the coming years, then Fields needs weapons like Joe Burrow has in Cincy (Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd). Right now, Fields doesn’t have that. And there’s no guarantee that he will in the coming years (finding star wide receivers like Higgins and Chase isn’t easy).
Poles obviously has a plan, but I think we know enough about the NFL to know that no general manager’s plan is infallible. We’re still in the early stages of the Poles era and it’s far too early to pass judgment, but I have to agree with CBS Sports that passing on wide receivers early in the draft was questionable at best.
Featured image via Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports