How Ryan Poles and the Chicago Bears were able to bulk up on defense
The results are in and it appears Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles is hooked on drafting defensive players. Make no mistake, Poles is building the Bears from the ground up, and he's doing so by focusing on the defensive side of the ball.
Seven out of 10 of the Bears' draft picks are on the defensive side of the ball.
The Bears had the worst defense in the league last season, per Pro Football Reference. This was an area of concern heading in the draft and the Bears didn't hesitate to address it.
In the first round, they drafted Tennessee offensive lineman Darnell Wright. But after this selection, they almost stuck strictly to drafting players on defense.
On the second day of the draft, they bulked up their defense by drafting Florida defensive lineman Gervon Dexter Sr., Miami defensive back Tyrique Stevenson and South Carolina defensive lineman Zacch Pickens.
The third day of the draft saw the Bears use a little more variety in their selection, but it was mostly all defense. They drafted Texas running back Roschon Johnson, Cincinnati wide receiver Tyler Scott, Oregon linebacker Noah Sowell, Minnesota defensive back Terell Smith, Kennesaw State defensive lineman Travis Bell and Stanford safety Kendall Williamson.
One of the most interesting selections of the weekend was drafting Travis Bell out of Kennesaw State. He's the first Kennesaw Owl in school history to be drafted by an NFL team. That's the beauty of the NFL Draft -- you never know what's going to happen and whose dream is going to come true.
It is often said that defense wins championships. And Poles seems to understand this mantra based on his draft picks. Will any of them help resurrect the Monsters of the Midway defenses Bears fans have come to know and love over the years? That is to be foreseen. But there is a good chance one of those players will thrive in the Bears head coach Matt Eberflus' system.
This gutsy move of almost strictly drafting defensive players comes after Poles traded away the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to the Carolina Panthers for a King's ransom. Whatever Bears fans and the Chicago sports media think of Poles, one thing is undeniable about the young general manager: he isn't afraid to take a swing.
Overall, the Bears received an A- grade from NFL.com for their draft class.