After a busy offseason, Ryan Poles is molding the Chicago Bears to his image
When general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus took over the Chicago Bears, they were in shambles under former general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy. After enduring the worst season in franchise history in 2022, the Bears are starting to emerge from the rubble.
This offseason brought back optimism that had been missing with the Chicago Bears among the fans for quite some time.
It all started in early March when GM Ryan Poles fleeced the Carolina Panthers, a team that was desperate for their own franchise quarterback after playing three different quarterbacks last year, by trading 1st overall pick to the Carolina (Which eventually became Alabama Quarterback Bryce Young) for their 9th pick, 2023 2nd round pick(61st), WR DJ Moore, 2024 1st round pick, and 2025 2nd round pick.
Ryan Poles is showing us his image as he molds the Chicago Bears
Then the Bears moved down one spot from 9th to 10th spot, with the defending NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles, who took Georgia Defensive Tackle Jalen Carter, the player who had been linked to the Bears pretty much the entire off-season despite his legal problems this off-season at 9th pick. The Chicago Bears took Tennessee Right Tackle Darnell Wright next. This is the first time the Bears drafted an offensive lineman in the top 10 since they drafted Jimbo Covert back in 1983.
Fans, who wanted Jalen Carter, were probably disappointed that Ryan Poles appeared to have made a safer pick in Darnell Wright. But he is the right pick. Those who bemoaned the Bears for passing on Carter are probably the same people, who complained about the lack of protection Fields got last year and will do it again this year.
Ryan Poles stated after the 2022 season ended they are committed to building around Justin Fields. But because Poles not drafting him. the reckless speculations of the Chicago Bears moving on from Fields were rampant by pundits, both locally and nationally, which drove the fans nuts. Poles put those questions to bed by adding WR D.J. Moore from the trade with Carolina, the player Carolina was forced to give up in order to get the Bears’ No.1 overall selection on the last day of the NFL Combine in March.
Then in free agency, they signed left guard Nate Davis from Tennessee, moving Tevin Jenkins to right guard, and finally moved on from everyone’s favorite whipping boy in center Sam Mustipher. Drafting Wright will further solidify the offensive line that gave up 58 sacks last year in case you needed a sobering reminder of just how bad this offensive line was. Being a former offensive lineman himself, Poles knew Fields deserve much better protection in order for him to succeed in the NFL, and he made sure of that.
After drafting Wright in the first round, Poles provided head coach Matt Eberflus and defensive coordinator Alan Williams with reinforcement on much-maligned defense by drafting DT Gervon Dexter and Zacch Pickens, CB Tyrique Stevenson, and LB Noah Sewell. They, along with key free agent additions LB Tremaine Edmonds and TJ Edwards, DE DeMarcus Walker, and NT Andrew Billing, will provide the defense with more depth and hopefully better production compared to last year.
Meanwhile, Poles added more weapons to the offense by drafting RB Roschon Johnson from Texas and WR Tyler Scott from Cincinnati, both in the 4th round. Johnson was overshadowed by Bijon Robinson in Texas, but many experts believe he has the talent to become a starter eventually. And Scott’s deep ball skills could provide more big plays while forcing the Chicago Bears to move on from either Darnell Mooney or Chase Claypool as both players enter free agency after the 2023 season.
On paper, Ryan Poles’ second draft as a GM is looking much better than last year when they did not have the first-round pick. Poles admitted not all holes can be filled in one off-season as the edge rusher remains a huge question mark. But his recent interviews with local media would indicate, he’s not done yet. The only difference is, he has shown both patience and strong conviction as we all saw how the trade with Carolina Panthers unfolded.
Gone are the days of Ryan Pace trading away picks, and forgettable first-round picks like Kevin White, Mitch Trubisky, and Leonard Floyd, none of them ever lived up to their draft status, and then spending recklessly on free agents like Jimmy Graham and Andy Dalton, crippling the team’s salary cap at the same time.
While the jury is still out on both Poles and Eberflus, they are laying down the foundation for long-term success this off-season by molding this team to their image. This is their team now. and the Chicago Bears are finally trending in the right direction under their leadership.