Ryan Poles knew he didn’t have the picks necessary to aim for a quality approach to the 2022 draft. So he opted for the alternate path, going for quantity instead. He traded for Khalil Mack for 2nd and 6th round picks, then traded said 6th rounder for two 7th round picks. On top of that, he traded down multiple times in the 5th round to secure additional 6th, and 7th round picks. When the smoke had cleared, the Chicago Bears two 5th round selections happened in the final 12 slots.
One would think their odds of landing good players were minimized by those moves back. Joe Marino of The Draft Network doesn’t think so. He did an in-depth evaluation of the entire Bears class on YouTube. While he loved the selection of Jaquan Brisker in the 2nd round, his favorite stretch seemed to be the 5th round run Poles had of tackle Braxton Jones and defensive end Dominique Robinson. Marino dubbed both of them steals based on player grades and spots taken. Both have a chance to develop into starters with enough time.
Ryan Poles continues to get praise from well-informed people.
Former scouts and GMs have indicated how much they love multiple players from this class, including Kyler Gordon and Velus Jones. To hear Braxton and Robinson get love as well offers one hope the Bears GM did some good work in April. Jones has the athletic profile to make it in the NFL. He’s 6’5, 310 lbs, and boasts 35-inch arms. He moves well and doesn’t lack power. It comes down to whether he can handle NFL speed. Something he never saw at Southern Utah.
As for Robinson, he is a fascinating story. He was a wide receiver struggling to find playing time at Miami of Ohio only two years ago. After watching defensive ends work, he concluded he could do what they do. So he asked his coaches to let him switch positions. They agreed. His progression from there was remarkably rapid. Though he’s still raw, the Bears feel that he has a chance to become a viable NFL pass rusher with some time and seasoning.
If those players reach even some of their potential, Ryan Poles should take a bow.