Sometimes the best people to answer questions about major draft decisions are the men who have made them. GM Ryan Poles is the first man since George Halas to hold the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft. That kind of responsibility must be crushing. He knows whatever decision he makes with it could determine the next decade of his franchise. Unsurprisingly, opinions are mixed. Some feel Poles should sit tight and take the best player on his board. Others think he has to take this chance to trade down, stockpiling loads of extra picks to help build one of the NFL’s worst rosters.
What would another GM do in his position? Adam Hoge of CHGO had a chance to ask this question on the CHGO Bears podcast when they hosted former Atlanta Falcons GM, Thomas Dimitroff. He ran that organization for over a decade from 2008 to 2020. He was in the war room many times making such decisions. When asked whether he’d stay put or trade down if he were in Poles’ spot, Dimitroff offered an interesting perspective.
The Chicago Bears must decide if such a move is worth it.
Dimitroff’s position was one shared by many GMs. Trading down ran too much of a risk of missing out on top players. He’d rather stay put and take the best guy on his board. Moving down would rob the Bears of taking one of the top defensive linemen in this class, Jalen Carter or Will Anderson. Many experts believe those two are in a tier by themselves in terms of ability. Poles would have to believe he can still value equal or greater value to one of those two by moving down. That isn’t a guarantee.
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That said, Dimitroff’s approach wasn’t always correct. For example, he stayed put at #19 in 2010 and took linebacker Sean Witherspoon. Over the following eight picks, four Pro Bowl players ended up going to other teams. Dimitroff could’ve moved down a few spots, gathered some extra picks, and possibly landed one of them. That is why the draft is a crapshoot. Great players fall outside of the top five or ten all the time. It comes down to whether the Chicago Bears are accurate in their talent evaluations. If they are, they should be able to land a good player even after moving down.