Tuesday, February 13, 2024

How Ryan Poles Is Leaning Bears Into A Successful QB Draft Strategy


Everybody knows the Chicago Bears have a rough legacy when it comes to drafting quarterbacks. It’s been equivalent to the Sahara desert for the past 70 years, with only occasional instances of rainfall to briefly slake their thirst. It has been difficult to pinpoint why the team has been so bad at this. It’s a combination of things. Often, they took players who just weren’t good enough. They lacked certain physical or mental faculties necessary for the position. Other times, they failed to construct good support structures around those quarterbacks. GM Ryan Poles is hoping he can learn from those mistakes.

One strategy the organization has never really embraced is plucking quarterbacks from programs known for producing them. No, we’re not just talking about specific schools. We’re talking about regimes or, more accurately, head coaches. Many times over the years, it’s been proven that certain coaches have an incredible knack for identifying future NFL standouts. Howard Schnellenberger nabbed Jim Kelly and Bernie Kosar in his time at Miami. Lavell Edwards secured Jim McMahon and Steve Young at BYU. Bear Bryant recruited Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, and Richard Todd. David Cutcliffe helped recruit Peyton Manning to Tennessee, Eli Manning to Ole Miss, and Daniel Jones to Duke.

Sometimes, trusting the coach is a wise decision. Poles might be doing that with Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams.

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Ryan Poles knows the risks but also trusts his eyes.

Two things appear true. One is that Williams has put up stellar numbers for three years under Riley. He seems to have a strong arm, good accuracy, outstanding improvisational skills, and a relentless competitive streak. Another thing he’s noticing is that Riley quarterbacks continue to succeed in the NFL.

  • Gardner Minshew went 7-6 after Indy lost Anthony Richardson
  • Baker Mayfield led Tampa Bay to a division title and playoff win
  • Kyler Murray led huge upsets against eventual playoff teams in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia
  • Jalen Hurts made the playoffs for a third straight year

Many believe Williams is the best quarterback Riley has ever had. That should tell you something, considering the guys he has already worked with. Ryan Poles has a good deal of evidence showing him that QBs who’ve worked under this head coach have gone on to have productive NFL careers. The same can’t be said for the likes of Mack Brown and Brian Kelly. Both produced high draft picks but never successful pros. Poles is gambling on not only Williams’ talent but also the fact he’s worked with a guy that produced good NFL quarterbacks, too.


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Feb 13, 2024 10:01 am

Well the thing is that none of those QBs was worth the overall #1 pick. Kyler Murray is the best of that bunch, but would you rather have him, or two 1sts, two 2nds, Max Crosby and Fields?

Feb 13, 2024 9:57 am

I want to get back to the alleged Minshew/Kingsbury connection, Minshew went to a Mississippi community college, E. Carolina, and WA State. Kingsbury never coached at any of these. Pretty hard to take anything Lambert says when he can’t get basic facts right. Speaking of Minshew, he just finished his 5th season with a passer rating of 84.6 and 194.4 yards per game. In other articles, according to Lambert and his beetches, that performance in a QB’s 3rd year means its time to move on. How is that suddenly a standard to aspire to? For that matter, while there are… Read more »

Slip Knotz
Slip Knotz
Feb 12, 2024 11:31 pm

@ Arnie coaching is a much bigger deal in college because of all the margin to work with. So there is room for creativity. That is why a player with sloppy skills can be awesome in college but can’t in the pros until he cleans all that stuff up. (See Jay Cutler, Mitch Trubisky, Justin Fields). And even 20 years ago you had many styles of college offenses that still worked well , like the triple options, wing sets, traditional pro sets, and the spread. The NCAA limited practice hour rules and it seemed like it all devolved into read/option… Read more »

Feb 12, 2024 11:07 pm

Lincoln Riley definitely produces QB’s that put up monster numbers most of the time in college. I mean at Oklahoma, he got almost identical numbers out of Spencer Rattler in 2020 as he got from Caleb Williams in 2021. And then at USC, he crushed it with a back up in their bowl game. Clearly, the dude can coach college QB’s. On that list, you even have two #1 overall picks. My guess if you surveyed all the GM’s in the league now, not one of Lincoln Riley’s QB’s would go #1 overall if they knew then what everyone knows… Read more »

Feb 12, 2024 10:24 pm

What a concept. Letting someone with a history of identifying NFL quality QB’s be your advisor/consultant in evaluating the Bears choices? So, who’s opinion do you solicit? Poles has a prototype for every position of what he wants in a players “makeup”, (size, athleticism, speed, strength, intensity, LOVE OF THE GAME, football IQ, motor, etc.). The challenge is a balance between talent and fiscal responsibility to ensure long term success. The easy choice is to reset the QB1 position for financial prudence, or, keep Fields, who is more aligned with what poles looks for, athletically speaking. Poles is shrewd, and… Read more »

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