Ryan Poles understood the challenge he faced when he took over as Chicago Bears GM in January of 2022. Not only did he have to overhaul the oldest roster in the NFL, but he’d also have to decide what to do about Justin Fields. The young quarterback flashed promise as a rookie in 2021, but Poles didn’t draft him. There was a level of concern outside Halas Hall that the new regime might decide to move on. Poles knew that wasn’t going to happen. Still, there was the risk of the outside noise leading to a tense relationship between him and his new quarterback.
The GM understood that to avoid some rift, he needed to keep lines of communication open. That meant keeping Fields in the loop on his off-season plans. This was never clearer than before the 2022 draft. Everybody knows the story of how Poles and Fields got together to watch film on several prospects. What people don’t know is it goes deeper than that. Poles revealed another layer during an interview with Albert Breer of the MMQB. It turns out the GM knew the wide receiver controversy would erupt during the draft even before the event began.
“I brought Justin in the draft room and I showed him our board in April and how I thought it was gonna play out, because I knew the media was going to be asking me about not drafting a receiver,” Poles says. “I explained to him how I use the value on the board to drive those decisions. I showed him how it was going to fall, because I wanted him to hear it from me before it happened. That’s important for me because I don’t want the guy to question whether or not I am trying to get him better.
“I want him to know that I’m building a football team and how I’m doing it.”
Justin Fields was never caught off guard.
He knew from the outset Poles was doing what was best for the organization. Unfortunately, that would require some patience from the young QB. Now that patience is being rewarded. Poles went into the 2023 off-season with far more resources and a plan of attack on improving the offense. They traded the #1 pick to Carolina, securing extra draft capital and star receiver D.J. Moore. Together with Chase Claypool and Darnell Mooney, Fields now has easily the best receiving trio of his career.
Nate Davis also arrived to bolster the offensive line as a free agent. Robert Tonyan provides excellent depth at tight end alongside Cole Kmet. The picture is coming into focus. This is before the 2023 draft even begins. Poles has three picks in the first two rounds. That gives him a golden opportunity to add another potential difference-maker for Justin Fields to work with. Nobody can say Poles doesn’t believe in the quarterback. He’s fully committed now. It falls on Fields to reward that investment.
Poles will use one of his top three picks on an offensive lineman and the other two on defense, specifically, a defensive tackle and a cornerback.
I can’t let something else slide about these comments from poles, would any experienced competent GM actually believe they know how a draft will play out??? You may suspect but you don’t know, maybe it is this preplanning desire on his part that bothers me but does explain his actions, he actually said he didn’t have a second round worth WR when he drafted in second round, he couldn’t have had pickens at least, and might guess he assumed he would be gone and then didn’t want to deviate from his plan, but i guess turned out well, velus looks… Read more »
cody was terribel at center, go back and read olin kruetz’s analysis of him. need to sign or draft center and either cut cody or renegotiate him to a backup role
@Bears_Down that because they average out run-pro and pass-pro together. Last year we actually had good run blocking but terrible pass blocking, hence why they were graded middle-tier. Yes, Whitehair had an issue with botched snaps (that’s what happens when Olin Kreutz get injured in preseason and you have to move your rookie guard to center last minute) but they were still some of the best statistical seasons of his career.
good to know justin knew ahead of time poles wasn’t going to help him, i am sure that is what he was thinking and aprreciating when his receivers were no where to be found and he was taking hit after hit. i am sure that meeting comforted him.