Saturday, June 15, 2024

One Bears QB Conspiracy Theory That Fits Ryan Poles


Everybody thinks they know how the NFL draft will unfold in April. GM Ryan Poles will trade Justin Fields and use the #1 overall pick on a quarterback of his choice. The overwhelming majority think it will be Caleb Williams. That isn’t surprising. He’s been the presumptive top pick of this draft for two years. Many compare him to Patrick Mahomes, who Poles helped draft in 2017 with the Kansas City Chiefs. It feels like a no-brainer. Yet fans must remember this GM doesn’t always operate according to conventional rules.

There is a possibility he has an alternative plan he hopes to execute. This is where draft conspiracy theories always come into play. Follow enough bread crumbs and maybe it leads you to the truth. So here is one that has stuck with me. Two months ago, top Bears insider Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune released his first in-depth QB study for the draft. One would think it’d be about Williams or Drake Maye. Nope. It was about Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. That led me to wonder if Biggs was hearing something at the time, but I dismissed it. However, after some thinking, I realized there is a path forward that feels like such a Poles move. It is as follows.

  • #1 – Keep Justin Fields for the 2024 season
  • #2 – Trade down from the 1st pick for a blockbuster package
  • #3 – Select McCarthy later in the 1st round

The for Ryan Poles here is straightforward.

It allows Poles to hedge his bets. Fields will get another year to start, this time under what is supposed to be a better offensive coordinator in Shane Waldron. If he improves and the Bears defense continues to play well, the team should challenge for a playoff spot. Trading down will yield significant future draft capital. Depending on how far they move down, they should still be able to land a blue-chip talent such as a wide receiver or offensive tackle.

So why McCarthy? For one, he’s a winner. He helped Michigan win its first national title since 1997. He moves well, has great mental toughness, is a standout leader, and throws accurately. His arm strength is also underrated. The critical issue many have with him is his lack of experience. McCarthy is 21 years old and has only thrown 713 passes in his college career. He was rarely asked to carry the team with his arm. It’s why many think he will need a year to transition to the NFL before being ready to start.

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Last but not least, we know Ryan Poles loves hometown talent. It’s why he re-signed Cole Kmet and signed guys like Jack Sanborn and T.J. Edwards. The GM believes that sort of thing matters to players. McCarthy was born in La Grange Park, just 20 minutes outside Chicago.

Don’t forget Poles watched the Chiefs use this setup before. They stuck with Alex Smith in 2017 despite drafting Mahomes in the 1st round. He played well, they made the playoffs, and then they traded him to Washington. He could envision a similar approach to McCarthy. The kid has attributes the Bears have discussed: poise, accuracy, swagger, decision-making, and leadership. It comes down to whether they can be patient in transitioning him to the NFL.


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Feb 7, 2024 10:12 pm

@TGena I agree with you that the offensive line has an array of issues. In no particular order, these include questions about whose playing and where, the penalties that you referenced, and overall performance/consistency. Here’s the thing as I see it – we have no way of knowing the root of these issues, or who is primarily responsible, because we don’t know who is ultimately dictating playing time and rotations, and we certainly do not know who is designing the blocking schemes that I have serious questions about. In my view, much like saying the Bears are a Tampa 2… Read more »

Feb 7, 2024 4:05 pm

@Jioha — Consider this possibility: It’s not as much, that “(a) bad team is going to produce bad results” as it is: “bad results follow poor execution.” I am not being facetious. Every team in the NFL runs similar plays — those that execute those plays well, the most consistently, enjoy a great advantage — but still, are not guaranteed THE WIN. It is difficult to win at the NFL level. But, fans would be amazed how close the talent level is on the various NFL teams. That’s why a “game-changer” like CJ Stroud, Joe Burrow and yes, Brock Purdy,… Read more »

Feb 7, 2024 3:24 pm

@Arnie — You can disagree all you like. But, there is a dysfunction at Halas Hall. If the position coaches fail to develop Gervon and Zacch, who bears the ultimate responsibility? Shouldn’t Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus “collaborate” in such a situation — and solve the issue(s)? As to whether I, “saw it all coming.” Yes. I did. I stated from Day One that Chris “C-Mo” Morgan was not “the answer.” Have I been proven to be right? You tell me. Point me to a game where the Bears are successfully running the wide zone (WZ) scheme that we’ve been… Read more »

Feb 7, 2024 2:21 pm

@TGena I completely disagree with your conclusion, because no, it’s not the GM’s job to hire assistants, the guys who actually teach and develop players. He hires the head coach, just like the team President hires a GM, but should not be hiring coaches. Did some of Eberflus’ hires turn out to not work? Obviously, the answer is yes, but at the same time, it’s not like he just picked some random dudes to be assistants that he hung out at the neighborhood bar with. They were all experienced coaches, had been successful in past positions and there was no… Read more »

Feb 7, 2024 2:01 pm

Man, I’ve read more common sense in these comments than after any article I’ve read here so far.

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