Friday, December 1, 2023

Overlooked Reason Ryan Poles May Be Gun Shy Trading The #1 Pick


Speculation will run wild for the next few months about what the Chicago Bears will do with the #1 overall pick. GM Ryan Poles holds the NFL world captive. His decision will have massive ripple effects on the entire draft. Everybody believes the 36-year-old aims to trade the pick. It’s logical. His roster is rebuilding. He wants to build through the draft. More picks from moving down could help accelerate his plans. That said, looking at the other side of the coin is essential.

There are also reasons Poles could get cold feet, electing to stay put and take the best player on his board. Something people often forget about trading down is that while more picks are acquired, it comes with the sacrifice of position. Moving down opens up a team to the risk of missing out on potentially great players. Here is a list of every player teams that traded out of the top three ultimately ended up with.

  • Kerry Collins
  • Michael Booker
  • Chris Naeole
  • Warrick Dunn
  • Andre Wadsworth
  • Ricky Williams
  • Julian Peterson
  • LaDainian Tomlinson
  • Michael Brockers
  • Matt Kalil
  • D.J. Hayden
  • Jack Conklin (after trade up)
  • Corey Coleman
  • Solomon Thomas
  • Quenton Nelson
  • Jaylen Waddle (after trade up)

Here is a layout of players those teams missed out on because they moved down.

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  • Tony Boselli
  • Walter Jones
  • Peter Boulware
  • Torry Holt
  • Champ Bailey
  • Brian Urlacher
  • John Abraham
  • Luke Kuechly
  • Fletcher Cox
  • Lane Johnson

So yeah. There is a significant risk that teams run of missing out on future stars by moving down. Poles should know. His Chiefs did it in 2011, dropping from 21st to 26th overall. As a result, they lost out on Cameron Jordan. He must make sure he can still land difference-making talent if he decides to move down.

Ryan Poles may move down, but likely not far.

Anybody thinking he’ll go from #1 to #8 or #9 should probably rethink their projections. It is far more likely he will try to stay as close to the top 5 as possible. That gives him the best possible odds of still landing a player atop his draft board. Swapping with Houston at #2 or Indianapolis at #4 makes the most sense. His floor is likely no further than Las Vegas at #7. Everything comes down to his evaluations. How many players in this class does he think have superstardom in their future? The higher the number, the more likely he might be willing to move down.

Make no mistake. This can be done. Teams have found great players after moving down before. It is just challenging. Ryan Poles is still inexperienced as a GM. It takes a certain finesse and confidence to pull something like this off. Few things are more difficult in the NFL than playing the draft board. He showed some savvy at this last year when he secured Braxton Jones after multiple trade downs. Jaquan Brisker proved he could find top talents outside the 1st round. Poles doesn’t lack confidence. He’ll need it to take such a leap.


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Jan 24, 2023 2:12 pm

Throw this out there. Draft Brice Young with #1. that forces any and all that need a quarterback to start coming up with a package really quick. That way Chicago will have all day to get something done and not have to worry about the clock.

Ralph Law
Ralph Law
Jan 23, 2023 12:00 pm

Poles needs to get the draft right.

Martin Melhus
Martin Melhus
Jan 23, 2023 10:14 am

Next week you can publish the counterpoint article where you mention bad players that were taken in the top 5 and the great players that were drafted after them. Tony Mandarich and Robert Gallery come to mind, as do Akili Smith, Ryan Leaf. Or look at the 2003 draft where the Bears traded the #4 pick to the Jets, who took Dewayne Robertson, while the Bears (after a trade from #13-#14) took Michael Haynes, and at #22 took Rex Grossman. Busts all around.

George Hotchkiss
George Hotchkiss
Jan 23, 2023 10:06 am

Mr. Lambert, If you want to make judgement on trading back you have to show all of the picks that were included in the trade. The additional picks from later rounds also yielded players, where is that list?

Jan 23, 2023 7:57 am

I firmly believe the internet should stop allowing you to post articles

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