One character trait stuck out above others when looking back on the Ryan Pace era as Chicago Bears GM. That was an overwhelming aggressive streak come NFL draft time. It felt like he had a tendency to fall in love with specific prospects every year and would do what was necessary to get them even if it might cost his team future flexibility. New GM Ryan Poles hasn’t even conducted his first draft yet, but he admitted that such a mindset is something he fears.
From 2015 to 2021, Pace made 14 trades during the draft. No fewer than 10 of them were moves up the board. That is the mentality of a GM that becomes enamored with prospects. Poles is a scout at heart too. There will always be certain players he likes more than others. However, his philosophy is to build through the draft. That can be difficult if he focuses too much on specific names. That is why he made sure not to “overcook” his draft board.
Once it was set, he let it be. Staring at it too long can lead to crazy decisions.
Actions speak louder than words, but it already feels like Ryan Poles thinks differently in so many ways from his predecessor. Where Pace utilized draft picks like poker chips, Poles sees them as gold bricks. He won’t part with them unless he’s sure he gets the right value in return. This doesn’t feel like a GM that will trade up much. At least not early in the draft. Not unless he has a shot at a no doubt can’t-miss prospect.
Most signs indicate that Chicago is looking to move down in this draft. They only have six picks and need more. It isn’t the sort of draft for a team like them to go big-game hunting. They have a ton of roster spots to fill. It makes more sense to take a quantity over quality approach, hoping they get lucky with some later picks. Poles doesn’t seem perturbed by such a challenge.