Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Ryan Poles Has Drafted A Small School Player Every Year. Watch These Names


After two off-seasons, we’ve learned a few things about Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles. He will not sign free agents who get priced out of his established range. Players with character or injury concerns should be taken off the board because he won’t touch them. Also, keep a close eye on prospects with high athletic scores. There is a strong probability they are high on his board. One other interesting quirk of Poles is his tendency to target players from smaller schools.

In two drafts, the Bears’ general manager has selected two such players. He grabbed Braxton Jones from Southern Utah in 2022. Then, last year, he took Travis Bell from Kennesaw State. Jones quickly developed into a quality starter for the Bears. So, it is apparent Poles has a sharp eye for talent, even at the lower levels of college football. Keeping this in mind, here are some small school prospects that may fit his vision.

Ryan Poles always has eyes in the lower ranks.

Isaiah Davis, RB, South Dakota State

One thing about Poles is he’s smart about the running back position. It isn’t hard to find capable rushers later in the draft. Khalil Herbert (6th round) is proving that. Roschon Johnson (4th round) had some good moments last year. Davis is exactly the type of back the Bears would like. He’s tough, strong, sturdy, patient, and versatile. His vision allows him to find running lanes with regularity while also possessing deceptively soft hands as a receiver out of the backfield.

Ryan Flournoy, WR, Southeast Missouri State

Poles loves wide receivers with size, athleticism, and an unselfish attitude. Flournoy checks those boxes and more. He has a 6’2, 200 lbs frame and sub-4.5 speed. His long arms and huge hands enable him to make tougher catches look routine. He’s dangerous as a vertical threat and doesn’t like going down on the first tackle attempt. His willingness to block in the running game stands out frequently. As is often the case with small school receivers, the key with him is learning how to diversify his route-running tree.

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C.J. Hanson, IOL, Holy Cross

Interior depth is going to be a big thing for Ryan Poles because now he knows he has two guards, who, while above-average when healthy, have trouble staying on the field. Hanson played over 2,000 snaps at Holy Cross, developing into an intelligent and polished blocker. He has good enough size, adequate power, and showcases the necessary mobility to handle duties in a zone-blocking system. This is somebody who can play any of the three interior positions, though most of his work is at guard.

Khristian Boyd, DT, Northern Iowa

Stacking defensive linemen is something Ryan Poles has worked hard to do over the past two years. He already drafted three defensive tackles last spring. There is no reason to think he will stop, though he might settle for Day 3 options. Boyd is right up his alley. While his sack numbers were never great, his presence as an interior pass rusher stood out a lot on tape. He has size, power, a growing arsenal of moves, and a hot motor. His performance at the East-West Shrine Bowl made people take notice of his potential.

Jalyx Hunt, EDGE, Houston Christian

For somebody who started college as a safety and became an edge defender, it’s remarkable how natural Hunt is at the position. He has a natural feel for rushing the passer and understands how to attack blockers in different ways. He’s athletic, deceptively strong, and explosive off the ball. Both of his core issues are fixable. Hunt is too light to be helpful against the run. He needs to add weight. Also, his list of pass rush moves is short. He will need time to learn more. This is a project, but a promising one.


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Dr. Steven Sallie
Dr. Steven Sallie
Feb 22, 2024 6:11 pm

Mr. Poles, try to sign RB Davis out of SDSU. I ice-fished a few times around Brookings. It is colder than Chicago or even the Twin Cities. He had to be a tough and talented running back to play well there. Hoge should have played there or at NDSU.

Feb 22, 2024 10:43 am

Ryan Poles talks a good game: (“..we’re gonna take the NFC North. .”) and (“we will build through the NFL draft. .”) and (“I love me some Roquan Smith, Jaylon Johnson, Justin Fields, etc.”) and (“Enjoy your summer vacation, with the family, ‘Soup.'”) and of course, my all-time favorite, (“Performance over politics”). But currently, GM Poles is desparately seeking any offensive “scheme” that alligns with his roster full of so-called “scheme fits” — All, in order to support the illusion that he sold to so many of Erik Lambert”s readers. Clowns are now asking that I exclude GM, Ryan Poles… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by TGena
Feb 22, 2024 8:48 am

I like Poles a lot, but he gets credited as if he’s the best GM in the game. The reality he has done an above avg to good job. He hasn’t drafted a single STAR player yet. He’s drafted some good players… but u aren’t a great GM until you have some superstars drafted under your belt. Not talking down on Poles, as again, I think he’s done a good job and I think he will comlntinue to get even better. But some ppl give him way too much credit. And side note.. he didn’t find B. Jones. Poles made… Read more »

scott brs
scott brs
Feb 22, 2024 8:26 am

I like Poles but he isn’t God. Our middle linebacker is proof he isn’t afraid to spend a lot of money in free agency. Character concerns? Never heard of Claypool huh?

If you want to talk about his tendencies in the draft maybe you should start with the fact that he has drafted a defensive back in the second round every year.

Feb 22, 2024 6:13 am

Small school guys are cool as long as they are the 5th round at MAX earliest. Ryan Pace had one of the all time blunders with this.

Adam Shaheen from Ashland ring any bells! What a waste of a 2nd round pick. Jonnu Smith went in the 3rd and some other guy named George Kittle went in the 5th. I know it’s easier in hindsight, but if you are picking a TE, go with the guy from Iowa over the guy from Ashland 100 out of 100 times.

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