One thing about Ryan Poles is he doesn’t operate according to conventional wisdom. He’s already proven that multiple times since taking over as Chicago Bears GM. It started with him hiring a defensive head coach in Matt Eberflus when everybody felt an offensive mind to develop Justin Fields made sense. Then he did it again when he traded Roquan Smith before the deadline last October. While keeping the star linebacker felt like the right play, Poles felt the price tag was too high, and he could do better with the resources he got back in return.
Now he did it again by trading the #1 overall pick and doing so earlier than anybody has ever done it before. Poles doesn’t care about standard procedures. His objective is to do what is best for his franchise. That is likely why rumors emerged almost immediately after the big trade with Carolina that the Bears might not be done moving down. Some think Poles will move down again if he receives the right offer, continuing to stockpile picks. The GM himself fed those rumors during his press conference on Thursday.
Ryan Poles is fearless, and it’s fun to watch.
No team that has traded the #1 pick has ever gone outside the top 10. Tennessee dropped to #15 in 2016 but traded back up to #8. Not only does it sound like Poles is open to moving down again, but he is willing to stay there. That speaks to two things: his desire to stockpile draft picks and his overall opinion of this class. He seems not to see much difference between players in the top 10 and those he can get further down the board in the teens or even 20s. Former Bears scout Greg Gabriel said the true strength of this class sits between #20 and #40. Perhaps the Bears seek to stack picks in that range.
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Fans must understand this is not normal. Most GMs wouldn’t have had the courage to trade down from #1 at all, let alone outside the top five. Not only has Ryan Poles done that, but he sounds perfectly comfortable with the idea of moving down again, provided the compensation is fair. Nothing is off-limits. If nothing else, it’s refreshing to have a decision-maker that thinks outside the box for once.