It is easy for a GM to make sweeping changes to an organization when he arrives and brings in his friends. Others prefer to take a more pragmatic route. They evaluate the scouting department and front office, looking to see if any people might actually be worth keeping around. It makes little sense to let qualified talent evaluators go for no reason. The good news for the Chicago Bears is Ryan Poles seems to be that kind of GM.
He said a few months ago that he was impressed by what he saw from the Bears scouting department. It was hard to know if he was earnest at the time or trying to avoid any controversies until the big changes came. The truth has since come out. While Poles has made certain changes with dismissals like college scouting director Mark Sadowski and national scout Chris Prescott, most of the department has remained intact.
In fact, several of them have received promotions.
Charles Love became a pro scout. Brendan Rahor took over the coveted southeast region for area scouts, while John Syty got the southwest. However, the most notable promotion that could provide a massive boost to the Bears’ evaluation efforts involved Breck Ackley. After handling the southwest region for the past several years, Pole elevated him to become their new assistant director of college scouting.
“Former area scout Breck Ackley has been promoted to assistant director of college scouting. Former pro scout Chris White has been promoted to assistant director of pro scouting, while national scouts Sam Summerville and Francis Saint Paul have been elevated to senior national scouts.”
Most fans won’t know Ackley. They should. He has been one of their most consistently reliable scouts for the past eight years. After joining the Bears as an assistant in 2012, he was quickly promoted to south-central area scout in 2013. A year or two later, he also inherited the southwest region. He has fingerprints on some notable names since then.
- Jordan Mills
- Cody Whitehair
- Trevis Gipson
- Darnell Mooney
Truth be told, it wasn’t until recently that the Bears started leaning more towards his region of the country with their draft picks and got rewarded more often than not.
Ryan Poles isn’t the only one who likes Ackley.
Earlier this month, he was voted by his scouting peers as a recipient of the BART award, given to a select few of the NFL’s best scouts. So this is a man that has plenty of admirers. Poles wasn’t about to let another team get their hands on him. Not only did he make sure to keep Ackley in place, but he did one better by taking off the regional shackles. The scout will now help run the entire scouting department, meaning he’ll be able to evaluate players from across the country.
That will only lead to good things.
It won’t be a surprise if the man ends up climbing the ladder again in the near future, especially if Cunningham gets lured away for a GM position elsewhere, as many expect. If nothing else, it’s nice to see the Bears organization continue to reward its own. Continuity matters in the NFL. By elevating scouts from within, it sends the right message. If you do your job, expect to get rewarded for it.
One added bit of intrigue here is if Ryan Poles plans to insert somebody above Ackley as the college scouting director since he’s the assistant version. Something to watch for in the coming days.