Friday, April 19, 2024

Senior Bowl Winners That Scream Ryan Poles And The Bears


Chicago Bears fans have learned one thing about GM Ryan Poles over two years. He places far greater emphasis on the Senior Bowl than any other pre-draft event. That includes the scouting combine and pro days. He seems to feel the simulated practices and actual game do a better job of showcasing what players can do far better than athletic drills against air. It is why several of his draft picks since arriving in 2022 have come out of that event. Headlining that group are Braxton Jones, Darnell Wright, and Tyrique Stevenson.

So, one can safely say he has some players from this week’s event circled after watching practices and the game. Here are some names that stood out not only for their performances but also for their fit with Poles’ vision for the organization.

Knowing how Ryan Poles thinks, keep an eye on these guys.

Malachi Corley (WR, Western Kentucky)

One thing we’ve learned about Poles’ receiver preferences is he likes them at a certain weight. Around 200 lbs or more. If they also have good speed, that is another point in their favor. Corley checks both boxes. He’s got the thicker build and the speed to threaten defenses deep. His greatest attribute is turning into a tank after the catch. The guy is hard to bring down. He’s not afraid to get physical at all. In fact, he welcomes it. His hands are also strong. The big thing with him is expanding his route tree, which was limited in college.

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Theo Johnson (TE, Penn State)

Big, athletic tight ends are always intriguing for their matchup potential. It felt like Johnson was underutilized during his time at Penn State, so the Senior Bowl was a chance for him to show more capability. He met the challenge, proving his upside with a string of solid practices as a receiver. He’s plenty big enough to offer value as a blocker as well. Any team that takes him must have some patience, as he isn’t a polished product. Once he expands his tool kit, the guy can become a dangerous weapon.

Jackson Powers-Johnson (C, Oregon)

It isn’t a secret Ryan Poles and the Bears need a solution at center. They can’t afford to go another year with Lucas Patrick in the middle. The man who owned the entire event all week was Powers-Johnson. He demonstrated power, technique, mobility, and toughness across the board. There was no debate over his performance. He had a case for being the best offensive lineman on the field. While he didn’t play in the game itself, he didn’t need to. That was how strong his statement was.

Braden Fiske (DT, Florida State)

One can make a case that no defensive tackle in the country had a stronger finish to 2023 than Fiske. After a quiet first two months for the Seminoles, he exploded down the stretch with six sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss in his final five games. That carried over into Mobile, where he gave blockers fits all week with his power, motor, and quick first step. He even got browny points when he shifted from the American team to the National team due to injury problems with the latter. Matt Eberflus will love that kind of unselfishness.

Darius Robinson (EDGE, Missouri)

We know what Poles and the Bears like for defensive linemen. They like size, length, power, and athleticism. It’s what drew them to Gervon Dexter at the Senior Bowl last year. So Robinson is almost guaranteed to have caught their attention with his 6’5 frame, 34-inch arms, and well-muscled frame. He put it to great use in drills, manhandling blockers several times. They had no answers for his unique mix of power and quickness. If, by some miracle, he falls out of the 1st round, this would be a no-brainer.


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Feb 5, 2024 2:21 pm

The Bears need to come away with at least Marvin Harrison Jr. and center Jackson Powers-Johnson. A receiver who can get open quickly with good hands and a center to give Fields more time (and not consistently snap the ball above the quarterback’s head) will all of a sudden make Justin Fields a much better quarterback.

Feb 5, 2024 1:37 pm

You’re right.

My complaint with Velus, is that Poles wasted pick #71 on him. Velus Jones Jr. was projected as a #150 pick on the Consensus Big Board database.

Poles drafts about one or two rounds “early.” And, that’s a problem, which reduces the value of the incoming picks from any expected trade.

Can’t Ian Cunningham help? Maybe, he sucks too? I don’t know.

Last edited 2 months ago by TGena
Feb 5, 2024 1:27 pm

– That was the other one I mentioned as well in a couple of weeks ago. But Doubs has far outproduced him (101, 1099, 11TD) , but honestly 3rd- 7th round and there are only 2, that is a rather weak class.
Still – 39 – 611 – 2TD is pretty pedestrian as well over 2 years. Though Velus is much worse

Last edited 2 months ago by BearDownTX
Feb 5, 2024 1:20 pm

Buffalo’s Khalil Shakir — 39 receptions, 611 yards, 2 TDs — taken in the fifth round at # 148, would disagree.

Feb 5, 2024 9:34 am

– well done, a -51 DV score! And you should get that, as I noted before that class Velus was in was notoriously bad at and after that pick of Velus. The only guy picked after Velus at WR with any modicum of success is Romeo Doubs

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