Thursday, June 20, 2024

Why Ryan Poles Is Well-Equipped For Bears’ 2022 Draft Problem


Ryan Poles watched the Super Bowl like everybody else. He likely came away with a simple phrase running through his head. “I’ve got work to do.” This is true. Not only did he inherit a Chicago Bears team that finished this season 6-11, but it also features several aging players with bloated contracts. If that weren’t bad enough, there might be the biggest problem of all. He won’t have a 1st round pick in the draft.

Now, this can potentially be no big deal. If Justin Fields ends up taking a step forward in 2022, then losing that pick will have been more than worth it. That said, it doesn’t change the situation. In the first two days, Poles only has 2nd and 3rd round picks at his disposal. It isn’t easy to find high-caliber talent in those areas of the draft. However, this GM might have the experience necessary to beat those odds. Just look at what he helped accomplish in Kansas City since joining the team as a scout 12 years ago.

Chiefs 2nd rounders since 2009:
  • Nick Bolton
  • Creed Humphrey
  • Willie Gay Jr.
  • Mecole Hardman
  • Juan Thornhill
  • Breeland Speaks
  • Tanoh Kpassagnon
  • Chris Jones
  • Mitch Morse
  • Jeff Allen
  • Rodney Hudson
  • Dexter McCluster
  • Javier Arenas
Chiefs 3rd rounders since 2009:
  • Lucas Niang
  • Khalen Saunders
  • Derrick Nnadi
  • Dorian O’Daniel
  • Kareem Hunt
  • KeiVarae Russell
  • Chris Conley
  • Steven Nelson
  • Phillip Gaines
  • Travis Kelce
  • Knile Davis
  • Donald Stephenson
  • Justin Houston
  • Allen Bailey
  • Jon Asamoah
  • Tony Moeaki
  • Alex Magee

If people aren’t keeping track, that list includes seven Pro Bowlers, two potential Hall of Famers, and several solid long-term starters. It doesn’t guarantee anything for the Bears, but it shows that Poles should know what to look for on the second draft day. He knows how to sift through which players will never make it in the NFL to find the ones that will.

Ryan Poles picked a good year to run his first draft

The common statements on him by former colleagues have stated his biggest area of expertise is in the trenches. Both the offensive and defensive lines. This makes his arrival rather fortuitous for the Bears. The 2022 draft appears to be strong in both areas based on early evaluations. The Draft Network has 16 offensive linemen rated in the 3rd round or better this year. They also have 21 defensive linemen.

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So if Ryan Poles follows through on his promise to focus up front for the Bears, he faces favorable odds of finding capable players. The offensive line has been a considerable weakness for this team for most of the past decade. On the other hand, the defensive line has been consistently good but now age is catching up. Not to mention key names like Akiem Hicks and Bilal Nichols are free agents.

Sticking to what he knows best in his first draft isn’t a bad thing.

It may be advisable considering he doesn’t know the scouting department he is working with. Changes likely won’t happen until May on that front. So his best bet would be not to do anything outlandish. Stay close to his wheelhouse. Nobody can fault him for that.

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