During his introductory press conference, Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles said he wants to grow through the NFL Draft.
I know what you’re thinking. Okay, so what? All the general managers say when they get their first gig. And that’s right. But I’ll give the Poles credit for one thing: he seems to have done this with details in mind. ESPN’s Dan Graziano shares these details as he empties his reporter’s notebook. And that reminds me of something that we as Bears fans have been discussing throughout the offseason.
First, Graziano’s words:
The Poles told me during training camp that one of his first priorities when he got the job was to overhaul the organization’s scouting procedure to aggressively target specific players suited to the scheme they thought they could contribute immediately, and he came out of the draft believing he had. The Bears may not be in contention this year, but few expected them to bag Sunday’s victory. And if Justin Fields shows the kind of toughness he did coming back against San Francisco in this gloomy weather, they might be better than you think.
There are a lot of things worth pointing out in the above passage. And they all come back to the idea of building around Justin Fields.
First, the idea of signing players who could contribute immediately. This may seem like an easy concept for a GM to develop. But often, rebuilds lead GMs to draft first-round drafts that don’t necessarily participate right away, but theoretically come with a higher cap somewhere down the line. Drafting a bunch of drafts would have done nothing to help develop around Fields. And that certainly wouldn’t have done anything to help us rate Fields as a second-year player.
Secondly, there is a mention of Poles targeting adapted diets. We know draft prospects from previous GMs with similar physical and athletic traits as proven players. And we’ve seen so many of those prospects never play like the games they were supposed to be based on physical and athletic traits. So, with the Poles, we may have the marriage of the two. Writing a good football player who is also a suitable scheme – what a concept.
And finally, let’s not treat this line on Fields as a throwaway. Because, to me, it’s like Graziano relaying a message from the Poles basically saying we believe in Justin so much that we believe we can win games that others might not expect because of the QB and the team around him.
Maybe I’m reading too much in one sentence. But we spent a good part of the offseason discussing construction around Fields. And while much of that chatter has focused on the addition of offensive playmakers, the most notable splashes have come elsewhere. That doesn’t mean the Bears weren’t trying to build around Fields just because they picked defensive players in the second round. Of course, drafting a cornerback (Kyler Gordon) and safety (Jaquan Brisker) when there were multiple receivers on the board might have rubbed some the wrong way. But their contributions were the key to a victory. I’m not saying the Poles saw that exact outcome coming. However, the Poles may have had the big picture in terms of team building when he made his choices. After all, Chicago’s defense keeping it close allowed Fields and the offense to adjust in play, score points, and ultimately win the game.
Ultimately, prioritizing picks from Poles who fit the pattern with the ability to contribute immediately seems like an obvious and smart thing to do. And as Bears fans, those concepts are pretty foreign to us. Here to see more of it in future drafts.