We didn’t hear much from GM Ryan Poles directly during the Bears’ draft weekend, but his actions spoke pretty loudly.
First and foremost, Poles told us the Bears are not Super Bowl contenders, yet. In reviewing what experts had to say about the draft class, it stood out that Wright, Dexter, Stevenson, and Pickens all have a high potential ceiling. They are not finished, ready to be perennial all pros. In other words, they’re not finishing pieces to the meal. They’re the prep work you do the day before the banquet.
Confidence is high in the coaching group. If you pick unfinished players, you have to have the staff to help them meet that high ceiling. Poles had to see players like Kyler Gordon and Braxton Jones and been satisfied with their growth from week one to the end of the season. I’m sure he saw the “misses” like Velus and Borom but counted them as the price of taking the high-ceiling prospects.
Poles showed discipline to a T. Poles has a type I want to coin as measurably athletic with no character issues. Using RAS (Relative Athletic Score), the Bears’ entire draft class was judged to have elite grades. The days of going by feel on a player who didn’t test well are going if not gone. Bears coaches saw Jalen Carter’s film and met with him. I can only assume but the character had to be the determining factor in passing on him.
He feels solidly entrenched as the Bears’ GM for a long time. What Poles has going is not a short-term project but it’s obviously one Bears’ executives are buying into. 2 first-rounders will bring another shot of high-level talent next year along with some of the cap space rolling over from this year. My best guess is that 2024 is when he sees contention as a goal.
Most importantly, Poles showed us that there is a concerted plan in place. There is no panic when mistakes are made. There is no reaching for players. There is no listening to the criticism of the “experts”. There is no spending cap space or draft capital before it’s time. Poles has a vision for the franchise that he’s going to see through and all of us fans will go along for the ride. Hopefully, it’s not one that has us regretting the Miller Lite and hot dogs at the end.