Ryan Poles defends going defense with Bears’ first two draft picks

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Most people thought Bears General Manager Ryan Poles was going to prioritize helping quarterback Justin Fields in this year’s NFL draft. But Poles made defense his top priority.

After the draft, Poles said the two defensive players he selected with the Bears’ first two picks — cornerback Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker — were far and away the top two players on the board when they made those picks.

“This year, where we sat, to me, there were two good starting-level defensive players,” Poles said. “And I would have made a huge mistake for this organization to say, ‘You know what? Let’s just leave them there, let someone else take them, and then we’re going to go to offense, where they’re not on the same level.’ And then you’re kicking yourself a year or two later when the guy’s an All-Pro.”

The Bears did take receiver Velus Jones with their third pick, and they drafted four offensive linemen on Day 3. But if Gordon and Brisker don’t make a significant impact in the secondary as rookies, there’s going to be plenty of second-guessing about why Fields isn’t being given a better chance to take a big step forward in Year 2.

15 responses to “Ryan Poles defends going defense with Bears’ first two draft picks

  1. The Bears secondary last year was brutal. Bad players compounded by a rookie DC in over his head and Eddie Jackson checking out. The 1st 2 picks addressed big needs even if not the primary need.

    Poles’ plan for Fields this year will be to make him a game manager on a defense and run-oriented team. If he shows he can handle that, they’ll open up the offense as the saeason goes along and if he takes to that, they’ll get him some nicer toys to play with before the ’23 season. If he flops, they’ll have a Top 10 or possibly Top 5 pick in a strong QB draft and they can move on. It’s actually a pretty sensible way to rebuild a team that has a ton of holes and really, the only way it can be done given the bare cupboard left by his predecessor.

    Another thing that’s not being discussed is almost all these picks were seniors or even redshirt seniors. The youngest is 22 and the oldest will be 25 when camp starts. That’s not great from a longevity perspective but I think it’s clear Poles’ vision for culture change includes a priority on maturity, character, and leadership. The less his coaches have to babysit, the more they can teach.

  2. The new Ryan, although thinking different than the old Ryan and actually gaining draft picks, is setting his team up for as much success as the previous Ryan. Besides, we all know why Poles and Eberflus were hired- so George wouldn’t have to re-remember new first names…..

  3. It was a smart move and it will help their young QB. I don’t understand how everyone thinks getting behind early in every game and having your QB get blitzed the entire game is the way to help a young QB. The best way to help a young QB is to keep the score close enough so that the opposing defense doesn’t know what you’re going to do. That’s why you need a strong defense.

  4. Go sign Justyn Ross and see what he could do, could be another diamond.

  5. Both Minnesota and Chicago have rookie GMs in completely over their heads. What a train wreck draft and free agency period for these two teams.

  6. It didn’t matter if we were behind early or not, teams blitzed and changed coverages at the snap on fields because they knew he couldn’t read what was going on. The same will happen again this year and if the same result then it doesn’t matter what weapons are on offense. Fields isn’t a qb who sits in the pocket reads what is goong on and then cuts you up. He is a one read, throw or go qb.

  7. I see the Chicago media is starting to weave its ‘magic’. Soon another front office/player will be sacrificed.

  8. Poles found some ballers. Looks like he found some starters for the defense… and I love how he acquired more picks. Pace got himself fired by always throwing away capital.

  9. Bears draft was solid, hopefully this Ryan 2.0 GM works out. I am amazed that they finally drafted offensive linemen, not just one but FOUR! The defensive moves were key along with a speedy WR. The positions he addressed in the draft couldn’t be done any better.

    The Bears will be in great shape with lazy Khalil Mack (terrible influence for the young guys) gone and lots of young blood with seasoned vets that are at the top of their game like Roquan Smith and Aikem Hicks possibly still in the mix on defense.

  10. Fields has elite talent but is going to struggle. Bears didn’t have much of a supporting cast last year then let Allen Robinson and James Daniels leave without being replaced. When you use a high pick on a QB or trade 2 firsts for him, you owe it to the organization to give him a chance. Bears are failing that test. Even Jacksonville and the Jets knew they had to improve their weapons and protection to give Lawrence and Wilson a chance to show if they are legitimate NFL franchise QBs.

  11. Fields will be fine. Better protection and getting him on the move will really help. Better defense and better play calling will help as well. I like the conservative approach to building this thing. I like having a lot of young guys that run to the football like the 2005 team. This year will set the tone for what they are going to become. Next year: Contenders.

  12. Daaa Bearss! Their 2ndary should be pretty good 2nd half of the year I wish they had taken Dean though to play MLB in their swap to 4-3 base and let Roquan play the sam. The TN receiver they took around that time in the draft is a coin toss. Deans a guaranteed starter if healthy. Bears need starters.

  13. The only thing I dislike about Poles thought process is .. What happens when next year’s draft and the year after that and so forth, that the best player available is Defense or makes no sense for the Bears to add?

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