A BN Conversation with Field Yates Pt. 1: How Ryan Poles Manipulated the Draft in His Favor
Four weeks from today, our space at BN Bears will be full of reactions after the first night of the 2023 NFL Draft. Ideally, because we’ll be over the moon discussing the Chicago Bears’ first-round pick. We don’t know who it will be now, but there is no doubt I’ll have thoughts and feelings about the move. And I can’t wait to share those with you.
With that being said, another reason I’m looking forward to the draft is that we’ll be getting into GM Ryan Poles’ first-ever first-round pick as a general manager. That, in isolation, is something to be excited about. And after discussing it with ESPN’s Field Yates, my anticipation is reaching another level.
I recently had a chance to chop it up with the ESPN NFL analyst in a recent conversation about the Bears and the NFL. And one portion of the conversation that really stuck with about what Yates said that had me thinking: “Wow, Poles really set himself (and the franchise) up for a killer draft weekend.”
Here it is:
If you go back to last year and Ryan Poles’ first year on the clock as the GM for the Bears. On Day 3, he wheeled-and-dealed as much as anybody. And the idea behind that is probably rooted in a lot of things. But I believe, especially on Day 3, the more you can diversify your assets, the better. Because Day 3 picks, the gap between the middle of the fourth round and the middle of the first round is much greater than the gap between the middle of the fourth round and the middle of the seventh round.
Guys who go in the seventh round could have easily gone in the back of the fifth. Guys who go in the fifth round could have slipped through the cracks to the seventh. That’s just how the draft works. So you’re giving yourself way more ammunition and you also increase your future year flexibility because not every draft is created equally. Because while this is a draft that has a lot of notability because of the quarterbacks, I don’t know if there are as many blue-chip players in this year’s draft class as there will be if current projections hold for next year’s draft class.
Sure, we knew what Poles accomplished in trading the first pick in getting a proven stud player in D.J. Moore and future draft capital. That one move was the first step toward gearing up for what could be an awesome weekend. However, we shouldn’t discount the importance of having a bunch of Day 3 picks. Or even the flexibility to maneuver throughout the final four rounds.
In previous years, we saw Ryan Pace find all sorts of contributors on the last day of the draft. Eddie Jackson, Adrian Amos, Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, Darnell Mooney, and Khalil Herbert come to mind. Last year, we saw Poles unearth a starting left tackle (Braxton Jones) and new punter (Trenton Gill) on Day 3. The jury is still out on Dominique Robinson, Trestan Ebner, Doug Kramer, Ja’Tyre Carter, and Elijah Hicks. But at a minimum, that collection of talent will be in a position to fight for roster spots and become quality depth for a team that needs it.
In the end, seeing that Poles positioning himself with six Day 3 picks has me jazzed about what is coming.
And to think, that was just the beginning of our conversation. Yates and I discussed so much more. There is Justin Fields’ development, why we’re seemingly never happy with the offensive line, and even more (all of it coming soon). I’ve long been a fan of Field Yates’ work … and not just because he helped me win some fantasy titles. Really cool for him to take time to talk to us. Stay tuned.