Poles is Having a “Super Solid” Draft, Last Night’s Magic Moments, Bolstering the D, and Other Bears Bullets
I’m thankful for the NFL Draft keeping me busy and away from whatever the heck that ninth inning was during last night’s Cubs-Marlins game. SHEESH!
- The final day of the 2023 NFL Draft is here. Festivities get going at 11 a.m. CT, which means this will likely be a short stack of Bullets. My apologies in advance if you were rooting for an extended cut. I’ll make it up to you later. Fair deal? Cool. I knew you were the agreeable type.
- Things I have in common with Bears GM Ryan Poles: We both have fantastic taste in Air Jordans and we both love waking up Saturday morning in a mood to cook. ICYMI: Poles is already out here cutting deals:
- The more picks, the merrier as far as I’m concerned. Keep ’em coming, Ryan!
- Early reviews are coming in and I think this one captures the spirit of the thing:
- Yes, the Bears still have work to do. But I’m with Matt Miller here in seeing this Bears draft as one of those sneakily quiet ones that is productive, but not flashy. This is the type of draft other teams have that make us look back and ask how’d they do that? in a fit of jealous rage. Maybe the Bears can have other teams feeling like that for a change. I’d say they’re off to a good start after two days of drafting.
- After plugging a massive hole at right tackle by drafting Darnell Wright in the first round, Bears GM Ryan Poles was cooking up some help for the defense. It began with Gervon Dexter Sr. filling a need at defensive tackle. This is a position Chicago needs to find answers at moving forward. Did you know that Dexter was higher-ranked as a high school prospect than Jalen Carter? And at the same position? Well, now ya do. The NFL Network broadcast nuggets have been superb so far. That’ll be my go-to broadcast again.
- Ah, yes, prospect highlights. You know you want ’em:
- Poles went on to double down on defense when drafting Miami cornerback Tyrique Stevenson. It took a trade-up to land Stevenson. And while there might’ve been other cornerback prospects I was into, Stevenson was on my short-list of intriguing college corners who would be available to the Bears on Day 2. There is something about swaggy Miami defensive backs that I find alluring. Maybe it is a nostalgia thing. But I like what I saw in the limited video clips I’ve seen. And based on this coaching staff’s history (most of which came in Indy, mind you), I have a level of trust that they can make the most out of the defensive backs at their disposal.
- All of a sudden, I’m digging what the Bears’ secondary looks like. Back in April 2022, it was Eddie Jackson (who hadn’t looked like the Eddie Jackson we grew to love) … and Jaylon Johnson (who was still young and on the come-up) … and a whole bunch of question marks. Now, Chicago’s defensive backfield features a rejuvenated Jackson … growing leader in Johnson … two rising second-year players who had flash moments as rookies (Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon) … and an incoming rookie with upside (Stevenson). What a turnaround!
- More on the new guy via former standout college QB turned analyst EJ Manuel:
- There seems to be a lot to like there with Stevenson. I’m looking forward to seeing him go one-on-one with the likes of DJ Moore, Darnell Mooney, and Chase Claypool when training camp starts. Are you sure we can’t fast forward to summer?
- The Bears finished the night by triple-dipping on defense with a double-down at D-tackle. Because if one is good, then two is better — right? Drafting South Carolina’s Zacch Pickens was a bit of an eyebrow-raiser for me. It’s not that I didn’t like the prospect or the pick, but I thought the Bears would be better off going in a different direction at another position. Then again, I found myself looking at the state of Chicago’s defensive line and thought to myself: Yeah, this group needs as many able bodies as it can get in the trenches. And they got that with Pickens. So now we’ll be hollering about those (Game)cocks on Sundays.
- Suddenly, I’m wondering how my former neighbors (who were South Carolina grads who taught me about adult beverages they made at college tailgates) are doing since they moved away. Good people. I hope they’re doing well.
- Entering Friday’s shenanigans, I had defensive tackle and cornerback as two of the Bears’ top five needs. They filled those on Saturday with three players. Well done. But I want more. And we’ve got one day left to make magic happen. Let’s get into it!
- I want this for me (and us, as a fandom):
- The players I want the Bears to draft on Day 3, in no order of importance:
An interior offensive lineman who has positional flexibility to play guard and/or center.
A running back who can check at least two of these three boxes — pass protect, run routes as a receiver out of the backfield, return kicks/punts.
Hybrid safety/linebacker who can play the role of “bigger body” in Nickel, Dime, and Quarter defensive looks.
A receiver who is so fast cartoon zoom graphics follow him wherever he goes.
Another tight end, ideally a pass-catcher.
An athletic quarterback who can develop behind Justin Fields and P.J. Walker. Someone who I’ll look forward to seeing in the fourth quarter of preseason games. Because I watch those so you don’t have to do so. Summer is never long enough and I want you to enjoy it to its fullest extent. You can always come back here to catch up on everything you need to know about preseason football. I got you.
- More teams should do this:
- The countdown until the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery continues for Chicago’s professional hockey organization: