How Many Starters Did Poles Draft? Did Fields Get Enough Help? Is the Back 7 Good Now? And Other Bears Bullets

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How Many Starters Did Poles Draft? Did Fields Get Enough Help? Is the Back 7 Good Now? And Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

Seeing “Return of the Jedi” in theaters with friends was everything I was wanting (and needing) it to be. So, if you’re a Star Wars nerd or someone who loves movie-theater popcorn, then I’d highly recommend a trip.

Also, it might be the last Star Wars movie you see in theaters where you know you’ll leave the theater happy with the outcome. And that’s not something to overlook.

  • After turning off my brain on Sunday and turning it on again Monday morning, it turns out I still have a bunch of NFL Draft thoughts. Whodathunkit? Thankfully, we have time to unpack everything from the weekend that was in the days, weeks, and months ahead. So that’ll keep us busy. Plus, it’ll keep us from looking at 2024 NFL mock drafts. It’s wayyyy too early for that stuff.
  • A singular thought: Each of the Bears’ first six picks figure to be NFL starters by Year 2 (if not sooner).
  • First-round pick Darnell Wright should immediately start at right tackle. I wouldn’t even play the “make the rookie earn it” card. Open the door, let him walk through it, and have him go to work. Trial by fire, baby. Let it burn. One of the defensive tackles (Gervon Dexter Sr. or Zacch Pickens) could start as early as Year 1, but I expect veterans Andrew Billings and Justin Jones to hold it down at the outset. Maybe Dexter or Pickens plays their way into a starting role sooner than we think. Head Coach Matt Eberflus has made it known throughout his tenure to this point that he is willing to let young players work it out on the field. We saw it with Kyler Gordon taking his lumps early before finding his footing later in the year.
  • Speaking of which, I wonder if second-round cornerback Tyrique Stevenson will play his way into a starting role as a rookie. If he can, that could slide Gordon into the slot. And if Stevenson is good enough to start from the get-go, Chicago’s secondary suddenly looks good. Heck, the whole back seven looks solid. Stevenson, Gordon, and Jaquan Brisker leading the youth movement. Eddie Jackson and Jaylon Johnson are solid veterans. Linebackers T.J. Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds fortify the middle. That is a stronger group today than it was before GM Ryan Poles came on board.
  • Running back Roschon Johnson (folks are gonna love him!) and receiver Tyler Scott could play important roles on the offense as rookies. But because of who is ahead of each player on the depth chart, they don’t need to hit the ground running. Don’t get me wrong. I hope they do. However, it isn’t necessary. This is why it is important to do well in free agency and via trades leading up to the draft. So when your rookies come to town, you’re not putting too much on their plates right away. Few things stunt player development like giving someone too much too soon.
  • But also: It wouldn’t surprise me if Johnson or Scott were starters by Year 2. Keep in mind that neither of Chicago’s top two running backs are under contract after the 2024 season. In other words, Johnson could be in the same shoes Khalil Herbert is in now. It’s an unenviable role being the young vet sharing time with a veteran while also knowing a rookie is waiting. But that is life as an NFL RB right now. As for Scott, he could be starting sooner depending on what happens with Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool. Mooney and Claypool are free agents after this season ends. I wouldn’t mind if one of the two was back again. But I know better than to expect both (or either) to be back. Poles hasn’t been wary of letting established vets go elsewhere.
  • What does it say about Poles’ draft that it isn’t hard to see a path for their first six picks to start soon? This feels like the opposite of what Ryan Pace drafts. You know, the ones where he was picking prospects whose development felt like it would pay off in Year 3 or 4 instead of Year 1 or 2.
  • There is so much good stuff online if you want to dive deeper into what the Bears did. Reading up on stuff by Nicholas Moreano (CHGO), Josh Schrock (NBCS Chicago), Adam Jahns (The Athletic), and Alyssa Barbieri (BearsWire) helped round out some thoughts in my head.
  • Colleen Kane (Tribune) asks the most important post-draft question: After drafting 3 offensive players, have the Chicago Bears done enough to build around Justin Fields?
  • I’m looking forward to seeing that question answered by the players on the grass. Don’t get it twisted. The offseason player movement has a grip on me like it’s nobody’s business. But I can’t wait to see boot meet ball in September and let football begin again.
  • On the one hand, Chris Novak (Awful Announcing) nails it by pointing out how hard it is to have a successful mock draft. And I’ve seen in some corners of the internet that some are deriding the inaccuracies of mock drafts as confirmation that no one knows anything. But on the other hand, I think anyone who was doing these mocks would have told you that in the first place.
  • As someone who has been obsessively following mock drafts since January (let’s face it, I had lots of extra time on my hands and was encouraged to use that time to dive into writing), the common theme among the most notable mock draft creators was each’s admission of how difficult it is to peg these things. Particularly this year with smooch uncertainty, so much movement elsewhere that had potential draft ramifications, and the annual rite of passage known as pre-draft subterfuge. All of this makes me glad I don’t have to think about a mock draft for a while.
  • Nothing good for the Cubs ever happens when they play the Marlins. And that was the case this weekend in Miami. But Brett has some really good angles on what does (and doesn’t) matter from the weekend that was:

  • The 2023 NHL Draft Lottery countdown continues:

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.