Ryan Poles wasn’t exactly subtle when asked about his focus moving forward as Chicago Bears GM. He is somebody that believes everything starts up front for a football team. Hardly a surprise for an ex-offensive lineman. Even so, one would think that Poles will opt for the best player available when the time comes. Stick to the board even if it might not be the biggest position of need. That is great in theory, but Ryan Pace proved multiple times that his picks were driven by needs far more often than he would ever admit.
Pass rusher in 2016 Quarterback in 2017 Running back in 2019 Tight end in 2020 Quarterback in 2021
The only year he didn’t draft a pressing need was 2018 with Roquan Smith. A lot of teams do this. It is just the nature of how things work. Taking the best player sounds great, but it really means working on getting the best player at the most pressing positions. Poles believes the lines for Chicago need help. Not the offensive side either. Don’t forget Akiem Hicks and Bilal Nichols are free agents. So defensive tackle could become a big concern in the near future.
Yet the evidence goes beyond just Poles’ background.
One must factor in the team he comes from. Since joining the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009 as a scout, the organization has made a 2nd round pick 13 times. Of those 13 selections, seven of them were linemen. Four on offense and three on defense. It is clear the team felt it could find value in the trenches at that point of the draft and the data backs this up. Of the seven players drafted, four have started at least four seasons. Two of them became Pro Bowlers, and another (Creed Humphrey) had a standout rookie year in 2021.
Man @creed_humphrey is a 🥞 machine. He knocks down his DT and Trey Smith. 😂 pic.twitter.com/2e4keLc2m0
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) November 15, 2021
Ryan Poles was around for all of that. It shouldn’t be a stretch to think he’ll believe he can find quality blocking talent at the 39th overall pick. The great irony is it would mark the third time since 2018 the Bears will have taken an offensive lineman at that exact spot—James Daniels in ’18 and Teven Jenkins last year. Daniels proved to be a decent blocker for most of his run before last season. Jenkins is an unknown but flashed potential. Maybe the third time will lead to a home run.
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