Ryan Poles becomes the sixth person in Chicago Bears history to hold the official title of general manager. He certainly has a lot of work to do. The team is in a difficult situation. It is old and expensive in several places. Many of their young players saw their development mismanaged by a lousy coaching staff before his arrival. More than anything, the team isn’t talented enough. Something he recognized coming in.
While there will be many avenues Poles can use to fix the problem, he made his overall plan clear. He wants to build through the draft. He wants to bring in young players and have the coaching staff develop them as homegrown talent. Not a bad idea. When it works, teams that do it successfully like Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Kansas City, and Green Bay tend to finish every year in the playoffs. The problem is the person in charge has to do his job by selecting the right talent.
Something Poles’ predecessors haven’t handled well.
Everything centers around getting off to a good start. They say every journey starts with a first step. This is true in the draft as well. GMs can often set the tone of their tenures depending on how good or bad their first pick ends up being. All Bears fans have to do is look at the past 35 years of history for a reminder. Every executive that has held GM power since 1987 hasn’t done too well with their first picks.
Bill Tobin – Jim Harbaugh in 1987 Rod Graves – John Thierry in 1994 Mark Hatley – John Allred in 1997 Jerry Angelo – Marc Colombo in 2002 Phil Emery – Shea McClellin in 2012 Ryan Pace – Kevin White in 2015
Not an inspiring list. Harbaugh was an okay but not great starting QB. Thierry was a flop defensive end. Allred accomplished little as a tight end. Colombo was a talented tackle but couldn’t stay healthy. McClellin was a bad fit for the Bears defense, and it showed. White suffered countless season-ending injuries. As a result, none of those executives saw much success during their times in charge.
Ryan Poles has a major challenge to overcome
Getting the first pick right is difficult enough. Having to do so with it not being a 1st rounder increased that difficulty. It can’t be an excuse, though. Hatley’s first pick in 1997 was a 2nd round choice. He passed on guys like Corey Dillon, Sam Madison, Darren Sharper, and Ronde Barber in selecting Allred. All future multi-time Pro Bowlers. It wasn’t like the pool of talent was dry. Don’t expect this GM to make any excuses.
During his long run in Kansas City, Ryan Poles saw the Chiefs have tons of success in the 2nd round. Names like Dexter McCluster, Rodney Hudson, Mitch Morse, Chris Jones, Mecole Hardman, and Creed Humphrey became huge contributors.
Four of them reached at least one Pro Bowl.
Poles understands the expectations on him. He has five picks total in this draft, which only magnifies the importance of that 2nd rounder. He can’t afford to screw this up. If he pulls through with somebody good, then it could signal the Bears are finally in the right hands.
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