Ryan Poles didn’t mention wide receiver as a strength of this draft. Is that a sign the Chicago Bears are targeting the position? –Boston Herald

If you’re part of the crowd that thinks the Chicago Bears need to add help for Justin Fields at wide receiver, it might be encouraging that rookie general manager Ryan Poles skipped the position as an area of ​​strength for Days 2 and 3 of the draft. of the NFL. .

Surely the Poles didn’t want to shake hands a little more than 48 hours before the draft begins on Thursday night. He spoke for about 20 minutes Tuesday afternoon, praising the staff he brought with him and those he inherited at Halas Hall for his diligence in the process without mentioning any individual players.

Perhaps the Poles not mentioning the position is a good sign for those clamoring for a wide receiver with one of the Bears’ two second-round picks. When asked where he anticipates the draft will be strong on Friday (Rounds 2-3) and Saturday (Rounds 4-7), the Poles listed four other groups of positions.

“I would say the depth of the O line is pretty good,” he said. “Some good depth in the DBs. There are a couple of good defensive linemen. The racer class may not be very heavy, but there are a ton – it’s crazy how many racers there are.

“I think a lot of this has to do with the COVID year. A lot of those guys are winding down, so middle to bottom, definitely free agency, there’s a lot of players. That’s why it took so long to put the board not only on top but also on the bottom. There are a lot of players on this board.”

The Poles have mentioned several times that, in the right position and for the right return, he is open to going down in the draft to add to the current collection of six picks. The Bears own Nos. 39 and 48 in Round 2 and No. 71 in Round 3. They don’t pick again until No. 148 in Round 5, and it’s in that wide gap that the Poles would like to add picks.

It’s also possible to imagine the Poles focusing on the offensive and defensive lines in Round 2 before exploring help at wide receiver, where the Bears added Byron Pringle, Equanimeous St. Brown and David Moore in free agency.

The Poles set the goal of improving the offensive line when he was hired, and the biggest addition has been the signing of center Lucas Patrick, who was again praised by the GM for his toughness and leadership. Expectations for Patrick should also be determined by his two-year, $8 million contract.

The Bears could look to recruit a guard to hook up on the right side, where they tried to add Ryan Bates as a restricted free agent. Or maybe they see a future left tackle in Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann, Tulsa’s Tyler Smith or Ohio State’s Nicholas Petit-Frere and would trade Larry Borom inside to be guard. The Bears would have to get comfortable with the knee issues teams have discussed for Raimann.

Unless Poles firmly believes in Borom at left tackle, Teven Jenkins at right tackle and Sam Mustipher at right guard, he has to make a move to bolster a line the Bears hope will be significantly better in a new offense under a new staff.

It stands to reason that the Bears would seriously consider adding a defensive lineman with one of their top picks. They tried to commit the most resources in free agency there before turning down a three-year, $40.5 million contract with Larry Ogunjobi due to medical issues. Coach Matt Eberflus wants to spread his defensive line in waves with as many as nine players in the rotation, so the defense needs talent and depth up front.

Houston’s Logan Hall could be available in Round 2, and he has the versatility to play three techniques, where the Bears would have used Ogunjobi, as well as anywhere else on the line. Hall could be a similar piece to DeForest Buckner, who anchored Eberflus’ line when he coordinated the Indianapolis Colts’ defense. Teams have said that Hall has minor ankle problems, but the impression is that they are not serious.

The Poles stopped short of using the word “reconstruction” when discussing the status of the list it inherited.

“No, reconstruction is super sensitive,” he said. “No, we are building a very good soccer team. Regardless of how you use the term, we just continue to add talent. And young talent, older talent, whatever it takes to make the best team possible.

“You know, late at night with the wife, you’re watching TV, you get like the home network where there are some rooms that are good. Might have to redo some countertops here, fresh paint there. Some rooms are good. You don’t need to touch them. It’s kind of a thought process there. That’s not a reconstruction either.”

You might not want to call it a rebuild, but the Bears are in the early stages of building and this roster needs to be rebuilt. They can go after a wide receiver if they see a dynamic player with the skills to be a great producer on offense. Or the Poles can keep the focus on the trenches because, as he knows, no good team is built without strength on both sides of the line.

“Any time you improve the team overall, you’re helping all the players,” Poles said when asked about supporting Fields. “That may look different. You could say he needs receivers, receivers, receivers, but he also needs blocking, and he also needs balance in terms of running the ball efficiently and doing it from the front.

“And then you can do some game action pass things, then you can do different things. turnovers Maybe a returner to turn the field around and score more points. So everything is connected. That’s really why the mindset is to get the best players on this team as possible. If I get too off balance and say, ‘I have to do this specific,’ I think that’s where big mistakes are made.”


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