GM Ryan Poles brings fresh approach to Bears heading into first NFL Draft

He doesn’t have a first-round pick, so Poles needs to find quality, long-term players with two second-rounders and a third-rounder.

SHARE GM Ryan Poles brings fresh approach to Bears heading into first NFL Draft
Bears GM Ryan Poles has no first-round picks Thursday, but should enter the fray with two second-rounders and a third Friday.

Bears GM Ryan Poles has no first-round picks Thursday, but should enter the fray with two second-rounders and a third Friday.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

As Ryan Poles heads into his first draft as the Bears’ general manager Thursday, he’s thinking big — as in the big picture. There’s no urgency to fill holes on a team that’s almost certainly a year or more away from competing.

Poles is preaching discipline when it comes to prioritizing his long-term plan for the Bears. That was evident in the restraint he showed in free agency, as well as in his apparent lack of interest in trading for a receiver such as the 49ers’ Deebo Samuel. If Poles gets this draft right, he can find his own version of Samuel at a fraction of the cost and his grand ideas in play for 2023 and beyond.

‘‘I truly believe in homegrown talent,’’ Poles said. ‘‘I truly believe in drafting the right players and developing them here, and that will help us in the long run.

‘‘It’s being disciplined in both keeping draft capital to draft the right players and develop them, as well as the financial commitment. There’s consequences for all of those actions.’’

When Poles took the job, he held a second- and a third-round pick, then two fifth-rounders and a sixth-rounder. That’s not much help to fix a team rife with deficiencies. He traded Khalil Mack to add another second-rounder, so the Bears are scheduled to pick at Nos. 39, 48 and 71 on Friday.

There are significant needs at cornerback and receiver and on the offensive line.

It’s highly unlikely Poles will trade up into the first round Thursday, instead saying he would ‘‘be in the business [of] moving back and trying to create more [picks],’’ provided the right offers present themselves.

As he worked to ensure he gets this right, Poles had to blend his philosophy with the scouting staff he inherited. If he wants to make changes in that department, he’ll do it after the draft.

One new approach he tried was anonymity. In the process of finalizing the Bears’ draft rankings, Poles put scenarios up on a video screen and had his scouts vote for a selection with their cellphones to take self-consciousness out of the equation.

‘‘You just want to remove groupthink,’’ he said. ‘‘If I polled everyone and you had to raise your hand, sometimes you look around. It just removes that. . . . I put [the results] on the screen, and you could hear the oohs and aahs. It was a really cool exercise.’’

Poles also tested his staff by running simulations of the draft to see whom they would pick based on who was available at those spots and had someone call in with various trade proposals.

Once he had gone through all that, Poles essentially was done. He had a meeting scheduled Tuesday, then planned to step away from ranking and analyzing until it was time to make some picks.

‘‘You can talk yourself into anything at this point,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s why I’m not overcooking this board; I’m taking a step back. Sometimes you keep staring at it, and you keep sliding guys around and doing crazy stuff.’’

There’s no margin for crazy stuff. The Bears have too many problems and too few picks for that.

The Latest
Like Gulliver, travel downtown this past weekend brought you to a world transformed.
Cook Commissioner Monica Gordon said long wait times and short staffing at the hospital are a result of the “interconnected disparities” in the mostly Black and brown south suburbs “that has to be addressed.”
The two were outside about 4:20 a.m. in the 1300 block of South Throop Street when someone fired shots.
Officers responding to a shots fired call about 10 p.m. found the two in the 3800 block of West Ohio Street.
Officers responding to a person shot report found the man lying on a porch with multiple gunshot wounds.