NFC North Reporter
The Chicago Bears have the No. 1 choose and their franchise quarterback … or do they?
In his season wrap-up press convention this week, Bears normal supervisor Ryan Poles was, predictably, pressed about his passer predicament.
He, actually, introduced up quarterback Justin Fields in his introductory remarks unprompted, giving a generic analysis of the growing participant.
“I thought Justin did a good job,” mentioned Poles. “I thought we changed a lot. We adapted. We tried to put him in a position to be successful. He showed the ability to be a playmaker, be impactful. He can change games quickly.”
It is all true. Fields completed his second NFL season with 1,143 dashing yards, simply 63 yards shy of Lamar Jackson’s single-season report for a quarterback. It was good for the seventh-highest dashing whole of any participant — sure, even operating backs — within the league in 2022. Fields was the Bears’ offense, simply not within the conventional approach a quarterback usually is.
“I think I talked about when I first got here: I wasn’t fired up how we protected the quarterback in terms of getting him off the ground and that attitude and that physicality,” Poles mentioned. “He’s a reason why we ran the ball so well. We finished. We had an attitude. We had an identity. That’s a lot because of guys like him.”
What ought to Bears do with No. 1 choose?
That is the primary time the Bears personal the No. 1 choose since 1947. Colin Cowherd suggests what Chicago ought to do with it, together with buying and selling down within the draft.
However, because the previous saying goes, “You can’t have it all,” and Fields was no exception. Whereas he broke a number of dashing data each league-wide and inside the Bears franchise, his passing stats additionally set data, and never the great sort.
Fields had simply 2,242 passing yards, finishing 192 of 318 move makes an attempt for 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions by 15 video games. The Bears had the league’s worst passing offense by a large margin and scored a median of simply 19.2 factors per sport.
“Does he have room to grow?” Poles requested rhetorically. “He does. He has to get better as a passer, and I’m excited to see him take those steps as we move forward.”
Poles went on to specify he is searching for issues to decelerate for Fields and for him to have the ability to react and anticipate extra rapidly.
“Obviously with that, we also have to continue to build around him so that he can do that consistently, as well,” he mentioned.
Therein lies the important thing to Fields’ place with the membership. Are they keen to proceed to be affected person and make investments extra assets to assist him attain his potential? Do not forget: Poles did not draft Fields. He was inherited. And whereas Poles is greater than acquainted with Fields at this level, is his efficiency this season sufficient to have “sold” him that the GM is keen to place his personal neck on the road for the QB? As a result of that is what’s at stake right here. If normal managers are going to die on a hill, they as a rule need to die on their very own hills.
Now, add the truth that Poles has each useful resource at his disposal to amass as many hills as he desires and the extra capital he may get in a commerce of Fields, and it is no surprise that hypothesis is beginning to swirl that the Bears could also be out there for a quarterback with the No. 1 choose in any case.
“We’re going to do the same as we’ve always done,” mentioned a noncommittal Poles. “We’re going to evaluate the draft class, and I would say this: I would have to be absolutely blown away to make that type of decision.”
That is not shutting the door. And for all we all know, he could possibly be blown away by Alabama’s Bryce Younger or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud.
Or … Poles is slyly planting the seed that the Bears may take a quarterback with the intention to bolster the return for buying and selling the No. 1 choose.
It is easy. There are two quarterback-needy groups within the high 4 picks. The Bears aren’t purported to be one, however the Texans are. The Cardinals have already dedicated a ton of cash to Kyler Murray in his new contract (and he is about probably the most constant factor left in Arizona after the crew fired the pinnacle coach and normal supervisor), so that they’re out of the quarterback race. Then there’s the Indianapolis Colts, who may very a lot use a quarterback after the Matt Ryan catastrophe and possibly do not need to (and might’t) commit a big wage to the place.
The truth that Houston wants a quarterback may already be sufficient incentive for the Colts or one other crew to leap forward of the Texans and commerce with the Bears. However when you assume you additionally must persuade Chicago to not take a quarterback, which means they would not commerce Fields for additional capital, then possibly you throw in an additional choose or a participant to sweeten the deal.
Poles may very properly drive dwelling that any crew wanting a quarterback has to return up and get one, and might’t wait round till choose three with the Cardinals. Ideally for Chicago, the Colts are the commerce companion and the Bears find yourself with a defensive cornerstone like Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson or Georgia DL Jalen Carter with the No. 4 choose and a fairly hefty haul of different picks to plug a few of their many different holes.
Nevertheless this goes can be a defining second for Poles and his employees, and he may already be exhibiting he is three steps forward by buying and selling three spots down.
Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports activities. Carmen had earlier stops with The Draft Community and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, together with 2020, which added the title of Tremendous Bowl Champion (and boat-parade participant) to her résumé. You’ll be able to comply with Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.
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