The major risks taken by Chicago Bears' GM Ryan Poles

Chris Lewis
June 29, 2024  (12:45)

Ryan Poles
Photo credit: Chicago sun times

Ryan Poles: The Bears' GM who balance risk with prudence.

Chicago Bears' GM Ryan Poles is often seen as a cautious decision-maker, steering clear of reckless gambles in favor of safer, more calculated moves. This strategic approach has defined his tenure with the team, marked by several key decisions that reflect his prudent philosophy.
One notable instance of Poles playing it safe was during the Jalen Carter situation. The Bears traded back in the draft, opting not to select Carter, despite him being the top defensive tackle available—a position the Bears needed to strengthen. Concerns over Carter's involvement in a drag racing incident and his perceived lack of commitment influenced Poles' decision to avoid the potential risk.
This year's draft saw another example of Poles' cautious strategy. Instead of sticking with quarterback Justin Fields, who had yet to throw for more than 2,562 yards in a season, Poles chose Caleb Williams. Williams, a rookie quarterback with impressive passing statistics, had been touted as the best QB in his draft class for two years. This move was seen as a safer bet compared to relying on Fields.
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Poles also demonstrated his cautious nature last year when he passed on drafting Bryce Young with the No. 1 pick. Instead, he traded for wide receiver DJ Moore, securing two first-round picks and two second-round picks in the process. Opting for the proven Moore and the additional draft capital was seen as a more secure strategy than gambling on the 5-foot-10 Alabama quarterback.
The decision to sign safety Kevin Byard to replace Eddie Jackson could be seen as a risk. However, given Jackson's declining performance and Byard's consistent ranking as one of the NFL's top safeties, this move appears to be a calculated risk. Byard, rated by Pro Football Focus as the NFL's 12th best safety entering this season, is expected to bolster a secondary that began to gel last year.
Despite his cautious reputation, Poles has taken some significant gambles with the Bears' roster:
No Established Defensive End Addition
The Bears are banking on DeMarcus Walker to step up, along with contributions from young defensive ends Dominique Robinson and rookie Austin Booker. Walker's performance last season was undervalued by Pro Football Focus, which ranked him 84th out of 112 edge players. Despite a low grade as a run defender, the Bears' defense improved from 31st to 1st against the run, thanks in part to Walker's contributions. His pass rush was also better than recognized, with 12 of his career-high 22 pressures coming in the final seven games after Montez Sweat's arrival. The Bears' defensive end group remains a work in progress, but the potential addition of a veteran edge rusher could mitigate this gamble.
Poles' approach to roster management reflects a blend of prudence and selective risk-taking, aiming to build a competitive team without jeopardizing long-term stability. As the season progresses, it will be interesting to see how these calculated moves pay off for the Bears.
Source: sports illustrated
Where Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles Took His Biggest Gambles
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The major risks taken by Chicago Bears' GM Ryan Poles

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