LAKE FOREST – During his final news conference of the 2022 season, Ryan Poles gave a vote of confidence to Justin Fields as the Bears currently hold the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The general manager answered in the affirmative when asked if Fields is the team’s 2023 starting quarterback. Poles also said that it would take something extraordinary between now and the draft to make a selection of a signal caller with the top overall selection.

“We’re gonna do the same as we’ve always done, we’re going to evaluate the draft class. I would say this, I’d have to be absolutely blown away to make that type of decision,” said Poles when asked about the thought of taking a quarterback with the No. 1 pick.

Fields, the 11th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, just completed his second season with the Bears as he was the full-time starter from the beginning to the end of the season. In his rookie year, he was the backup early before being elevated to the starting job by then head coach Matt Nagy.

The quarterback showed his playmaking ability in the rushing game as he picked up 1,143 yards on the ground – second-most in a season for a signal caller in NFL history – along with eight touchdowns.

Improvements are still needed in the passing game, where Fields completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 2,242 yards and 17 touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions.

“We had good conversations. I’m excited for the direction he’s going, and as I’ve mentioned before, he knows where he has to improve, I think he mentioned that the other day,” said Poles of Fields. “So we’re excited about his development and where he goes next.

“He’s showed ability to be impactful with his legs, there’s flashes with his arm, now if we can put that together, I think we have something really good.”

It looks like the Bears are going to give him the chance to become that despite having the No. 1 overall pick in the draft with the shot to select another quarterback.