LAKE FOREST – Going into the selections, few knew what to expect from the Bears’ new general manager for a number of reasons.
To start, Ryan Poles was making the final call on selections for the first time in his NFL career, so he’s just beginning to develop his style when it comes to picks. With the Bears having so many needs on their roster, the general manager could have gone a number of different ways with the selections over the course of two days.
Also, the team only had six picks, and it was hard to tell how the Bears would increase the number of players coming to the franchise.
At the conclusion of the selections, those questions were answered, and some of the people around Poles will change moving forward in 2022.
The team ended up with 11 total picks for the weekend thanks to a flurry of trades on Saturday before the final four rounds. Poles would choose six offensive players, choosing just one wide receiver (Velus Jones Jr. – 3rd Round) and running back (Trestan Ebner – 6th Round) while picking up four offensive linemen.
He even picked up a punter – Trenton Gill from NC State – in the seventh round.
Yet the general manager used his two highest picks in the second round to select defenders who’ll have the chance to start at open spots: Cornerback Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker. He also picked defensive end Dominique Robinson (5th Round) and safety Elijah Hicks (7th Round).
It’s not bad for Poles when it comes to the volume of selections considering that he had just a half-dozen starting out on Thursday evening.
“You could definitely feel the excitement. More opportunities to do that,” said Poles of the reaction of the team’s draft staff to having more picks on the final day. “We had a cool deal this morning where for what the board was set. I asked the guys to walk in front of the board with a notepad and write down three guys that they’re absolutely convicted about. We put stars on all their tags. We ended up with — the majority of them were those guys because that’s who we look for. Any time someone has conviction about something, it means something they’ve spent a lot of time. There’s no wavering.
“That was important. That’s part of the reason why I hope you all enjoy them coming down to speak with you because it gives you the information. They spent so much time on the road, in those schools. It means a lot when you get a player drafted that you spent a lot of time with.”
Poles will get the chance to see all of those selections on the field this weekend as the newly drafted players along with undrafted free agents take part in rookie minicamp Friday through Sunday. Matt Eberflus will take the reigns for that, but he did enjoy the chance to check out the draft process as the head coach for the first time in his 30-year coaching career.
“It was great. It was very enjoyable. I really enjoyed talking to the guys once they got picked. That was really enjoyable,” said Eberflus. “We had some good conversations with those guys. How exciting it is for their families. I mean, you’re changing guys’ futures and those guys have worked hard to get to this point, and, man, you could hear their families in the background sometimes, and that was a thrill really to hear that.”
While these new players come into the team, a number of changes have come to the team’s front office this last week.
On Tuesday, Jeff King and Trey Koziol were named the team’s co-players of personnel as Poles surrounds himself with new leadership. King spent the last two seasons as the team’s director of pro scouting while Koziol, a native of Hinsdale, returns to Chicago after working in Kansas City’s front office from 2013-2021.
He was the assistant director of college scouting in 2021 and worked with Poles with the Chiefs.
Per numerous reports, including Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears have let go director of college scouting Chris Sadowski, college scouting coordinator Bobby Macedo along with scout Chris Prescott.