INDIANAPOLIS – In what is one of the most important offseasons in recent years, Matt Eberflus will play a big part in the Bears’ evaluations of players ahead of the 2023 campaign.

That includes this weekend, where the head coach will be in lockstep with general manager Ryan Poles as the team looks at prospects for their eight draft picks.

That includes the No. 1 overall selection, which the Bears may or may not keep ahead of April’s draft.

“This is year two, so we’ve got a year under our belt. The process, the evaluation, us coming together, working together on that and coming to a good decision,” said Eberflus in Indianapolis when asked about his confidence in Poles and his staff for the draft. “That’s what we did last year, and we feel really good about our draft class last year. I know we didn’t have the resources that we have this year in free agency, and that’s another big piece of it.”

Eberflus will get the chance to share his input on who to select, and it’s safe to say that his 4-3 defense will be getting some help this offseason. A defensive lineman or outside linebacker figures to be the Bears’ top priority wherever their first round selection ends up being, and more picks could be used to fill a number of holes on defense.

In Eberflus’ first season, the Bears defense struggled with inexperience players and young players along with the trade of Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn. The defense was last in the NFL in points allowed per game (27.2) and yardage (375.9).

So what is the head coach looking for when it comes to players for his team, especially on the defensive side of the ball?

“That comes down to the No. 1 thing, the love of football. They have to love the game,” said Eberflus when asked about what he’s looking for from prospects during the combine and other workouts before the draft. “So how do they show that? It’s what they show on tape. We’re going to evaluate the numbers first. It doesn’t matter in free agency or draft, we evaluate that.

“The passion that they have. The “competes” on the field are the most important thing. Then we’ve got to figure out, culturally, does he fit as a person, as a teammate, and all those things.

“But No. 1, he’s got to have love for the game.”