The Ryan Poles era in Chicago is off to a steaming hot start. He adopted a team with a franchise quarterback surrounded by steaming hot garbage, and turned chicken shit into Chicken Cordon Bleu in his first draft at the helm. Not only did he address needs in the trenches with 40 percent of his picks this year, he secured a second first-round and second fourth-round pick for 2024 as well as a second, second-round pick for 2025. The Bears are in far better shape today than they were entering the ’23 draft with the first-overall pick, and have the potential to improve exponentially over the next two offseasons as well.
Bears Draft Grade: A
Day one of Poles’ first draft as a GM was defined by two trade backs. One executed with the Panthers weeks in advance, and one with the Eagles on the day of. Eventually, the Bears landed on their first selection of the 2023 festivities with Darnell Wright at No. 10 overall.
Wright was a staple of the draft guide this year. In hindsight, he was absolutely snubbed from the All-Slate Team, but he steadily remained roughly 10 spots ahead of consensus for us and never fell below the top-20. His landing in the top-10 was obviously a massive win for him, but even more so for the Bears. Wright is slotted currently as the starting right tackle on the depth chart, and brings an element of ferocity to the offensive trenches that no other day-one prospects did. He played every position but center at Tennessee and has a ton of untapped potential left in him. Expect Darnell Wright to be around to and through the Bears road to a championship window.
The second selection of their draft, No. 22 overall, was spent on the opposing trench. Gervon Dexter Sr. from Florida is a bad man who will be a force a competition for the starting job at training camp. At six-foot-six and over 300 pounds, Dexter’s five career sacks over three years in the SEC are something the Bears will be counting on to translate, and his mentality as a member of the Gators’ “Wild Dogs” DL group is a great addition to the locker room.
With two second-round picks, and the lines addressed, Poles & Co. went and got a guy that they loved in Tyrique Stevenson. CB12 and prospect 71 here, his selection at 56th overall was a tad of a reach, but cornerback was a position of need and if Stevenson was their guy, then the Bears walked away from round two feeling like big winners.
Day two concluded with another beastly selection for the Bears defensive line. With the 64th-overall pick, they nabbed a combine riser from South Carolina, Zacch Pickens. Dexter and Pickens are both labeled as depth adds on the roster today, but they will be hell raisers in camp. Be fully prepared to see each of them start games for Chicago this season, and if nothing else, make significant contributions in rotation.
Through two days of the draft, the Bears added a starting right tackle, two interior defensive lineman, and a corner who they had heart eyes for. A master class in responsible drafting was put on display, and then Poles cooked on day three.
Texas running back Roschon Johnson (pick 115), Cincinnati wideout Tyler Scott (pick 133), Oregon Linebacker Noah Sewell (pick 148), and Minnesota corner Terrell Smith (pick 165) stacked between the fourth and fifth round was the cleanest run of picks that any team executed all week.
Johnson adds thunder to the D’Onta Foreman/Khalil Herbert lighting; Scott adds a wild vertical speed element to the offense which Justin Fields will surely enjoy; Sewell will be a student of the Tremaine Edmunds & T.J. Edwards Linebacking School; and Smith is CB3 of the program on day one.
With bountiful picks and a clear, concise plan, the Bears executed the 2023 draft to near perfection. Ryan Poles has a bright future ahead of him in Chicago, and the bears are immediately on the road to contention.