With great power comes great responsibility. Or something like that.
When he met the media last week, Ryan Poles left the door open just a tiny crack that he may use the first overall pick on a quarterback. Poles said he would have to be “absolutely blown away” in order to consider the position. That comment showed support for Justin Fields but also made it clear Poles is going to do his due diligence.
It wasn’t all that long ago – OK, so maybe it was for you, but not me – that the Bears refused to even consider taking a quarterback because they had Rex Grossman. Even after Aaron Rodgers sought the team out and impressed them in an interview, they still would not consider it, according to former Bears director of college scouting Greg Gabriel.
Grossman had just finished his second season and played in just four games. The Bears couldn’t have been *that* in love with him; he wasn’t even their first pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. Ultimately, refusing to consider another option is what doomed Jerry Angelo and company.
Poles has to make sure that doesn’t happen to him.
There is no question that Fields emerged as an explosive playmaker during the 2022 season. There’s also no question that he still needs a lot of work in the passing game; the Bears had one of the worst passing attacks of the last 20 years. That doesn’t happen if the quarterback isn’t at least part of the problem.
Generally, the quarterbacks in this year’s draft aren’t considered special prospects, certainly not like Fields was coming out. But Rodgers wasn’t considered special, and neither was Patrick Mahomes. Poles must do his homework and if there is a player he likes better than Fields, he has to have the guts to pull the trigger.
Having the first pick comes with a great deal of risk. The Bears certainly hope Fields will take the next step in the passing game and his work ethic strongly suggested he will once they put even a little effort into protecting him and surrounding him with playmakers.
The most likely scenario seems to be that the Bears will stick with Fields and see what he can do once he is surrounded with more talent. They can likely trade out of the first pick and net what will surely be a premium pick in 2024. IF Fields doesn’t work out next season, they will be positioned to replace him in that draft.
Time will tell what Poles thinks of these quarterbacks compared to Fields, but the fact that the GM is willing to do his homework is a sign that he realizes the importance of getting the position right.