Chicago Bears

Anonymous NFL execs offer criticism of Chicago Bears’ 2023 NFL Draft plan

The Athletic’s Mike Sando published his annual post-NFL Draft review, which features anonymous NFL executives offering their takes on every team’s draft and offseason performances. And when it came to the Chicago Bears, the opinions were layered with skepticism.

“If they are going to spend this year evaluating Justin Fields to see if they are going to be going up for a quarterback next year, you’ve got to give him every chance,” an executive told Sando. “Getting a solid tackle is the way to go. But when you turn Roquan Smith into Gervon Dexter and get Tyrique Stevenson with one of the Carolina picks, is that going to get us fired up?”

It’s amazing how NFL fans can be warned not to grade an NFL draft class until three years have passed, while executives — who get paid to make personnel decisions — are quick to pass judgment on second-round players one week after the 2023 draft concludes.

To be fair, we have no idea which NFL executive said these things. They’re anonymous comments. Perhaps it isn’t a general manager, or it could be a GM who’s terrible at their job. I wouldn’t bet on this anonymous GM having many wins on their resume if this is how they evaluate a draft class.

Maybe that’s my Chicago Bears defense mechanism kicking in. It’s frustrating to read such negative comments about two second-round defenders amid a cluster of Day-2 players who were all similarly ranked. Maybe Gervon Dexter and Tyrique Stevenson didn’t rank high on this executive’s draft board. But, again, maybe he’s terrible at his job. Remember: Mike Tannenbaum was once an NFL general manager.

“Maybe these guys are going to be good,” the anonymous executive said. “My guess is they are going to be, at best, solid starters who play four years and hit free agency.”

I don’t think the Bears will second-guess their 2023 NFL draft class if their pair of second-round picks develop into solid starters for the next four years. That’s a huge win. Solid starters are hard to find. If Dexter and Stevenson become that, then Chicago will win a lot of games.

The Bears’ 2023 draft strategy isn’t hard to figure out. Poles targeted players who blend size, length, athleticism, and character. College production wasn’t a priority, and while there’s a valid argument that production should rank near the top of a scouting report’s must-haves, it isn’t a be-all, end-all.

Let’s not forget another critical member of the Bears’ 2023 draft class: DJ Moore. His name wasn’t called on draft weekend, but he must be factored with Darnell Wright when reviewing Chicago’s first-round results. He is an elite player; an incredible playmaker in the prime of his career who will be the go-to-guy for Justin Fields in 2023 and beyond. Moore, alone, would’ve made the Chicago Bears’ first round a success. When paired with Wright, Poles flipped one pick into two high-level players at the team’s weakest positions entering the offseason.

That’s. A. Massive. Win.

Trust the process. It’s a phrase that applies to all rebuilding teams in every sport. We’re barely one year into Ryan Poles’ methodology, and it has Chicago Bears fans excited, regardless of what nameless executives think.

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