You’d be hard-pressed to find a topic discussed more than the Chicago Bears wide receivers this offseason. General manager Ryan Poles’ decision to shop at the receiver thrift store in free agency and avoid pass-catchers in the second round of the NFL Draft sparked criticism that has no end date. His strategy is described in scandalous ways; Maybe he doesn’t believe in quarterback Justin Fields and isn’t ready to invest in him.
Poles has done his best to dismiss these baseless claims, but there’s little he can do to stop the tsunami of negativity until the players he’s acquired step on the field and prove their worth.
And it’s not like Poles hasn’t done anything at receiver. He signed Byron Pringle, Equanimeous St. Brown, Tajae Sharpe and Dante Pettis. Superstars? No. Talented players with upside? Sure.
Poles drafted Velus Jones Jr. in the third round. Was Jones a first-round talent who slid? No. Does he bring a resume of dominant production to the NFL? Also, no. But he’s a 4.3-guy with rare after-the-catch ability. There’s a reason he’s been compared to Deebo Samuel, even if that’s an aggressive suggestion.
Perhaps there’s another receiver who has a chance to emerge as a viable target for Fields in 2022 that Poles is counting on breaking out: last year’s sixth-round pick, Dazz Newsome.