Bernstein: Ryan Poles, Bears play it safe


(670 The Score) I wanted Jalen Carter, but Ryan Poles didn't. He's the general manager of the Bears, though, and I'm here writing this.

In the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday evening, Poles swapped one spot back to No. 10 overall in a trade with the Eagles, cadging merely a 2024 fourth-rounder for the chance to sleep a bit easier, perhaps. Instead of the tantalizingly high ceiling of a potentially generational game-wrecker of a defensive tackle, he and the Bears instead took the similarly high floor of the plug-and-play right tackle in Darnell Wright from Tennessee.

It puts Poles in the awkward position of having to explain as much why he passed on Carter as why he targeted Wright ahead of all of the other tackles after Paris Johnson Jr. – notably Peter Skoronski and Broderick Jones – particularly due to all that coach Matt Eberflus has said publicly about the critical value of the three-technique to this specific defense. Remember that the Bears' ill-fated signing of Larry Ogunjobi in 2022 was initially sold to us with that prioritization, so the clear decision to avoid Carter means the downside risk was unappetizing enough.

It's fine, probably. Pretty much exactly that.

There are plenty more picks to be made and more trades to consider, but this does leave a feeling of air slowly being let out of a balloon, from the moment Lovie Smith's Texans came back to hand Poles the top overall selection, which became DJ Moore and much more.

Sexy doesn't necessarily win Super Bowls, however, and Poles has been up front about his goals to make intelligent decisions that build the roster in the right direction over time.

Wright at right means the Bears must really like Braxton Jones at left, betting that with added functional strength the overachieving rookie starter can build off a season that saw him not miss a snap.

We can't be mad at Poles at this point, not looking at a roster with needs all over the place and understanding that the red flags waving around Carter are for legitimate reasons.

The Bears took a guy who’s very likely very good, whose job it is to protect someone who could be great.

It's all better than watching the White Sox.

Dan Bernstein is the co-host of the Bernstein & Holmes Show on middays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.

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