The Chicago Bears came away with the potential final piece of their offensive line taking University of Tennessee tackle Darnell Wright in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft but they still have a glaring need for some reinforcements along the defensive line.
To get some, Bears general manager Ryan Poles is willing to be mobile.
Bears GM on Day 2 of NFL Draft: ‘We Might Have to Maneuver’
“I think that’s going to play into, based on the numbers that we have, we feel confident that there’s going to be opportunity there,” Poles told reporters from Halas Hall. “We might have to maneuver a little bit and see what we can do. And I’ve seen that before where you try to move and you strike out once the pairing doesn’t make sense. And the guy or guys fall to you which is always a good experience too. But, yeah, we might have to move a little bit and see what happens. But I feel good about it.”
Players such as Keion White of Georgia Tech or Isaiah Foskey of Notre Dame would seem to be nice fits. LSU’s BJ Ojulari is undersized but the Bears showed interest in Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith who ultimately wound up with the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 30.
Keion White (#6) is an explosive inside/outside defensive lineman. He has some excellent get-offs on tape and can be a disruptive pass rusher lined up from anywhere. pic.twitter.com/IxuxnKO5CE
— PJ Moran (@PJonDraft) April 26, 2023
The Bears’ next slot is not until pick No. 53.
That is a long time to wait – 22 selections – with such a glaring need and a run on the position happening near the tail end of Round 1.
Poles pulled off a trade back, dropping just one spot after swapping picks with the Philadelphia Eagles and picking up a 2024 first-round pick in the process. He noted during his availability that other teams were looking to trade up to No. 9. But, perhaps in a show of just how highly he thought of Wright, Poles also indicated he was uncomfortable with just how far they would have to fall back in that or any other potential deals, so Wright it was with the 10th pick.
Ryan Poles Avoided Common Issue
To that point, ESPN NFL insider Dan Graziano reported that, during his conversations with league personnel, multiple teams had fewer first-round grades than he is used to hearing.
“Before the draft, I like to ask teams how many first-round grades have you given out this year, how many guys in your first round,” Graziano said on ESPN’s ‘Get Up’ on April 28. “This year we were hearing some 10s, and 11s, and 12s.”
Now, though, Poles will have to get creative to fill at least one more key need.
Day 2 should bring plenty of surprises with the Bears also possessing picks Nos. 61 and 64. Perhaps Poles packages two or all three of those to make a move up for a coveted prospect.
Darnell Wright Sends Message to Justin Fields
Wright came across as very thoughtful in his answers but he made no bones about how confident he is in his ability.
“You see on tape, I’m big and I’m strong, Wright told reporters in his first press conference via Zoom. “But I don’t think people realize, once they really get to see some more of me, they’ll see how athletic I am. I can play on both sides if needed…I can play probably anywhere on the line. My athleticism will speak for itself, and I just want to get better and better with my technique.”
But his best line was about quarterback Justin Fields.
Fields tied for the league lead in sacks taken last season with 55 and has taken 91 sacks over his first two seasons.
“That’s my only plan.,” Wright said. “That’s what I’m there for…to keep him clean,” he said. “Amazing, amazing quarterback. And the things he does, we’re going to have a great team….protecting him, that’s my job.”