The Chicago Bears are done with one of the most important parts of their offseason, with the 2023 NFL Draft having come and gone. The NFC outfit was always going to be of particular interest, having initially owned the No. 1 overall pick before trading it to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for quite the haul.
The draft saw Chicago add 10 new players to their roster and marked the second such selection process for general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus. While the Philadelphia Eagles are thought to have won the draft, the Bears have attracted plenty of plaudits too, having made a number of shrewd moves.
It’s always difficult to assess rookies at such a juncture as they would only just be getting into practice, but it’s hard to imagine the Bears’ new crop of players going into 2023 and not making an impact.
Chicago made some great additions, having acquired offensive tackle Darnell Wright, as well as some defensive talents in cornerback Tyrique Stevenson and defensive tackles Gervon Dexter and Zacch Pickens.
As the preseason starts with possibly one of the most exciting parts about it, which is deciding on new players and position openings, teams start to create a new environment for their fans and sportsbooks begging their study in new odds and possibilities for the season to come.
It’s going to be an intriguing 2023/24 season for Bears fans, who should be feeling confident following the moves engineered by Poles. They’re likely already headed to online US betting sites to lock in some odds on Bears futures, given the significant upgrade made to the roster. The Bears are currently +350 to win the NFC North.
Perhaps the most glaring aspect of Chicago’s offseason is the team’s commitment to quarterback Justin Fields. While the QB improved by leaps and bounds last season, there were rumors he could be traded so the Bears could draft another signal-caller at No. 1. The speculation over Fields’ future was put to bed when the Bears traded their pick to the Panthers, who made Bryce Young the first overall pick of the draft.
The Bears reiterated their commitment to Fields by selecting Wright at No. 10. They also brought in a few other players in the mid-rounds who they might feel fortunate to have gotten that far, with running back Roschon Johnson and wide receiver Tyler Scott also coming in bearing loads of potential.
It’s also worth noting that all of the players drafted by the Bears had a Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 8.00 or higher. The module, created by Kent Lee Platte, grades a player’s athletic testing by their size, matching it against history.
Each measurement is graded on a scale of 1-10, with all prospects getting matched up to players in their position on a historical basis. The 10 rookies Chicago brought in had an overall average RAS score of 8.93.
On a negative note, there’s still a lot to be desired at a certain position. The Bears made improvements to their interior defensive line but failed to bring in an edge rusher, though it was not for the want of trying as the board simply did not go their way.
The position remains a huge concern for the team, but they are expected to add one in free agency, given that there are some worthwhile veterans still available.
Chicago was expected to use one of their picks on a center. However, Wright was the only offensive lineman they ended up drafting. Poles insists the Bears are fine at center with veterans Cody Whitehair and Lucas Patrick, neither of whom played there last season. Whitehair hasn’t played in the position since 2020 while Patrick had challenges with injuries last season.
All in all, the Bears have improved remarkably, with Poles doing a great job both in free agency and the draft. The GM is stamping his identity on the team and we’re beginning to understand just how he wants the players to execute.
The Bears are headed into 2023 looking a whole lot better than they did last season. Poles has gotten an impressive right tackle in Wright and has also strengthened the defensive line while also bringing in a top CB.
He also found great value in the third round of the draft and there’s already a lot of excitement over Johnson and Scott.
The Bears also added WR DJ Moore as part of their trade with Carolina. So it’s been quite a positive offseason for Poles and company.