Now that Bears GM Ryan Poles is done making the rounds to White Sox, Cubs, Blackhawks and Bulls games, it’s time to show what he can do on his own playing field.
That would be the draft room and on the hotline on draft day.
Poles faces real issues in this draft and without question the greatest is lack of picks, and the second biggest is the huge gap between pick No. 71 in Round 3 and the Pick No. 148 in Round 5.
The trade to move up last year for Justin Fields not only deprived the Bears of their first-round pick, but also a fourth-rounder. The second-rounder acquired for Khalil Mack makes up somewhat for the lack of a first-rounder, but that hole between No. 71 and 148 is devastating.
To keep from seeing players fly off the board as they sit around with their hands in their pockets and from failing to fill enough roster holes, the ideal move for Poles would be to trade down. Trading up makes absolutely no sense because he’d be doing it to plug one hole while preventing the possibility of filling a few others.
But who to trade with is the issue. It takes a willing partner. That team needs to have its eye on a particular player they could get with one of the picks the Bears have at 39, 48 or 71.
Considering the Bears have no first-rounder, their 39th pick is their money guy. This means they could deal one of those next two picks in an attempt to land more picks later, either in Round 4 or even in Round 3.
This would be a way to address the gap
To do it requires finding teams with the most available picks and less need for the middle-round guys on Day 3 in Round 4 or Day 2 in Round 3.
It’s not hard to figure out who the targets need to be for those possible trades.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Ryan Poles’ old team might be willing or might not. It’s unlikely there are hard feelings between the and their old employee as Poles was heartily recommended by the organization. All of this aside, the Chiefs simply have plenty of picks they could offer the Bears in attempt to move up in a few different places. If Poles played his cards right, by moving down he might even come out with two or even three extra picks.
The Chiefs could target one of the Bears’ Round 2 picks because they have both 50 and 62 in Round 2, and they also have pick No. 94 in Round 3 and 103 as a special compensatory pick at the bottom of Round 3.
The Chiefs also have the ability to close that fourth-round hole because they have picks 121 and 135 in Round 4.
Kansas City is a contender and has a few needs it’s likely to address at the end of Round 1 with picks. The Chiefs can really get immediate fixes to continue their run of AFC title game appearances by trading up. It all makes sense if they deal with the Bears.
2. Baltimore Ravens
There is a slight connection to the Bears here in that assistant GM Ian Cunningham started out with Baltimore before he went to the Eagles, but the real reason the Ravens would be a solid target for the Bears to trade down with is the large number of extra picks Baltimore possesses.
Like KC, the Ravens could be labeled a contender with just a few good players added because they still have their running quarterback and a strong defense.
The Ravens have two third-round picks at 76 and 100, and they are the kings of the fourth round at 110, 119, 139 and 141. The Bears, remember, have no fourth-round picks. This would be an easy match to fill that big gap between early third round at 71 and early Round 5 at 148.
3. Houston Texans
The Texans are in the same rebuilding mode and less likely to be dealing up than the other two teams mentioned, but they also have so many picks early in rounds that they could be a team worth dealing with on draft day.
Houston has pick No. 68 and 80 in Round 3, then 107 and 108 in Round 4. If the Texans wanted to move up in Round 3 to 71, it might not be too difficult to persuade the Bears to take their 80th pick and then talk about those back-to-back fourth-rounders or one of them and a fifth-rounder.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars have plenty of picks but the problem in making deals with them is similar to what it is with Houston, except to the extreme.
Scroll to Continue
The Jaguars have enough picks early in rounds that they may not even want to trade with anyone, but if they really felt the need to move up from their 65th and 70th picks in Round 3 for a particular player at 48 in Round 2, the Bears would probably be willing to listen. Taking those two picks wouldn’t plug the hole for the Bears between 71 and 148, but no one would care about that hole if they came away with two extra third-round picks.
The Jaguars also have the 106th pick right at the start in Round 4, which would nicely plug the Bears gap.
5. Atlanta Falcons
It wasn’t enough for Ryan Pace to sign away half the Bears bench, but now he would trade for their picks? Well, Pace’s new team could actually prove useful for the Bears and it wouldn’t necessarily be to plug a fourth-round gap. They could get extra picks in general if the Falcons had someone in particular targeted at No. 39 or even at No. 48. Atlanta has both the 43rd and 58th picks in Round 2 to offer the Bears a trade back. If it required another pick to sweeten the deal, the Falcons also have 114 in Round 4 and that would be an ideal move for the Bears.
6. New York Jets
The Jets are holding plenty of early draft cards this year and it would probably not be difficult for them to hold another one in Round 2 at 48 if they offered the Bears No. 65 in Round 2 and a slew of middle round picks they have. They own 111 and 117 in Round 4 and 146 in Round 5.
7. Philadelphia Eagles
Cunningham’s old team could very easily plug the draft gap from 71 to 148 for the Bears because they own picks 83 and 101 in the third round. Would they take 71 to give he Bears 83 and 101? Whatever they would do, you can bet GM Howie Roseman would find a way to come out on top. He usually does.
8. Cleveland Browns
If the Browns want a specific lineman or receiver to complement Deshaun Watson and think they could land him at 71, they own the 78th pick in Round 3, and then 99th pick at the end of Round 3.
9. San Francisco 49ers
With picks twice at the end of Round 3 at 93 and 105, and the 135th pick in Round 4, the 49ers could solve the gap problem the Bears have and come away with the 71st pick.
10. Denver Broncos
Denver doesn’t have a Round 2 pick but if it wanted back in at No. 48 the Broncos do have 75 and 96 in Round 3 and some later picks to offer.
Twitter: [email protected]