The Chicago Bears selected 11 players in the 2022 NFL Draft at a variety of positions. And while some of the kneejerk reactions to General Manager Ryan Poles’ first draft haven’t been kind, the rookie GM had a goal in mind… and he accomplished it.
“The common theme would be competition,” Poles told Jeff Joniak in a sitdown interview. “That was the goal, anytime you go through the draft, you want to bring competition to the roster.”
Poles did that by adding four offensive linemen, two safeties, a wide receiver, running back, edge rusher, a cornerback, and a punter. Every rookie selected by the Bears has a legitimate shot to earn reps in 2022 on offense, defense, or special teams.
“If you bring competition, it’s going to lift the talent level of your entire team,” Poles added.
Training camp headlined by OL, WR competitions
The biggest training camp competitions will take place at right guard and wide receiver. Third-round pick Velus Jones Jr. joins a wide receiver room with Darnell Mooney as the only established starter. And while the offensive linemen Poles selected this year all came from Day 3, there are plenty of examples throughout the league of mid-to-late-round offensive linemen who emerge as quality starters.
“We took what was available to us and we’re going to enhance this team,” Poles said. “This process of improving the roster isn’t over. There’s many different avenues that we’re going to continue to go after to improve both offense and defense, and special teams,” he said.
Bears fans hoping for established veterans at wide receiver and along the offensive line may get their wish. As Poles suggested, the process of adding players isn’t finished, and with rookie minicamp kicking off next week, he’ll get a better feel for what his biggest needs are.
More moves will come, that’s for sure. And they’ll be guided by the same principle of breeding competition at Bears training camp this summer.