Listening to the Score this AM and they are discussing all of the positions of need so I'll list some out. Let's just say, Poles better be ready to work.
- 3 new OL starters
- 1-2* Linebackers
- 4 starting defensive lineman
Wide Receivers: It's pretty simple. Bears do not have a WR1. Mooney and Claypool I think project as WR2/3 and can be fine pieces, but these guys are basically question marks at this point. OFC can't forget about Velus Jones. He's probably not going anywhere and can be WR4 I guess. He has looked better as of late. The rest of the WRs? Who cares, any low level FA signings could replace Pringle/ESB/Harry. Personally, I like a trade down scenario where Bears pick up an extra first and use it on JSN. Fuck the injury - he has the best potential to become a bonafide WR1 in this draft imo. Bears desperatly need a Chase/Diggs/Hill/Jefferson type target.
Offensive Line: 3 new starters is being generous. It could be as much as 5, but that's impossible. Think the Bears have to roll with Braxton/Jenkins as starters going into the season. Need to replace RT, C and LG with an emphasis on C/RT. I go back and force on Whitehair. He's serviceable, but an upgrade would be nice. Think Poles can attack at least two new starters (C/LG) in FA and look to the draft for a Tackle. A Skoronski/Johnson draft pick in a trade down with JSN later on sounds good to me.
Linebackers: Probably the lowest level 'need.' I think Sanborn showed enough the Bears will bring him back as a starter. I don't think Adams or Morrow have shown anything. This position can probably be filled with a lower draft pick.
Defensive line: I don't know where to start. Need 4 starters basically. Robinson/Jones/Gipson are just rotational guys. Pace will have to hit this hard in FA to give him some flexibility in the draft. Yeah, Jalen Carter sounds great to anchor the line, but there's just too many needs on offense and since Poles basically ignored that side of the ball last year, it needs to be his main focus come draft.
RB: Monty is a FA. They could bring him back with the amount of cap space available assuming he's willing to play ball on a team friendly deal. I think he's probably seeking $10M (just a hunch) which I think Poles can do better in FA or draft a guy easily enough. Herbert is good, but horribly in pass pro. Bears need some sort of duo.
Seems like a daunting task that Poles has for himself. But being optimistic - with the Bears cap situation I don't think it's unreasonable for them to sign 4-5 starters in FA. Couple OL, couple DL, Linebacker or RB and then 8 draft picks (possibly more with a trade down). Currently have a first, second, third, 2 fourths, two fifths and a seventh. If he can hit on 3 starters in the draft at positions of need, that'll be a start.