General manager Ryan Poles made the offensive line the cornerstone at the beginning of the 2023 NFL Draft for the Chicago Bears. The Bears received wide receiver D.J. Moore when they traded the overall first pick in the draft to the Carolina Panthers. With his first pick of the draft, Poles chose offensive tackle, Darnell Wright. Poles spent day two of the draft shoring up deficiencies on defense, including at cornerback. Poles discussed the future of a Bears starter at the cornerback position in his press conference Friday night.
Ryan Poles gave the Chicago Bears defense help
The Bears needed help in the trenches before the draft. Poles landed three linemen out of the Bears’ first four selections. Two defensive tackles were taken Friday night. But the biggest move for the Bears on day two of the draft came when Poles traded up to the 56th pick to take Miami cornerback Tyrique Stevenson. Stevenson is the second cornerback Poles has taken in the second round in his first two seasons as the Bears’ general manager. The first was last year when he chose Kyler Gordon.
Poles said the Bears traded up to get Stevenson because he felt uneasy at the prospects the Miami cornerback would be available with the 61st pick. Poles sent the 61st pick and a fifth-rounder to the Jacksonville Jaguars to get his cornerback.
What’s interesting about the pick was Poles’ eagerness to land a cornerback with that pick. The biggest hole on the Bears’ roster after tonight is at defensive end. One has to wonder what Poles thinks about cornerback Jaylon Johnson’s prospects with the team after the 2023 season.
Johnson is eligible for a contract extension this offseason. He’s made it known he wants to get a deal done with the Bears before he becomes an unrestricted free agent next offseason. According to Brad Biggs with the Chicago Tribune, Poles spoke about his wishes for Johnson and the Bears.
“Jaylon, I hope he’s a guy that we get to keep here for a while too. I’m excited about that group.”
When talking about CB Tyrique Stevenson, #Bears GM Ryan Poles addressed the position as a whole and referenced Jaylon Johnson, who is entering the final year of his contract.
"Jaylon, I hope he's a guy that we get to keep here for a while too. I'm excited about that group."
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) April 29, 2023
We’ll see if the Bears can get a deal done with Johnson this offseason. Poles has been weary of re-signing homegrown talent that is on the cusp of being franchise material but doesn’t meet his staff’s measure of being elite. Roquan Smith and David Montgomery were major parts of the roster that never received friendly enough terms. Johnson has been the Bears’ best cornerback for the previous couple of seasons, but he hasn’t been an actual number-one lockdown corner in Chicago.
Part of Johnson’s problems in the secondary has been due to the defensive line not being good. Poles made sure to address that on Friday with every other pick than Stevenson.
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