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Halas Intrigue Bears Report: Draft day is here

Halas Intrigue Bears Report
The Bears don’t have a first-round pick in this weekend’s NFL Draft, but that doesn’t mean general manager Ryan Poles isn’t working to revamp the team. TV coverage starts at 7 p.m. Thursday (ESPN, NFL Network), 6 p.m. Friday (ESPN, NFL Network), and 11 a.m. Saturday (ESPN, NFL Network). Read the latest coverage and analysis below.

1. A new philosophy
As Ryan Poles heads into his first draft as the Bears’ general manager Thursday, he’s thinking big — as in the big picture. There’s no urgency to fill holes on a team that’s almost certainly a year or more away from competing.
Poles is preaching discipline when it comes to prioritizing his long-term plan for the Bears. That was evident in the restraint he showed in free agency, as well as in his apparent lack of interest in trading for a receiver such as the 49ers’ Deebo Samuel. If Poles gets this draft right, he can find his own version of Samuel at a fraction of the cost and his grand ideas in play for 2023 and beyond.
‘‘I truly believe in homegrown talent,’’ Poles said. ‘‘I truly believe in drafting the right players and developing them here, and that will help us in the long run.
‘‘It’s being disciplined in both keeping draft capital to draft the right players and develop them, as well as the financial commitment. There’s consequences for all of those actions.’’
GM Ryan Poles brings fresh approach to Bears heading into first NFL Draft
2. Pick a need, any need
Unless an incredible talent drops to the Bears unexpectedly, GM Ryan Poles needs to triage the various emergencies at Halas Hall. He can’t assume he’ll find long-term starters beyond those first three selections.
As Poles surveyed the deficiencies of his roster again during voluntary minicamp, the three that should have stood out are cornerback, offensive line and wide receiver.
The Bears went into last season with an indefensible plan at cornerback in which Jaylon Johnson was the only sure thing. The rest were mostly practice-squad-level players, and, unsurprisingly, the Bears allowed an NFL-worst 103.3 opponent passer rating.
That situation isn’t any better now. Poles signed former Ravens depth piece Tavon Young (seven starts last season) and recent Rams and Bills practice-squad player Greg Stroman to minimal contracts.
While the Bears are obviously prioritizing their future and viewing this as a transition season, cornerback is their most urgent issue.
Bears’ most urgent NFL Draft need: Finding help at CB for Jaylon Johnson
3. QBs? What QBs?
Someone should mail a fruit basket to former Bears general manager Ryan Pace in Atlanta.
While Pace left new GM Ryan Poles a teardown-worthy roster, he also gave him a gift. Pace’s decision last year to trade up to draft Ohio State’s Justin Fields cost the Bears their first-round picks last year and Thursday, but it yielded something for them to dream about at quarterback. Fields still needs developing, but he gives the Bears hope.
Waiting until this year to draft a passer would have been a disaster. There likely will be two or three quarterbacks drafted in the first round, but none — not Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, Liberty’s Malik Willis or Ole Miss’ Matt Corral — is as good as any of the five that went in Round 1 last year.
This class, which also features North Carolina’s Sam Howell and Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, has the worst high end in a decade, if not a generation.
‘‘I can’t explain that at all,’’ Poles said. ‘‘I think you get in different cycles and different years, certain strengths and weaknesses.’’
4. In other news
5. From the podcast
Patrick Finley, Jason Lieser and Mark Potash break down what new GM Ryan Poles said about the draft and whether the Bears will make any surprising moves in Round 2 or later. LISTEN HERE.
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