Bears GM defends 2022 draft class: We’ll help Fields succeed

Posted: 07/05/2022 in NFL
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The Chicago Bears prioritized their defense in the 2022 NFL Draft despite having major needs on offense, but first-year general manager Ryan Poles remains confident his team will give quarterback Justin Fields everything necessary to thrive.

“We’re all-in on Justin,” Poles said Friday, according to ESPN’s Courtney Cronin. “I believe in Justin. Our coaches believe in Justin. Like I said from the beginning, we’re going to set him up to succeed.”

Chicago entered the 2022 draft with a major hole at wide receiver but didn’t draft a pass-catcher until the third round. The Bears – who didn’t have a first-round selection this year after trading up for Fields in the 2021 draft – instead addressed their secondary early, taking corner Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker in the second round.

The Bears were also expected to upgrade their offensive line after allowing a league-high 58 sacks last season. But Chicago waited until Day 3 to draft a lineman, selecting offensive tackle Braxton Jones in the fifth round.

“I would’ve done harm to this team if I just went with need and I didn’t put the best players available on this team,” Poles said, according to Chris Emma of 670 The Score.

Poles added he has “sky-high” belief in Fields.

“He is locked in, he is focused, and he wants to be great,” Poles said. “He’s a first-in, last-out guy, and he is pulling this team together. … His presence is showing up, and he’s starting to take over.”

The Bears, who lost veteran wideout Allen Robinson in free agency, are set to enter the 2022 season with Darnell MooneyByron Pringle, and third-round rookie Velus Jones as their primary wide receivers. Chicago’s offense also features receiver Equanimeous St. Brown – whom the team signed to a one-year deal – and tight end Cole Kmet.

Fields, the 11th overall pick in 2021, struggled as a rookie after taking over under center during the season. He finished the campaign with a 58.9% completion rate, passing for seven touchdowns against 10 interceptions through 12 appearances.

The 23-year-old, who battled multiple injuries throughout the season, also rushed for 420 yards and two touchdowns.

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