5 takeaways from the Bears’ 2023 NFL draft

The 2023 NFL draft has concluded, and the Chicago Bears welcomed 10 new members to their roster. For general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus, it marks the close to their second draft with Chicago.

It’s hard to evaluate this rookie group considering they’ve yet to even step on a practice field yet alone the playing field. But the Bears added some impact players in offensive tackle Darnell Wright, defensive tackles Gervon Dexter and Zacch Pickens, as well as cornerback Tyrique Stevenson. There are also some potential late-round gems in this draft class, including running back Roschon Johnson and wide receiver Tyler Scott.

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From Poles having a type to building around quarterback Justin Fields, here are our takeaways following the Bears’ 2023 NFL draft:

The Bears prioritized building around Justin Fields

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One of the biggest takeaways of the offseason has been the Bears’ commitment to quarterback Justin Fields, where they’ve been building around him ahead of a pivotal third season. That continued in the NFL draft, where Chicago used its first selection to shore up a glaring hole at right tackle with Darnell Wright at No. 10. Then on Day 3, Poles added a couple of weapons in potential steals running back Roschon Johnson and wide receiver Tyler Scott, who possess big-play potential and could develop into starters down the road.


All of Chicago's draft picks had elite RAS scores

When looking at this new crop of Bears rookies, it’s clear that Poles has a type — elite athletes. Every player Chicago drafted had a Relative Athletic Score (RAS) above 8.00. RAS was created by Kent Lee Platte and measures a player’s athletic testing to their size as well as historically. Each individual measurement is graded on a scale of 0-10 (with 10 being the highest), where each prospect matches up to those of the same position throughout history. The Bears had an average RAS score of 8.93.

The Bears still have a glaring hole at edge rusher

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While the Bears upgraded the interior of the defensive line, they didn’t draft an edge rusher with one of their 10 picks — simply because the board didn’t fall their way. Poles didn’t overreach – much like free agency – on a player, instead getting great value out of his picks. With that said, edge rusher remains the biggest concern on this roster heading into the next phase of the offseason. Look for them to add another veteran in free agency to pair with DeMarcus Walker, Rasheem Green, Trevis Gipson and Dominique Robinson.

Chicago in "good shape" at center

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Many expected Chicago to use one of their draft picks on a center, especially given it was a deep class. But the Bears only drafted one offensive lineman in the draft — top pick Darnell Wright in the first round. Poles was asked about whether the Bears would look to add depth and youth in the future, but he believes the team is in “good shape” at center with veterans Cody Whitehair and Lucas Patrick heading into the 2023 season. Whitehair last played center in 2020, and injuries derailed Patrick’s opportunity to play center last season.


The Bears got better

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When you look at where this roster was when Poles took over last January, it was a mess. Now, with two drafts in the books, we’re starting to get a glimpse of the kind of team Poles wants to build. The biggest takeaway from the draft was that the Bears got a lot better as a team. Whether that was landing their starting right tackle in Darnell Wright, shoring up the defensive line with Gervon Dexter, Zacch Pickens and Travis Bell, adding cornerback Tyrique Stevenson or finding great value on Day 3 with running back Roschon Johnson, wide receiver Tyler Scott, cornerback Terell Smith and safety Kendall Williamson. Not to mention, they added wide receiver DJ Moore, who for all intents and purposes is part of this 2023 class. It was a sneaky good draft for Poles, who is positioning the Bears to take the NFC North and never give it back.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire