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Bears General Manager Ryan Poles doesn't commit to Justin Fields

Exactly a year ago today, Bears General Manager Ryan Poles said he would have to be "absolutely blown away" to use the No. 1 overall pick on a quarterback. He didn't, trading the choice to the Panthers and sticking with Justin Fields.

The Bears have the No. 1 overall pick again, courtesy of the Panthers, and this time Poles said the team won't rush into a decision.

"I know there's going to be a lot of questions on Justin," Poles said, via a team transcript. "There's going to be a lot of questions on the draft process. We are in information gathering mode right now. We are going to turn every stone to make sure that we are going to make a sound decision for our organization.

"I did think Justin got better. I think he can lead this team. But at the same time, there's a unique situation where I have to look and our staff has to look at everything, and that's exactly what we're going to do, and that's the same with free agency. We're going to look at our free agents, given my personnel staff, do evaluations, and again, make the best decision we can for this organization to take the next step."

The Bears, then with Ryan Pace as General Manager and Matt Nagy as head coach, selected Fields with the 11th overall pick in 2021.

In 13 games this season, he threw for 2,562 yards with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions and ran for 657 yards and four touchdowns. The Bears went 5-8 in his starts.

"We love where Justin is right now," Bears coach Matt Eberflus said. "He's done a good job growing. In the interceptions, keeping those down, the sack totals, he's doing a good job with that, having his eyes down the field. He's done a wonderful job with that, being able to deliver some strikes down there, and he'll continue to grow as we grow as a football team."

The Bears passed on C.J. Stroud last spring. Will they pass on USC's Caleb Williams and North Carolina’s Drake Maye this spring?

"What we're going to do is do what's best for the organization," Poles said. "I'm sure there's going to be similar situations in terms of the trade back, and I've got to weigh all of those things to see what's going to help our team take the next step."