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Ryan Poles explains how Bears plan to attack different possibilities with No. 9 overall pick

Ryan Poles explains how Bears plan to attack different possibilities with No. 9 overall pick originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

ORLANDO -- While the decision at quarterback has sucked up all the oxygen surrounding the Bears this offseason, general manager Ryan Poles will have another crucial decision to make shortly after he turns in the card, presumably with Caleb Williams' name on it, at No. 1.

The Bears will go back on the clock eight picks later at No. 9 and will have a chance to add a blue-chip prospect at several different positions depending on how picks No. 2-8 shake out.

The surprise acquisition of wide receiver Keenan Allen gives the Bears flexibility at No. 9. They could triple down at wide receiver and grab one of Marvin Harrison Jr., Rome Odunze, or Malik Nabers should one slide. They could look to fill their edge rushing hole opposite Montez Sweat or add an elite left tackle and shift Braxton Jones to the swing role.

There are a myriad of different avenues the Bears could travel at No. 9. What they eventually land on will be the product of a thorough process.

"I like the numbers," Poles said Monday at the annual NFL league meetings in Orlando about the options at No. 9. "I talked about it when I first got here, but we have different tiers on our draft board. I like the numbers in terms of the talented playesr that can get to nine. We’re gonna do some cool things when we get back, kinda break into teams. One team is going to talk about the tackle position is the best to go after; the wide receiver’s the best. The defensive end’s the best. And use factual information to kinda spit that out, and we’ll have a debate in terms of what’s more impactful for our football team, short-term and long-term. I’m looking forward to that."

Poles said the Bears will be open to trading down from No. 9 to accrue more draft capital, but that will depend on the offers presented and the players that remain on the board.

"That will kinda play out," Poles said about trading back. "We’ll see what the numbers look like and that’ll kinda dictate how far we can move back if we decide to do that."

Currently, the Bears only have four picks in the 2024 draft. They will pick at 1, 9, 75, and 122. The Bears traded their second-round pick to the Washington Commanders for Montez Sweat and dealt a fourth-round pick to the Los Angeles Chargers for Allen.

Poles has quickly revamped the Bears' roster. He has added blue-chip players in Sweat, Allen, and wide receiver DJ Moore. He has also drafted ascending young talents in safety, such as Jaquan Brisker, cornerback Kyler Gordon, and right tackle Darnell Wright. He is set to add a franchise quarterback in Williams, who will check the most important rebuild box, assuming the Bears get it right.

But there are still roster holes that need to be filled. Trading down would give Poles valuable ammunition to plug some remaining leaky bits on his roster.

But if no deal materializes, the Bears' general manager feels good about his ability to add around the edges to fill in the gaps for the 2024 team.

"I do. I do," Poles said. "If we don’t move at all, I think that’s 25 picks in three years which is over 8 (per year) and some change. I like where we’re at there on top of being set up next year to have a pretty good setup as well. I think it matches the draft. I think a lot of guys went back to school this year. I think you’re going to see a significant drop-off. Hopefully some guys squeak through, but it actually, the way we’re set up in the draft this year actually pairs up really well with how I think it’s going to play out."

The Bears have a world of possibility in front of them. It starts with the presumptive selection of Williams at No. 1, and then anything can happen.

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