Bears GM Ryan Poles must be 'blown away' to draft QB at No. 1

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Poles: Bears must be 'blown away' to draft QB at No. 1 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- With a few sentences Tuesday, Bears general manager Ryan Poles all but squashed the most ridiculous talking point floating around Chicago.

Justin Fields will be the team's starting quarterback in 2023.

"Yeah," Poles said Tuesday during the end-of-season media session. "We had good conversations. I'm excited for the direction he's going. As I mentioned before, he knows where he has to improve. I think he mentioned that the other day. So we're excited about his development and where he goes next."

Poles noted the 23-year-old quarterback has to find a way to meld his electric running ability with his arm.

"He showed ability to be impactful with his legs," Poles said. "There’s flashes with his arm. Now if we can put that together, I think we have something really good.”

While the Bears have been impressed with Fields' growth, his leadership, and his ability to handle adversity, they also finished the season at 3-14 and own the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

With Alabama's Bryce Young and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud viewed as the top two quarterbacks of a good class, many wondered if Poles might use the No. 1 pick to draft a quarterback and reset the rookie contract clock.

That doesn't appear to be in his plans.

“We’re gonna do the same as we’ve always done," Poles said when asked about using the No. 1 pick on a quarterback. "We’re gonna evaluate the draft class, and I would say this: I would have to be absolutely blown away to make that type of decision.”

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Fields showed the Bears more than enough in Year 2 for them to view him as the guy moving forward.

As long as Fields takes the necessary steps to improve as a passer, he'll remain on the staircase to stardom.

Poles and the Bears know they need to surround Fields with the necessary pieces for him to make the expected leap in Year 3.

The No. 1 pick will be used to bolster the structure around Fields. Not replace the focal point of the rebuild's foundation.

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