Entering the 2022 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears desperately need to fill out their wide receiver room with difference-making talent. But with no first-round pick, new general manager Ryan Poles won't reach if all the top-shelf playmakers are off the board by pick No. 39.
"It has to be there and it has to be there at the right level," Poles said Tuesday, via NBC Sports Chicago. "And I think that's like the biggest takeaway, is, like, you can talk yourself into anything at this point. That's why I'm not overcooking this board.
"I'm taking a step back after today because I think sometimes you keep staring at it and you keep sliding guys around and doing crazy stuff. But in terms of being specific, yeah you're looking to identify (an 'X' receiver) but the key is making sure it's in the right value on the board."
Cap-strapped, Poles' hands have been tied this offseason, with only minor upgrades throughout the roster.
The Bears entered the spring needing help alongside Darnell Mooney at receiver with Allen Robinson departing for Los Angeles. Thus far, Chicago has added only former Chiefs reserve Byron Pringle and ex-Packer Equanimeous St. Brown. Snagging a big-bodied playmaker like Treylon Burks or George Pickens in the second round would be a coup for the needy Bears if either were to fall that far.
Poles noted that he's not looking to trade up and spend more draft assets. Instead, if possible, he'd prefer to trade back and pick up more bites at the apple for a team with needs throughout the roster.
This offseason, the Bears' goal should have been to support Justin Fields as best as possible to jumpstart his development. To this point, they haven't been able to do much to find the QB support.
So while fans will clamor for a receiver, Poles noted that helping Fields could mean adding an offensive lineman with one of the two second-round picks on Friday.
"I think anytime you just improve the team overall, you're helping all of the players out," Poles said. "That can look different. You could say he needs receivers, receivers, receivers, but he needs blocking too, and he also needs balance, in terms of running the ball efficiently and getting that done up front. Then you can do some play-action pass stuff. You can do different things.
"It all touches -- turnovers, maybe a returner to flip the field, to score more points. So, it's all connected and that's really why the mindset is really to get the best players on this team as possible, and why if I get too lopsided, 'I gotta do this specific thing,' I think that's where you lead into big mistakes."
Poles took over a challenging job with a half-full cupboard and little cash to spend. He'll need to hit on his six draft picks and rely on those rookies to play critical roles this season. But when asked about the project being a "rebuild," Poles rejected the characterization.
"The 'rebuild' thing is like super sensitive," Poles said. "We're constructing a very good football team -- regardless of how you use whatever term that is. We just continue to add talent and young talent, older talent, whatever it takes to make the best team possible."