Pro Football Focus named Chicago’s secondary one of the league’s most improved units after the draft, noting the unit was ranked 26th out of 32 teams by PFF last year. On the flip side, PFF named Chicago’s offense one of the least improved units in the NFL, writing that “the Bears’ improvements in the secondary came at the expense of surrounding quarterback Justin Fields with talent on offense.”
Warren Sharp of Sharp Football Analysis agrees, and he’s blaming new defensive-minded head coach Matt Eberflus for the team’s emphasis on ‘D’ in the second round of the draft.
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Sharp: Eberflus ‘Clearly Seems to Be Going After His Guys on His Side of the Ball’
“We may never know what Justin Field’s ceiling could have been,” Sharp tweeted after Day 2 of the draft on April 29. “He desperately needs WR or OL help.”
In a subsequent tweet, Sharp suggested Eberflus was pushing to draft defense over offense, and thinks Fields will ultimately suffer for it. “Former Colts DC and new Bears HC clearly seems to be going after his guys on his side of the ball…at his young QB’s expense,” Sharp added.
The Bears did draft wide receiver Velus Jones in Round 3, and general manager Ryan Poles selected four offensive linemen in Rounds 5-7, but some, including Sharp, think that’s not enough to help the team’s second-year signal-caller.
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Poles: Would Have Been ‘Huge Mistake’ Not to Draft Gordon & Brisker
“Those are really good players in terms of their explosive athletic ability that we’re looking for, guys that can change a football game on both sides of the ball, all three phases,” Eberflus said about Gordon and Brisker after the draft on April 30.
When asked his thoughts on why the team didn’t draft an offensive player with either of its top two picks, the Bears coach said this:
“That’s a credit to Ryan and his discipline, because there are always players staring at you at certain spots, and he stayed true to the board and stayed true to his discipline and what the process was, and that’s why we took those two guys. But what those guys bring is they bring playmaking ability into your secondary, and that’s a huge piece. And they’re big, long players. And big, long players — they create takeaways, and they do a great job of playing the ball. And that’s what we’re excited about.”
For his part, Poles suggested he was trying to fill the team’s many needs on both sides of the ball while also selecting the best available player — regardless of position.
“It really comes down to the preparation. It comes down to the board and where guys are valued,” Poles said after the draft. “Where we sat (in the second round) there were two good starting level defensive players, and I would have made a huge mistake for this organization to say, ‘Let’s leave them there, let someone else take them, and we’re going to go to offense where they’re not on the same level.’ And then you’re kicking yourself a year or two later when that guy’s an All-Pro.”