As a reaction to a R4S daily board post yesterday I went and dug through all of Poles’ transactions since taking over the Bears. The assertion was that he had done a pretty good job (minus the WR trade) so far … and looking at his moves I’m not seeing a lot of success. Even keeping in mind that he’s not aiming to have his team be good, I think his moves have been pretty unimpressive so far.
Given that both of these guys were up for the Vikings’ job, it’s fairly easy for me to draw a connection between the two GMs. Their goals have been different but they can still be compared.
I’m going to skip over trades for players, since it’s pretty clear the Hock trade was good and the Claypool trade was bad. KAM’s minor trades for players have largely failed but the stakes have been low. Poles traded a 6th for N’Keal Harry, I’m not going to get too worked up about those kinds of trades unless they’re home runs.
Regarding trading players for picks KAM hasn’t done it much. Lowe and Davis are both low reward trades for guys who probably would have gotten cut. Still not sure what the Jesse Davis return was if it will even happen. Poles on the other hand has traded away quite a few players. I’ve mostly liked the returns. The Khalil Mack trade was a pretty good one, Mack was coming off of injury and they got a 2nd rounder in a year where they didn’t have a 1st round pick. Quinn wasn’t a great asset but they got a 4th for him. The Roquan Smith trade I felt like they could have gotten more but not by a ton.
Now to the drafts. First let’s start with the amount of draft capital that each team has had. Due in part to the above trades and in part because the Bears have been much worse than the Vikings, Poles has had a lot more draft capital to work with.
Per NFL mock draft database, the Bears had 1241 points of draft capital (21st) going into the 2022 draft vs the Vikings with 1915 points (13th). The Bears were without a 1st round pick due to the Fields trade. But in 2023 the Bears had 3800 points (2nd) (this is before trading the #1 pick) vs the Vikings with 1003 points (28th). Which means over the last two years the Bears have had 5041 points and the Vikings 2918 points which is a difference of 2918 or the 3rd overall pick in the draft. The Bears decided to trade the 1st pick last year for a fair amount of future capital so if you take that info account, they’re still ahead by 805 points or the 21st pick in the draft. Effectively, the Bears had what amounted to an extra 1st round pick over the past two years as compared to the Vikings.
So, how did each team do? Knowing that PFF grades are fallible, a quick way to take a look at which players are creating some early returns is to filter PFF for the last two draft classes and see who has at least 100 snaps and a grade over 60?
Here are the Vikings that meet that criteria this year:
Addison 65.5 and 135 snaps
Ingram: 64.2 and 205 snaps
Evans 67.9 and 195 snaps
Pace Jr 84.9 and 148 snaps
Here are the Bears:
Darnell Wright (Tackle) 67.3 and 177 snaps
Braxton Jones (Tackle) 63.2 and 126 snaps (went on IR last week)
Elijah Hicks (LB) 66.4 and 136 snaps
You could credibly argue that Pace Jr the undrafted FA is the best rookie from either team in the last two years.
Looking at it a different way you can look at wAV from pro football reference for last year’s draft picks. Gordon, Brisker and Dominique Robinson show up as 4’s and 3’s while Braxton Jones gets an 8. For the Vikings a few guys have 1’s and only Ingram has a 7. My guess is this basically shows that the Bears played their rookies a lot more but they weren’t very good. And the linemen basically just get credit for playing a lot. Although Braxton Jones did grade out very well last year per PFF.
Also connected here for me is the Eagles traded back from the #1 overall pick and Jalen Carter landed right in their laps. They traded back, took a Tackle who’s been OK, a DT who has been meh in round 2 and Carter has looked great for the Eagles. Of course this could easily turn out differently but right now it looks pretty bad.
I’d say the Bears’ drafts have been about the same or perhaps worse than the Vikings’ classes the last two years, which would be especially disappointing as a Bears fan because they’ve had a lot more draft capital.
Overall I’d say so far KAM has done a better job than Poles.