NFL Exec Believes Matt Eberflus Sabotaged Bears’ Draft Method

One of the most persistent stories of the Chicago Bears‘ 2022 draft was their unusual decisions in the 2nd round. GM Ryan Poles had two picks at #39 and #48. Many felt it was a premium opportunity for him to start building around Justin Fields properly. Get him an offensive lineman. Get him a legitimate wide receiver. Instead, the team harkened back to yesteryear by drafting not one but two defensive backs. It was a curious decision. While evaluators liked Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker, they struggled to see how they could possibly help Fields. One executive offered a theory: Matt Eberflus happened.

Among the biggest concerns this offseason was the decision by Poles to hire the former Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator as head coach. Though his leadership skills were highly touted, many wondered how he could help Fields with his defensive background. Mike Sando of The Athletic spoke to several scouts, coaches, and NFL executives about the Bears’ draft approach. One of them came right out and said Eberflus likely steered the draft approach towards the side of the ball he knows best.

“They did take a receiver in the third round (Velus Jones), but in taking the corner (Kyler Gordon) and the safety (Jaquan Brisker) in the second, it looks like the head coach has a lot of juice there,” an exec said. “Those are good scheme fits — willing tacklers, physical guys.”

It’s hard not to at least consider the idea.

Three of the Bears’ top five picks were on the defensive side of the ball. The only two that weren’t included Velus Jones, a 25-year old receiver, and Braxton Jones, a talented but raw left tackle from small Southern Utah. Both may work out, but it’s hard not to feel underwhelmed, especially when the team didn’t bother to spend much money to help Fields in free agency. Byron Pringle and Lucas Patrick aren’t exactly top-tier names.

This theory is likely not saying Matt Eberflus did anything to intentionally deliberate his quarterback. That is nonsensical. More, it is the belief that coaches with specific backgrounds tend to favor prioritizing resources on that side of the ball. Look back at Lovie Smith. In a strange case of symmetry, Chicago’s first two picks were defensive tackles Tommie Harris and Tank Johnson before they finally got second-year quarterback Rex Grossman a wide receiver (Bernard Berrian) in the 3rd round.

Poles, for his part, remains adamant the Gordon and Brisker picks had nothing to do with favoritism for a side of the ball. It came down to the Bears’ draft board. No receiver or offensive lineman was even close to their range in terms of value. The GM had no intention of taking less capable players to fill needs. A fair answer. Hopefully, those two picks end up working out. Otherwise, the Eberflus conspiracy theory may never go away.

Post Views: 65

Leave a Comment