Tuesday's NFL: Bears GM Ryan Poles interested in acquiring more draft picks
Lake Forest, Ill. — Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles would rather avoid calling what he has done with his team’s roster a rebuild.
Whether he likes calling it constructing a team or a rebuild, the Bears are heading into Poles’ first NFL draft badly in need of players and short on draft picks.
“Regardless of how you use whatever term that is, we just continue to add talent,” Poles said Tuesday. “And young talent, older talent, whatever it takes to make the best team possible.”
Poles likens what he has done with the roster so far to what he and his wife see when watching home-improvement shows on television.
“You might have to redo some countertops over here, some fresh paint over there,” Poles said. “Some rooms are good. You don’t need to touch them. So that’s kind of the thought process there. That’s not a rebuild.”
Areas in need of help are the receiver corps and the offensive line, as the Bears could stand to provide quarterback Justin Fields with more assistance in his second season. Their defense needs help in the secondary and also on the defensive line after trading Khalil Mack.
The Bears are scheduled to have six draft picks in the draft, with none in Thursday's first round after trading it away to move up and select Fields last year. They also have no fourth-round pick for the same reason, and also lack a seventh-rounder. They own picks 39 and 48 in Round 2, 71 in Round 3, 148 and 150 in Round five and 186 in Round 6.
“It’s definitely a challenge but at the same time that’s why I was hired," Poles said, adding his goal is to construct the best roster possible.
As a result of the pick shortage Poles was left with by former GM Ryan Pace, he’ll likely look for chances to trade down for more picks.
“That’s just what we’ve been handed and we’re going to maximize that,” he said.
Some positions where the Bears appear weak are spots Poles sees as being deep with talent in this draft.
“I would say the O-line depth is pretty good,” Poles said. “Some good depth at the DBs, there’s a couple good defensive linemen, the running back class may not be top heavy, but there’s like a ton–it’s crazy how many running backs there are.”
College players opting out due to COVID-19 and maintaining eligibility is part of the reason Poles sees for so many running backs being available.
“That’s why it took so much time to get the (draft) board set, not only at the top but at the bottom,” he said. “There are a lot of players on this board.”
The bottom line for Poles as the Bears approach this draft is what GMs in the league have said for decades: They’ll take the best available player.
It doesn’t matter if they have particular position needs to complement their quarterback as he'd be helped by a better overall roster.
“I think any time 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 and then you can do some play-action pass stuff.
"Then you can do different things: turnovers, maybe a returner to flip the field to score more points. So it’s all connected. That’s really why the mindset is to get the best players on this team as possible. If I get too lopsided and be like, ‘I’ve got to do this specific thing,’ I think that’s where you lead into big mistakes.”
It’s mistakes that led to the Bears being 6-11 last year, and in this situation where they’re rebuilding — or reconstructing.
Hearing postponed for 2 NFL players, 2 others in Vegas case
Las Vegas — A judge postponed a hearing Monday in a felony assault case involving two NFL players and two other men accused of severely beating a man at a Las Vegas nightclub the weekend of the Pro Bowl.
Attorneys for New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Chris Lammons and two other defendants, Darrin Young and Percy Harris, asked for more time to review evidence recently turned over by prosecutors.
The four men did not have to appear in court in person while Justice of the Peace Harmony Letizia set a new date Aug. 1. Each man remains free on bond.
Police have said video evidence shows Kamara put his hand on the alleged victim’s chest to stop him stepping toward the elevator early Feb. 5 at the rooftop Drai’s nightclub. The man pushed Kamara’s hand away and Lammons punched the man.
The man fell unconscious on the floor and the defendants allegedly stomped on his face, chest and legs, leaving him with facial fractures and injuries to his head, knees and arms.
Kamara played in the Feb. 6 Pro Bowl before he was arrested. Lammons turned himself in several days later. Young and Harris were arrested Feb. 14.
Browns team with gaming giant Bally's as betting partner
Cleveland — The Cleveland Browns are going all in on sports betting.
The team announced a long-term partnership Tuesday with Bally's Interactive, a division of Bally's Corp., that makes the gaming leader the official sports betting partner of the NFL team. As part of the agreement, Bally's will have a branded lounge at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed bills to legalize sports books in the state late last year. Pending local approval and licensing, fans could begin legally betting in person on their favorite teams in 2023 — and the Browns want to have those capabilities in place for the launch.
The Browns and Bally's Interactive also plan to have a mobile sports app that will allow fans to place bets.
Dave Jenkins, executive vice president and CEO of Haslam Sports Group, said Bally's vision meshes with the Browns for fans to have “fully-integrated sports betting experiences.”
"As we continue to work closely with sports betting regulators in our state to ensure a responsible and timely launch, we are excited and confident that our partnership with Bally’s will ultimately offer industry-leading benefits to fans throughout Cleveland and Ohio,” Jenkins said.
The Browns and Bally’s have not yet decided on the location for the stadium betting lounge. Fans who are 21 and older will have access to sports betting on game days while being able to watch games across the league.
In adding Ohio, Bally's will have market access to sports betting in 18 states.
In their release, the Browns and Bally’s reminded fans to bet responsibly and provided information for the National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700).
... The Buffalo Bills have picked up the fifth-year option of Ed Oliver’s rookie contract in a decision which locks up the defensive tackle through the 2023 season.