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Braggs In The Stands: NFL Draft season is thankfully over (for me)

Greg Braggs Jr Avatar
May 1, 2023

Well, it’s over.

It’s FINALLY over!

I don’t mean to sound like I hate the NFL Draft. I actually love it. Every year I get excited learning about the new players coming to the Chicago Bears. Very rarely do I “hate” a pick. Even when we drafted Mitch Trubisky, the rare time I immediately booed a pick, like everyone else.

The obvious pick was and should’ve been Deshaun Watson. But by the time training camp came around, all it took was a few completed deep bombs for me to get excited about the idea the Bears had finally found their franchise quarterback in Mitch.

Yea … not so much. 

But that’s the nature for me as a fan. I want every pick to work out. And I visualize the path of how that can happen. What fun is it to declare a guy a bust before he’s even had a snap at camp or in the preseason? 

I think it’s moreso the draft process that wears me out. Especially the last few years. The unstoppable machine that has some pretending to be knowledgeable GMs with endless mock drafts and prospect breakdowns. I get that’s part of the fun but I feel it’s been oversaturated lately. Everyone is an expert now. There are too many experts, not enough fans. 

The old days before social media, you might go to a bar and talk football with your friends and we all had the understanding that we really didn’t know what we were talking about but had big opinions anyways. The guy at the end of the bar that acted like he was smarter than everyone typically was the annoying one. Now it’s reversed. Now, everyone is the smartest guy and the fan is annoying. We’ve become a society of immediate hot takes and grandiose opinions or predictions. No one is willing to ever say “I don’t know”.

It’s exhausting. And I don’t buy it.

Most of us don’t know.

Personally, I like to form my own opinions once I see these guys at camp. Don’t get me wrong, I have a ton of respect to all those who research each and every one of these draft prospects. I saw that first-hand with my team at CHGO Bears. I think these are the first days they’ve slept in the last eight weeks. Reading all the articles. Watching all the tape. Gathering all the information. That’s great and there’s a place for that.

I even got into the act at the NFL combine and got to talk to a lot of the prospects themselves. But at the end of the day, we still gotta see it play out for ourselves. Form opinions once they put on the pads in the NFL. I know that doesn’t jive in the era of instant analysis and gratification.

Bears training camp has always been my heaven. And I can’t wait to get there. That’s where I can personally speak with more confidence. I’ve been going to Bears training camp for over 20 years. I’ve seen every single player that has put on the pads in Bourbonnais and now Halas Hall. I know the difference between the guys who are difference makers and the guys who are just guys.

But I’ve gotten my fair share wrong as well, another thing many aren’t willing to admit. My belief in Mitch being at the top of that list. But that’s not going to stop me from my belief in Justin Fields or any other prospect the Bears get. I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again. I’m fine with that. Fans aren’t supposed to know everything. Fans are supposed to get hyped for their squad! And I’ll be doing exactly that.

As far as the draft and off-season this year. How can you not be in love with the job that Ryan Poles has done? Ryan Poles took seven draft picks and flipped it into a great foundation.

Not bad for Ryan Poles first full year as GM. He doesn’t mortgage the future, he invests in it, unlike our previous GM.

Will all of these prospects and picks work out? Absolutely not, they never do. But good luck telling me that right now. This is the dreaming season, the offseason.

But like the other sports teams in Chicago, you can sense the difference between a good plan and a bad one. There are still holes to fill for Matt Eberflus and Ryan Poles but this is a great step in the right direction.

I think the most exciting thing for me is the Bears are starting to build depth to position groups. Crazy to think when you consider the roster they put out there last year. But on paper, the offense looks formidable. The WR room is taking shape. The RB room is DEEP! Solid TEs and an offensive line that has been retooled. Especially on the right side. 

Defensively, the secondary was a bright spot last year, in my opinion. They added 2 CBs to that room, one being in the second rounder and a guy that looks like he can make plays in Tyrique Stevenson. The linebacker room was essentially nonexistent when the Bears chose to trade away Roquan Smith. Now? It might be their deepest position on the roster. Two top FAs and a fifth-round pick to join Jack Sanborn, who surprised to end last year. The defensive line seems to be the final key to fix. Yes, they drafted three DTs but couldn’t address the edge through free agency (at least not yet) or the draft. 

It’s impossible to fill every single hole responsibly if you’re Ryan Poles looking at the problems this roster had. The hope is he can add some veteran DEs to hold the Bears over to next year’s draft with another bevy of picks including second first round picks.
But who wants to talk about next year’s draft! Not me. That can wait.

Although I’m sure the mock drafts have already started.

Brick by brick. 

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