A week before his first draft as the Bears’ general manager, Ryan Poles had a meeting with the most important player at Halas Hall: quarterback Justin Fields.
The two watched tape of potential draft picks together during the weekend of April 23-24.
‘‘I want to be able to communicate with my quarterback, so he understands from me kind of the direction we are going in and what we are looking at,’’ Poles said. ‘‘He’s the trigger man — like, he has the ball in his hands. He should be a part of that.’’
In the modern NFL, he absolutely must be. It’s a credit to Poles that he’s embracing that idea.
But if Fields offered input on the top receivers in the draft, it didn’t matter much in the end. The six best ones were gone among the first 18 picks of the first round, and the Bears didn’t pick until the seventh pick of the second.
‘‘Where we sat [in Round 2], there were two good starting-level defensive players,’’ Poles said. ‘‘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 [because], ‘Yeah, I just did what I needed at the time.’
‘‘So it comes back to discipline and doing things the right way. And I felt like that’s going to be a decision that we’re all happy with.’’
Technically, the Bears gave Fields help in the draft. Six of the 11 players Poles drafted play offense. Four are blockers, one is a receiver and another plays running back. It’s impossible to argue, however, that the Bears’ offense got substantially better.