These Windy City Gridiron roundtables are a fun way to get several different perspectives from our team in one fell swoop. For this 2023 NFL Draft-centric version, we kicked it off by asking which was our favorite draft pick, then we asked which was our "least" fave, and yesterday we asked who was the prospect that got away.
For today's prompt, I told our staffers to interpret this question in any way they wanted.
Who was the biggest winner of the Chicago Bears 2023 NFL Draft?
Erik Duerrwaechter - Justin Fields. The Bears finally invested in premium resources around him, from the O-line to the weaponry in the receiving game. It also helps Justin Fields immensely that the defense has been overhauled with much better talent in all phases. There's still work to be done, but improvements have been made. This is a young, athletic, and high tempo squad being built. And Justin Fields, finally, is in a position for success.
Aaron Leming - It has to be Justin Fields, right? He gets his franchise right tackle, a future top target at receiver and a really good running back that comes out of college with low mileage. I have a lot of faith that Fields will take the next step but I have been pretty steady in saying that the Bears needed to hold up their end of the bargain and get him a lot of help. They've done that. Now it's all up to him. This could be the most talented offensive group we've seen since the Trestman era.
Jacob Infante - Justin Fields. He gets an absolute brick wall at right tackle in the form of Darnell Wright and two talented weapons in Tyler Scott and Roschon Johnson. Chicago's offense has turned around in a big way on paper, so the pressure is on in a big way for Fields to take the next step. That said, I have a feeling he prefers it that way.
Jon Helmkamp - Justin Fields. Ryan Poles went out and added wide receiver D.J. Moore, Darnell Wright, running back Roschon Johnson, and wide receiver Tyler Scott. This offensive line should take a big step forward, the run game should be strong, and Fields will be playing with the best wide receiver group that he has had so far in the NFL.
Sam Householder - Ryan Poles. I think he bought himself more time with the fanbase and will keep getting the "King Poles" meme treatment. He's taking a solid, clear, modern approach to the draft, using good capital, getting more picks and finally trading back more often than up. It'll be a couple more years before we know if these picks work out, but for now it's good to be Poles.
Jeff Berckes - Ryan Poles. This was a sound approach to the draft. Let us not forget that this draft also includes a bonafide WR1 in DJ Moore and additional premium picks in future drafts. He was patient and let the draft come to him, resisting the urge to burn draft capital to trade up to get his guy. Ian Rapoport had an oddly worded tweet when the Bears traded out of the first pick in round four that Poles had conviction on the trade down and pulled the trigger. Conviction was a trigger word in the Pace era, usually a justification of misspent resources. I can get behind the reframing of the word in the Poles era.
Peter Borkowski - Luke Getsy. Think about all the picks this year that make Getsy's life a whole lot easier. Getsy coached Wright at the Senior Bowl, and reportedly already loves his new OT. Plus, Wright should help Justin Fields stay upright, which means Getsy has more options play-wise. Add in Johnson, who should provide a bit of everything out of the backfield, and Scott, whose speed should be fun to play with, and Getsy now has so many weapons to scheme something up with.
EJ Snyder - Bears linebackers. Last year the Bears' defense got mauled in the middle, and the linebackers (especially Jack Sanborn) were left to stop the bleeding and pick up the mess. Chicago clearly decided they did not want a repeat of that situation, so they spent 2nd and 3rd round picks on bolstering the interior of the defensive line. That should allow their flashy free-agent acquisitions at linebacker to run free and make plenty of plays in Alan Williams's defense.
Josh Sunderbruch - The 2024 Mock Draft artists. How long has it been since Chicago has owned its complete array of picks for the next year at the end of the draft, let alone its full array plus an extra 1st and 4th? Love it. Plenty of fun for future draft scenarios.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. - My winners are Chicago's holdover offensive linemen; Braxton Jones, Teven Jenkins, and Cody Whitehair.
In the predraft process, Poles said that he'd entertain moving Jones to the right side depending on how the draft fell. With Darnell Wright drafted, that likely means that Jones gets to stay at the position he's most comfortable at, left tackle.
Jenkins was already moved to left guard after the Bears signed Nate Davis and after last year's drama surrounding Jenkins, who really knows how this regime feels about him long-term. With no guard drafted, Jenkins should be allowed to grow into his new position.
Even though Whitehair was penciled into the starting lineup at center, I'm sure he was a bit wary that Poles would draft someone and then save nearly $10 million by making Cody a post-June 1st cut.
Now it's your turn Bears fans... Who was the biggest winner of the Bears' 2023 draft?