Ryan Poles scouting notebook: Clemson and Alabama games in 1920 Football Drive video

Ryan Poles is on the road scouting for additional talent for the Chicago Bears in the 2023 NFL Draft, looking to add talent from possibly two of the top programs in the country.

In the most recent episode of 1920 football drive, Ryan Poles and Ian Cunningham flew to South Carolina and then onto Alabama to scout two of the top programs in the country for producing NFL talent.

Both teams are known to produce top talent on the defensive side of the ball.

Headed into the 2023 NFL Draft.  Clemson notably has two Top-10 first-round graded players on the defensive line in defensive tackle Bryan Bresee and defensive end Myles Murphy.  They also add a first-round graded stud in linebacker Trenton Simpson.

Alabama meanwhile has Will Anderson who is arguably the highest-graded talent in the country at this point.   Anderson is a generational pass-rushing talent the Bears could add as a defensive end.

What’s interesting here is how involved Ian Cunningham is in the process with Ryan Poles.  Cunningham has the title of assistant GM and is deeply involved in the Bears’ scouting process like no other scout I can remember in my 20 years of covering Chicago Bears scouting stories.

What I enjoyed hearing most from the interview is how Ryan Poles has a preference to be down on the sideline scouting these players rather than up in the booth scouting.  Ryan Poles likes to see these players up close and personal so he can feel the energy they give off as well as better gauge their athleticism and body frames as players.

In 2012 Shea McCellin was drafted to be a base 4-3 defensive end, at 6-foot-3 250-pounds McCellin was nowhere near the size to compete as a defensive end.  When I met him in 2013 in Bourbonnais you could clearly tell that with his frame he was not built with enough size physically to play on the defensive line.  Ryan Poles listing that as a priority observation sets him apart from someone like Phil Emery who seemingly looked at McCellin’s height and weight and thought he would make it at the position.

It’s also important for Ryan Poles to get up close and personal with these players now when they’re at their playing weight rather than all pumped up with 12 weeks of NFL combine preparation and workouts under their belts.

With the Bears set at QB you can clearly see the focus will be on surrounding Justin Fields with talent.  Despite the fact that the Bears drafted two players on defense last year, it wouldn’t be a shock to see a similar tact taken in 2023.  The Bears need help everywhere on both sides of the ball and it remains to be seen whether the 2023 draft will be more loaded on offense or defense.  At first glance, it may be a defensive-heavy draft where the Bears will grab the best player available.

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