Bears get QB Justin Fields assistance on draft's last day

The Chicago Bears entered the NFL draft looking to help quarterback Justin Fields while bolstering one of the league's worst defenses.

GM Ryan Poles and coach Matt Eberflus felt they accomplished both to varying degrees with their 10 total picks. And they started Saturday's final rounds by giving their third-year quarterback more explosive assets. 

The initial help for Fields came on Thursday night with first-round tackle Darnell Wright, but continued on the final day Saturday when the Bears picked Texas running back Roschon Johnson and Cincinnati wide receiver Tyler Scott in the fourth round.

"You want to support your quarterback," Poles said. "We all know that's where it starts. So you want to surround him with talent. 

"We had to wait a little bit to do it the way I wanted to do it, the way we wanted to do it. And we found some good opportunities to do that, to solidify the O-line, make sure that in the running game we stay balanced and then give him different types of receivers to become threats to create separation so more big plays can be made and grow your confidence."

Johnson, a 6-foot, 219-pound back, served as Bijan Robinson's backup but impressed nonetheless with his running, receiving, blocking and special teams play. Johnson ran 392 times for 2,190 yards, averaging 5.6 yards a carry, and 23 TD runs.

"I never really viewed myself as like a backup," Johnson said. "Regardless of who was getting the carries, I tried to prepare myself as if I was the starter. I didn't really let the perspective of me being a backup have an effect on me."

Scott is a 5-9, 177-pound slot receiver who was once a running back and idolized Bears great Gale Sayers. He has another family connection of sorts to a former Bears great.

"Everybody says my dad looks like Mike Singletary," Scott added. "Literally, when we're in line at places, some people come up to him and ask, ‘Hey, I just gotta ask, are you Mike Singletary?'"

For the rest of the draft, Poles turned his attention back to defense with the selections of tackles Zacch Pickens of South Carolina and Gervon Dexter of Florida, and cornerback Tyrique Stevenson of Miami. 

In Round 5, Poles drafted Minnesota cornerback Terell Smith and Oregon linebacker Noah Sewell, the brother of Detroit Lions tackle Penei Sewell. 

It's a pick that adds to an NFC North rivalry.

"Oh, it's going to be one heck of a matchup," Noah Sewell said. "We both compete. We're always competitive and I'm going to make sure I win a couple of reps." 

In the seventh round, it was defense again with Kennesaw State 6-1, 310-pound defensive tackle Travis Bell and Stanford safety Kendall Williamson. Bell is the first player drafted from his HBCU school and he worked a full-time job while playing his final year of football.

One thing the Bears didn't do in the draft was add a defensive end, a huge weak spot last year when they finished last in the NFL with 20 sacks. 

Poles said the right talent didn't match up as scheme fits in the draft when they picked, but it's possible they could still obtain one, as free agency and trades are always possibilities. 

"So we are aware of our strengths and weaknesses and we're going to be opportunistic," Poles said. "That's why we've done what we've done and we still have flexibility to do what we need to do to improve in different areas. And if that's the area that we improve moving forward, we do."

Eberflus said his defensive line can compensate with a strong interior push, some of it from his two new defensive tackles in Pickens and Dexter. He thinks his defenses in Indianapolis from 2018-21 proved this.

"I would say that the quarterbacks now, for the most part, aren't as big, aren't as tall, so their sight lines are a little bit less than they used to be," Eberflus said. "So I really believe if you have a nice (tackle) that can dent the pocket inside, I really think that that pressure is felt right away because they're closer to the quarterback."