Ryan Poles explains the Bears’ thought process in drafting Tory Taylor in the fourth round

Ryan Poles explains the Bears’ thought process in drafting Tory Taylor in the fourth round originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

In the fourth round of the 2024 NFL Draft — with their last pick in hand — Ryan Poles and the Bears drafted Iowa punter Tory Taylor.

In drafting Taylor, the Bears flexed their confidence in the roster by taking a punter in the fourth round. But they also found themselves a bona fide leg to boot the ball on fourth down.

What was the thought process behind drafting the first punter off the board?

“I didn’t expect him to get much further,” Poles said on “The Pat McAfee Show.” “Definitely didn’t think I would be able to pick him up when we got to the fifth round. Really, the thought process there is to make anyone we’re playing really uncomfortable.

“I didn’t play much in the NFL but I know running onto the field and having the ball spotted on the 10-yard line is a very uncomfortable feeling. It’s very disheartening at times. And I love taking advantage of field position. And really, that should help us with points, as well.”

When you draft a punter in the fourth round of any NFL Draft, you’d better be getting the best one. And in Taylor, the Bears are inarguably getting the draft’s best punter, and potentially the NCAA’s best punter of all time.

Taylor is known for having a monster leg. And he left Iowa with several NCAA records. His 46.3-yard average over his career is an all-time best mark for NCAA punters. His 4,479 total punt yards is also a record.

Taylor is also adept at pinning down opponents. He had 32 punts inside the 20-yard line last season and his punts led to 29 fair catches in 2023. For his efforts, Taylor was named a unanimous All-American last year and won the Ray Guy Award which recognizes the top punter in the nation.

And already, the Bears are paving the way for him to be the team’s 4th down leg. They waived punter Trenton Gill on Wednesday, solidifying Taylor’s spot on the team.

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