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MX News Update 2024

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Bears vindicated by NFL coaches for drafting Tory Taylor in fourth round – NBC Sports Chicago

Ryan Poles and the Bears made a splash in the fourth round of the 2024 NFL Draft, selecting Iowa’s Tory Taylor to become the team’s new wing.

It’s a bold choice to draft a punter so early. Typically, special teams players go late in the draft, if at all. But with their last pick in the draft, they took a chance on the draft’s best punter.

Because the Bears’ roster isn’t perfect (who is?), they received skepticism from fans about the pick. But special teams coach Richard Hightower told CHGO that the Bears strongly support the choice and have been proven right by other teams as well.

“For those who thought, ‘Oh my God, a fourth-round gambler,’” Hightower began. “Now that the dust has settled and the text messages between coaches and special teams coordinators have started, Ryan Poles and his staff did a great job with those mock drafts and were on top of all that stuff.

“There was no way he was going to get to the fifth round. We had angry coaches from other teams saying, ‘I can’t believe you guys took him’… in a good way. … ‘We were wrong and you guys did a good job.” So that’s cool when you hear your peers saying things like that. And kudos to Ryan and his staff, because he wouldn’t have lasted until the back of the fourth and (he) would have definitely gone in the fifth. I got that confirmation from all three teams.”

1-on-1 with Chicago Bears Special Teams Coordinator Richard Hightower |  CHGO bears

So like it or not, Taylor was a known hot commodity on Day 3 of the draft. That’s why the bears jumped at him. And that’s why, as Hightower mentioned, coaches from three other teams are also kidding themselves (no pun intended) for not taking him.

Also know that the Bears have the best punter in the draft, if not one of the best college football plays of all time.

Known for his monster leg, Taylor left Iowa with several NCAA records. His average of 46.3 meters. during his career and his total of 4,479 punt yards in 2023 are both the best marks of all time. Taylor is also adept at pinning 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 unanimously named an All-American last year and won the Ray Guy Award, which recognizes the nation’s best gambler.

Shortly after the draft, the Bears cut ties with Trenton Gill, who the Bears drafted in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft. It’s all about Taylor and the Bears are excited about the future of their special teams.

“I was super excited the way our whole drafting room was, the way Ryan was, the way coach (Matt Eberflus) was,” Hightower said. “…The fire and passion in that room when Tory was called up was incredible; a thunderous support. If you really know a lot about football, or even if you know a little about football, but you know that every meter matters .

“It’s just really cool to find a guy who could be a weapon for us at this stage of the game.”

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