The NFL Draft is full of surprises, and we all know where we were and how we reacted when the Chicago Bears pulled a draft day shocker last year. But could history repeat itself (again) for Ryan Pace?
The Bears GM pulled a rabbit out of his hat in each of the last two drafts in order to trade up for a player, and it doesn’t sound like he’d be shy to make it three straight seasons:
Pace: "We’re not afraid to be aggressive if we’ve got to be aggressive to get a player we’re excited about."
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 24, 2018
Ryan Pace said of his aggressive moves the last two drafts: "When we identify a guy that we like, and there's a unified vision in the building on a player that we want, I don't think we're ever afraid to go up and get that guy."
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) April 24, 2018
Pace has a limited history as the top decision-maker, but his splash moves – particularly the ones in which he has moved up in the draft – have been notable. Another one could be in the works, or it could all be a smokescreen. Either way, Pace has put it out there and recent history suggests this isn’t just small talk. It almost makes you wonder who that player Pace might covet could be.
- If Pace doesn’t complete the three-peat and move up in the draft for the third straight year, he did make it clear that he and the rest of the decision-makers at Halas Hall have settled on eight players they feel comfortable choosing with the No. 8 pick. With quarterbacks off the board, we’ll spend the next few days speculating which eight position players are in the cloud – even if Pace wouldn’t.
- Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds could be one of the eight players under consideration. He certainly fits the bill of what Bears first-round picks have looked like since Pace’s arrival. Edmunds is an athletic marvel at a premium position who has upside that is easy to dream on. Pace was asked if Edmunds could be an effective pass rusher, with Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune tweeting Pace’s response that “I think that’s a feather in his cap.”
- It doesn’t sound like a trade back in the first round is in the cards, but perhaps that’s what Pace wants us to think with this comment:
Ryan Pace said a trade back likely wouldn't allow landing two of the eight players the Bears value highly.
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) April 24, 2018
- Trading back is great, in theory. Adding more picks helps teams build depth, but can also take the team out of a position to add an impact talent. And if this is the last time the Bears are drafting in the top-10 for a while (which is what we’re all hoping for) the team would be wise to take advantage of this draft position.
- It’s a shame there isn’t a Calvin Johnson-like receiver prospect that would be easy to hone in on in this draft. Then again, That’s the kind of player who would probably be off the board shortly after the run on quarterbacks ends. For what it’s worth, John Mullin of NBC Sports Chicago notes that head coach Matt Nagy has “gone through every receiver in the draft” according to Pace.
- I wonder if Coach Nagy has read our position preview? If he hasn’t, maybe he should. And you should, too. You know, just to make sure all the bases are covered.
- The Bears wouldn’t have such a need at receiver had the team retained Cameron Meredith. Instead, the team allowed him to walk away as a restricted free agent after not matching the tender offered by the New Orleans Saints. Pace answered questions regarding the matter for the first time since the move happened, citing Meredith’s knee injury suffered in Week 3 of the preseason last year as the reason for placing the low-round tender ($1.9 million) instead of the second-round tender ($2.9 million) that would have required compensation from a team that signed him to an offer sheet that went unmatched.
- Pace also expressed his faith in the team’s medical staff, saying (via The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain): “We lean on our training staff and our docs. Have a lot of respect for Cam and the organization he went to. We wish him luck.”
- At this time last year, the idea of the Bears picking up the fifth-year option on Kyle Fuller’s rookie deal was the last thing on anyone’s mind. In fact, the Bears didn’t make a public announcement regarding their decision until after the draft – to the point where it was lumped in with all the other draft weekend happenings. It sounds like the Bears will be traveling that road again, with Pace saying the decision on picking up Kevin White’s fifth-year option will be “finalized” after the draft. It’s hard to imagine the Bears picking it up, especially because of the hefty salary that comes with it.