Ryan Pace had a three-pronged plan for the first round of Thursday's 2021 NFL Draft.

The Bears GM also had a bit of a premonition.

Pace thought he'd give his old friend Dave Gettleman, the Giants GM, a call prior to the start of the selection process because he saw the possibility of a quarterback or two falling. 

It proved intuitive, and Pace was able to make the trade up. He gave Gettleman the Bears' 20th pick in Round 1, first- and fourth-round picks next year and this year's 164th pick to move up and select a quarterback with what had been the Giants' 11th pick.

Ohio State QB Justin Fields became a Bear.

"Fortunately, with the Giants, I've known Dave Gettleman for 20 years," Pace said. "He's an amazing person and amazing general manager and we go way back, so that communication started really this morning about something like that happening, and when we were able to execute it in the draft, I just feel real fortunate."

Pace had to sit and watch anxiously as both Fields and Mac Jones fell even after talking to Gettleman. Would it continue?

"Oh man, to be honest, I kind of had like three plans and one was, the first plan was, 'hey is there going to be an opportunity to go up and get a quarterback. Let's see if we can make that happen," Pace said. "If that doesn't happen we had another one for some movement (back) maybe for some other positions that would be valuable positions for us that would also hit some needs and match our board. And then the third one was to stay put and luckily, Plan 1 was executed."

Pace wanted nothing to do with telling the details about which players he might have wanted to trade back for in Plan B, laughing before adding, "I'll tell you after the draft."

He didn't need Plan B or Plan C, and Pace is certain Plan A can work because he considers coach Matt Nagy his ace in the hole. He views Nagy as owning the Kansas City "blueprint" for drafting and developing Patrick Mahomes.

"They did an awesome job with Patrick coming into Kansas City and Matt and I have talked about that a lot," Pace said. "That year and how it was handled. He kind of has a blueprint on how that whole situation went down."

The Chiefs let Alex Smith play and then Mahomes got his shot the next year after starting the regular-season finale of his rookie year.

"What I love about our environment is the veteran quarterbacks that we have in that room, like I don't know if you look around the league how many teams have that kind of experience in the (quarterback) room," Pace said. "And then the coaches that we have surrounding that position. I can't say that enough. Like for Matt to (offensive coordinator Bill) Lazor to Flip (QB coach John DeFilippo). I mean, Flip, he is one of the best coaches in the league at developing quarterbacks. I really believe that. And he is so excited tonight and Lazor's excited and Matt's excited about the opportunity to do that, but at the right speed."

So don't anticipate Fields rushed onto the field the way Mitchell Trubisky was, and Pace wanted to make sure veteran quarterback Andy Dalton realizes he isn't going to be Mike Glennon — veteran fodder for four weeks in 2017 until he was discarded for Trubisky.

"Matt has spoken to Andy Dalton tonight," Nagy said. "That communication and clarity for us is really important. Andy is our starter, and we're gonna have a really good plan in place to develop Justin and do what's best for our organization and win games."

Jones was there if the Bears wanted him, and he wound up with New England. There was too much athletic ability and other positive qualities in place for Pace to ignore Fields.

"We've talked about him for a long time now," Pace said. "Matt has a good relationship with (Ohio State coach) Ryan Day, as well. It's just the combination of factors that he has. It's the arm talent, it's the accuracy, it's the athleticism. 

"When you see a guy with that kind of arm talent, with that kind of quarterback makeup that he has, with that kind of work ethic that he has, that’s played in really big games and really big moments and performed in big moments, that's extremely tough — you know, I was at the Michigan game a couple years ago when he came back in from a knee (injury){, and we know about the ribs and the hip. And this guy's toughness on a scale of 1-10 is an 11. And you just love that about him. Oh, and then by the way, he runs a 4.44. You throw all that in together and it just feels good."

There was this report about epilepsy, though. Pace said they were aware and the connections they have at Ohio State assured them it was a controllable situation.

"We've dealt with something similar in the past with different players over the years, and we're completely fine with it," Pace said.

One thing they haven't dealt with in Chicago, anyway, is a successfully developed quarterback. The feeling is this can be different because Fields is different.

"We were also at his second pro day, and it's just like his focus and how serious he is and that determination he has," Pace said. "I think you (media) will feel it when you talk to him, if you already have.

"Just he's really locked in, his desire to be great, you can feel that when you speak to him."

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