Bears Could Trade in Draft or Even Select a QB Says Ryan Pace

Finding the right quarterback at the proper time in the draft would definitely give the Bears a cause to think seriously about the future at the position
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Trying to squeeze predraft information out of Bears general manager Ryan Pace is impossible in normal times.

Doing it during the coronavirus freeze might actually require the threat of torture.

Pace gave little indication of where the Bears are headed on Tuesday during a predraft Skype session with Chicago media, and here's a good example.

At the scouting combine at the end of February Pace remarked about how deep the wide receiver group was in the draft. On Tuesday with the draft fast approaching he was asked about the deepest position groups in the draft and the only way his response could have been less clear was if he had a gag in his mouth.

"You know we're always vague on which positions are strong or weak," said Pace, who definitely couldn't be faulted for dishonesty. " 'Let's just put it this way—we feel like this is a strong draft. "

For the record, all analysts agreed with his earlier assessment of how deep the receiver group is.  

What is apparent is the Bears really appreciate that second second-round pick the acquired in the trade for Khalil Mack with the Raiders. Pace spoke a few times about the opportunity facing the Bears in the second round to move up or down because they have both the 43rd and 50th pick.

"We go over all the scenarios with either one of those picks—moving up under certain scenarios or moving back under certain scenarios—but we have a good feel for what type of players will be there around those picks.

"Depending on how the draft's unfolding, we'll know, 'Hey, I feel like we can move back right now and accumulate some additional picks and still be in a good pool of players.' "

With communications a bit uncertain due to the draft being conducted from strange places like Pace's dining room, it seems logical to expect any trade talk might happen ahead of time than right before a pick this year.

"We've already touched base with numerous teams and talked over some of those things," Pace said. "We do that every year. I think it makes it a little easier. I was just talking to (coach) Matt (Nagy) and (contract negotiator) Joey Laine this morning about this—I think the continuity that we have with each other makes it easier.

"I don't feel like trades, for us, are gonna be any more difficult this year. I have a phone here right in front of me. It's the same phone that I would have in the draft room, with every GM direct dialed in the click of one button. So I think everything's efficient. I think leaning on the continuity of our staff, I don't have any concerns about us pulling off trades or being aggressive in that nature if we need to be."

As for specific draft possibilities, Pace did say he couldn't rule out drafting a quarterback even with some obvious needs.

"You know we're always going to take the best player available," Pace said. ":If a quarterback was there and he was the highest guy on our board in a strong way, we would consider that. I think we'd consider every position.

"Let's face it, the draft is risky enough. When you deviate from taking best player, I think you just increase your risk."

That's about as close as Pace would come to specifics. He wouldn't even commit to the need for a guard or tackle even with unestablished Rashaad Coward and Germain Ifedi set to line up at guard.

"We really like where Coward's heading in his future, we're really optimistic about that, especially him being raw, converting from defensive line," Pace said. "And then getting Ifedi, we liked him coming out. (Line coach) Juan Castillo's very high on him. Playing him at right guard's going to be advantageous for him.

"But to be honest, I think you're mindful too of hey, Ifedi's on a one-year deal, Rashaad is a work in progress and we feel good about it. I think you're always looking to bolster the offensive line and I think you're right, it is a strong (draft) group. But then you could need tackle as well. I think those are all positions we could definitely consider."

It was the same way at wide receiver even with the Bears obviously lacking a speed receiver after cutting Taylor Gabriel.

"We like the depth of our receiver room," Pace said. "Drafting (Riley) Ridley last year helped. Getting (Cordarrelle Patterson) more involved, I think that's big for us. There's some young guys that need to step up. We've got some young guys there that I think that are developing really well.

"Getting Anthony Miller back healthy and obviously A-Rob's talent. We like the (receiver) room. That kind of helped a little bit with the decision when we did release Taylor."

Now in their second straight year without a first-round draft pick, the Bears are simply elated to have two second-rounders thanks to the trade. A year ago they had to wait until the third round to select running back David Montgomery.

"When I think about the Khalil trade, obviously getting Mack was a priority but getting that 2 back was really important for us," Pace said. "So having two 2s, I keep on going back to it.

"Look at last year with the first pick being David Montgomery (Round 3), it puts it on us as evaluators and as scouts and coaches to maximize the draft picks we have. Fortunately, we have two 2s and it is a deep draft. And we just gotta capitalize at that point."

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