There is no doubt the Bears seemed to miss their enforcer type of leader on the offensive once Kyle Long could no longer play at a high level.
On Friday, they decided to sacrifice a third-round pick and another pick later in the draft to add this quality back into the mix by drafting Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins.
Moving up to No. 39 in the second round from 52nd in a trade with Carolina was all about regaining an edgy attitude up front. Pace had no problem surrendering his 83rd pick and the 164th pick in Round 5, as well as a sixth-rounder (204), to move up, but he did get back the 151st pick near the top of Round 5 from the Panthers.
We had talked about it this morning that if that situation occurred, along with a couple other situations, that would be one of the few situations where we would want to go up," Pace said. "Especially for that position and who he was.
"Once it kind of got in that area and we were able to do that — basically flip a three and five basically, and one of our four sixes, for us, it was worth it to get a guy we had graded that high with all those traits at that position. We were all pretty fired up about it."
"Some guys talk that way but they don't play that way," Pace said. "He definitely plays that way."
Pace said Jenkins' play stood out on film.
"We pretty much watched almost every game he's played," Pace said. "The one, and I think it's pretty well documented, is the Texas game. He's blocking some good players on the Texas front that went high in this draft, and you just saw the nastiness and the finish and the toughness that he played with in that game, which was awesome to see."
Pace had no concerns about Jenkins opting out during last season. It was fairly common actually for this to happen last year, and Jenkins had described it as a chance to get ready for the draft, and both get and stay healthy.
Now the Bears face a situation where they have plenty of right tackles, but only Charles Leno Jr. as a pure left tackle. Pace said Jenkins can play left tackle if required. He started seven games on the left side but 26 at right tackle.
The Bears have other right tackles if something happened to Leno, and Jenkins could slide to the left side.
"We know it starts up front there," Pace said. "We haven't drafted high there in recent years.
"I know with (guard Cody) Whitehair and (guard) James (Daniels), it's just such an important group for us and I think Juan Castillo does an unbelievable job developing these guys. There are just certain coaches in the league that you know when you put a young player in their room you just have so much confidence they are going to grow and develop. Juan just has a long history of that. We are excited to put Teven with Juan and watch Teven grow under his guidance."
This left the Bears looking ahead to Day 3 with a fifth-rounder at 151 and then three sixth-round picks (208, 221, 228).
A cornerback, wide receiver and a few other positions probably need to be addressed. So far the Bears have gone for quality over quantity.
"Those are going to be important picks," Pace said. "I was talking to (director of player personnel) Josh Lucas before I came down here and I said, 'Josh, give me our fifth-round picks again.' And it's (Adrian) Amos, Jordan Howard, Bilal Nichols, Trevis (Gipson), (Kindle) Vildor and (Darnell) Mooney.
"We've gotta keep that going. We've got this tradition of fifth-round picks we're nailing. We've gotta keep it rolling. I'm excited about those sixes, too, and maybe we’ll move around tomorrow and do some other damage, and then again, college free agency after the draft tomorrow is big."