Emma: Ryan Pace, Bears Are Men Of Mystery Leading Up To NFL Draft

By Chris Emma–

(CBS) Like so many curious followers in Chicago, Bears quarterback Mike Glennon will be watching when commissioner Roger Goodell steps up to the podium on behalf of his new team next week.

Glennon maintains he’s not really concerned about the Bears selecting a quarterback in the NFL, even though his starting spot in Tampa was lost out when the Buccaneers took Jameis Winston No. 1 overall in 2015. Glennon’s Bears hold the third pick in this draft and a great opportunity to improve.

Among the burning questions in Chicago — what happened to the Blackhawks and what will the Bears do?

“I have no idea what will happen,” Glennon said of the Bears’ big decision forthcoming.

Glennon isn’t alone. For all the rumors, posturing and conjecture, general manager Ryan Pace ultimately holds the cards in his hands. His trusted team has been busy compiling opinions and scouting reports for every possibility.

With the draft now 10 days away, it’s anyone’s guess what Pace will do. Even most with offices at Halas Hall have simply no idea what the Bears will do at No. 3. There’s no clear-cut choice for a team with needs across the roster.

It seems almost certain the Bears will be taking a developmental quarterback prospect. With potentially four — possibly even five, believe it or not — going in the first round, Pace would have to act fast for one of those quarterbacks from the top crop. If he looked past the second round, the next tier of arms could be gone, too.

The Bears don’t want to settle on a developmental quarterback. After all, that’s why they haven’t selected one in Pace’s first two drafts. But few in Lake Forest know how the Bears brass values the likes of Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer, Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes. There has been ample opportunity to compare and contrast every avenue.

While a convenient route at quarterback would be using the third pick — likely getting first dibs — the Bears have to look at their defensive needs, too. Their decade of struggles at safety could be answered with Jamal Adams or Malik Hooker, two potentially elite players in the NFL.

Adams is a complete player who can drop into center field or flip the hips and burst to the point of attack. His instincts and athleticism are outstanding. Hooker has truly special ball skills, with the ability to recognize where a pass is going before it leaves the quarterback’s hand. He can cut off both seams or sprint down the field and take away a deep threat.

A void remains in the front seven, with the Bears in need of another 5-technique to join Eddie Goldman and Akiem Hicks. They could go for Jonathan Allen and his tenacious hands or Solomon Thomas and his explosive twitch. Pace has prioritized building the front seven in restructuring the defense, and drafting an end would bring the final piece to his revamped puzzle.

Perhaps the Bears prefer to play the wild card, moving instead for cornerback Marshon Lattimore, tight end O.J. Howard or receiver Mike Williams.

Now in his third year as Bears general manager, Pace doesn’t have draft tendencies known throughout the league. If anything, past history suggests he may want to trade down from the third slot — or even up.

Pace has been a man of mystery, leaving little draft insight for the public. In leading the Bears’ front office, he has blocked out the noise while trusting his scouting convictions and those from a diverse team of football minds and backgrounds.

With the draft right around the corner, Pace is still leaving everyone wondering what the Bears will do.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.

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