By Chris Emma–
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — Everything is on the table at Halas Hall, Bears general manager Ryan Pace said as he looked ahead to Thursday’s first round of the NFL Draft.
Slated to select third overall, Pace’s Bears have many scenarios on the table. They could look to take a quarterback or one of many players from a deep crop of defensive talent. Trading is a possibility, too.
Pace has been fielding and making calls about moving from the third pick, which he says is normal draft business.
“That’s going on a lot right now with every team, and that’s not unusual,” Pace said of potential movement. “Even after the first round, it’ll go on for our fourth pick in the second round (36th overall), that will continue, so that’s just part of what we’re doing. Sometimes it’s teams just fishing, feeling their way, sometimes there’s serious questions.
“It’s no different than any year. Teams are calling us, we’re calling teams. It feels normal right now. It hasn’t been abnormal at all.”
Halas Hall is buzzing as the team’s brass prepares for its third draft, Pace said. Despite having a record of 9-23 the last two seasons, including a franchise-worst 3-13 mark in 2016, Pace said this draft isn’t any different than every other critical draft.
The Bears have three top targets outlined and a long list that follows. They could look toward a defensive talent available — part of a strong class, as Pace said — but the possibility of drafting a quarterback also looms. The Bears seem likely to move for a quarterback at some point in the draft, whether that’s with the third overall pick or later.
“I know this sounds generic when I say this, but I think you get yourself into trouble if you’re not sticking with our philosophy of best player available,” Pace said. “When you start trying to manufacture things or create things, that’s when teams get into dangerous water. I think if we just stay with guys we have a consensus on and best player available, we’ll be in good shape.
“There’s been so much that’s come into this since August, so you just trust what your eyes see and don’t over-think it. Trust your conviction and trust your instincts and trust your gut. You can get into trouble right now if you’re up there watching additional tape and doing all that; I think you can over-scout players. By now we’ve got enough opinions. We’ve met with enough players. We’ve been through the Combine and been through the Pro Days and seen players play live. At this point we feel good. I don’t think we’re in a situation where we’re over-thinking anything.”
The Browns are set to be on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick at 7 p.m. CT, with the draft taking place in Philadelphia this year. The Bears are set with their third pick shortly after. Cleveland is expected to take Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett with the top pick. The 49ers’ plan at No. 2 is a mystery.
Soon enough, Pace and the Bears will be on the clock.
“We’re fired up, it’s finally here,” Pace said. “I wish it could just be tonight.”