By Chris Emma–
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — One of the benefits that comes with the Bears owning nine draft picks is a wide array of available options.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace can work to secure depth around his roster, an important task after years of poor drafting from his predecessors. But Pace can also use some of those picks as assets.
With the NFL Draft just a day away, the Bears have the flexibility to move up or down from their 11th pick.
“You have more ammunition to move around,” Pace said Wednesday at Halas Hall.
Regarding the Bears’ first-round pick at No. 11 overall, Pace stated that his list of options for that selection runs deeper than 11 players. He’s open to potential negotiations with other teams, presenting the possibility of movement for the draft.
However, the Bears do like their placement with the 11th pick. At this point, Pace is prepared to wait it out for the best player available.
“If he’s special enough and he’s an impact player, we’ll go ahead and put a shirt on him,” Pace said. “Even if he’s at a deep position.”
The Bears’ draft board is set, with only non-football occurrences in subject to changing that listing before the draft begins Thursday evening. Pace and his staff have spent the past months scouting each player from every different angle, then working to get the right perspectives for second, third and fourth opinions.
By now, the Bears have a plethora of information available. The Bears can have up to 10 reports on any given player, Pace said. Who the Bears will take becomes “obvious” as the draft progresses, Pace added, with most of the dialogue centering on potential movement.
“You got to calm down and have confidence in the work that you’ve done,” Pace said.
When Pace took over as Bears general manager in January 2015, his roster was lacking talent across the board, with little depth. The Bears have since added to important positions and slowly solidified their depth, little by little. Still, Pace’s work for the entire 53-man roster will take this draft and at least one more.
“We have a lot of needs,” Pace said. “I have a lot of confidence in our scouts. Having nine picks in the draft, it’s just more swings.”