Ryan Pace couldn't contain his excitement after making wide out Kevin White his first ever draft pick.
"I spoke to you guys yesterday about getting impact players in the Draft, especially when you're picking in the Top 10. That's exactly what Kevin White is. We couldn't be more thrilled right now. This guy is dynamic. He's big. He's strong. He's ultra-competitive. If I could stress one word for this player: he's competitive. You see it after the catch. You see it in the way he attacks the ball in the air. This is a dynamic play-maker for our offense. I can probably tell you right now, the most excited guy in the building is (offensive coordinator) Adam Gase upstairs. This is good guys. This is a big-play weapon for us; a competitive tough player. We couldn't be more thrilled to have him."
The top two wide receiver prospects were clearly Amari Cooper and Kevin White. Scouts called Alabama's Cooper, who went 4th overall to the Oakland Raiders, the safer pick, while White, who played in a spread offense at West Virginia, had to prove he can master a pro style game.
Pace was asked what White has to work on.
"When I hear that - and I did a lot of work on that - you think about a receiver when you hear the word ‘raw,' you think maybe route-quickness or those things and, at West Virginia, sometimes you question his route variety - I saw every route I needed to see from that player. One of the most difficult routes for a receiver to run is a come-back route, you see that from him. You see it at his pro day, you see it at his workouts and if you watch the film on him you see all that. This guy is a special athlete and for his size. He's big and he runs a 4.3 and he's strong after the catch and he's a physical blocker. He really checks all the boxes we're looking for in a receiver in our offense."
The Bears, under offensive coordinator Adam Gase, will strive for a dynamic offense. Here's what Pace believes White can bring to their passing game.
"Well, I like his size. We've got two big wide receivers with Alshon (Jeffery) as well. Eddie Royal can play the slot. Don't forget Marquess Wilson. This guy can play all over. Really, I see him as an outside receiver but what's dangerous about this guy, he can catch a quick slant or he can attack and go 99 yards. He has that kind of play-making ability. You see it with wide-receiver screens and now-routes and things like that where you throw him a little-short check-down and he's gone."
Pace was asked about his first impression of White.
"It's competitiveness and it's play-maker. I love the fire and the energy that he plays with and you see it on tape. Then you meet him in person, he's one of the guys we brought in here and he's highly intelligent. He's very confident. We're really jacked about this."
White was fairly confident he would be Chicago's pick at 7 after meeting with the Bears. Pace was asked some specifics about their meeting.
"I just wanted to get to know his personality. What drives him? What his goals are. Those things. It's good to hear them talk. Feel-out his confidence. Then he meets with our coaches and we can really gauge his football knowledge. We have a whole video quiz we'll take him through and he hit that out of the park too. Again, he checked every box we were looking for and I can't wait for you guys to see him live in person. This is a dynamic play-maker."
Pace was asked if taking White was a no-brainer or if he wavered in his selection.
"This was an easy pick. It was, again, stay true to our board. Take best player available and whether it's defense or offense, let's get a play-maker in the Top 10 and that's what we did."
Kevin White was a junior college transfer with only 1 season of big time production at the West Virginia. Pace was asked if that was a concern.
"No, it really wasn't. We did a lot studying and a lot of insight on that and it wasn't a concern. When you first hear that initially, you look into that, you look at that closely, but at the end of the day it wasn't a concern. He was a consistent producer the entire season and really, we're jacked about this."
This being Pace's first draft as GM, he was asked what it was like as the night wore on.
"Being quite honest, it's unfolded exactly how we thought it would. So really there haven't been any surprises for us thus far. I'm sure there are some to come. I'm excited to get back up there and continue to follow it because who knows what could happen. But right now, honestly, there hasn't been any surprises and when I saw there was a potential that we could get this player, we were really, really excited."
There were reports about the Bears fielding calls to trade back and move up in the draft. Pace was asked how active and aggressive they were in looking to trade before the draft.
"Really, in the days and even the hours leading to the Draft, there are so many phone calls. In my first year doing it as a GM, it's even more than I realized. There's phone calls - and I think teams know with being a new staff - new GM, new head coach - people call about a lot of our players. We call about other players. That's going on way more than you'd ever realize. So there's calls all over the ballpark, that just occurs this time of year."
One of rumors making the rounds yesterday was that the Bears were looking to trade up to number two for a chance to draft quarterback Marcus Mariota. Pace addressed any potential issues with his current QB, Jay Cutler.
"No, in my mind we just got Jay another dynamic weapon. That's what I'm excited about. I hope right now he's fired up because we just gave him another powerful weapon. With this receiving corps, this only adds to Jay's ability to distribute the ball."
The questions came back around to White's competitiveness.
"It jumps off - the way he runs routes, he's a physical route-runner so he'll go attack the ball. There are some people that wait for the ball, he'll go attack the ball in a crowd. His release, guys come up and try to jam him, he's strong so he can rip through the release. After the catch he's elusive but he's also strong, so he's shrugging off tackles. You see competitiveness in the red-zone. Then lastly as a blocker - this guy is competitive as a blocker. You'll see him drive guys out of bounds. A lot of receivers don't do that. This is a competitive, feisty, strong player."
We talked about the Ryan Pace 7 yesterday, and Pace was asked how many of those 7 players were still available when Chicago went on the clock.
"It's pretty much come off pretty much how we thought it would, so we were really choosing between two players at this point and for us it was an easy decision with Kevin White. Trust me, there was a lot of fist-pumping and high-fiving going on when we knew this is how it was going to unfold."
Many Bears fans look at White as the replacement for Brandon Marshall so Pace was asked about reasonable expectations of what White can produce in his first season.
"I don't want to put a label on that right now but first of all, like I said, after the catch he's dynamic. He's got great hands. He's strong. He's big. He can run. Again, he checks all the boxes. So I don't want to put an expectation on him right now but we're thrilled about this and how Adam Gase will integrate him into the offense. There's a lot of creative things we can do with him. I'm excited and I can't wait for you guys to see him in person live, too."
You can click here for the transcript from Kevin White's first presser as a Bear.