It has been two nights of wheeling and dealing for Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace. On Thursday Pace moved up 2 spots in the draft to grab Georgia outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. The trade cost the Bears one of their 4th round picks (106 overall) to move up two spots, but in order to get his guy, it was a small price to pay.
And besides, Pace would have some opportunities to get that pick back on Friday.
Then the Bears did just that with a couple more trades. For the details on Pace's two trades check out Josh's 2nd day recap right here.
With day 2 of the 2016 NFL Draft in the books, Ryan Pace met the media to discuss his picks, his current roster and more.
The following block quoted text is the full transcript from Chicago Bears General Manager Rayn Pace's day 2 press conference.
Here's Pace's Opening Statement
"Obviously a busy night tonight and honestly, I'm a little tired right now, but I'm excited. We were able to acquire more picks tonight, which was huge for us. The trade with Buffalo to go down eight spots; picked up a fourth [round draft pick] and then picked up a 2017 fourth as well, which is good because we were missing a pick in 2017 from the Khari Lee trade. So, that gets us whole for next year. Traded with Seattle to down six spots and picked up another fourth. So I think that makes up for the fourth we used to go up and pick Leonard Floyd. So, I'm excited; there are a lot of good players in the draft tomorrow and now we have a lot of swings at those players and our scouts and coaches are fired up to have that ammunition."
On his 3rd round draft pick, offensive guard Cody Whitehair from Kansas State.
"A guy we've really liked throughout this whole process. We interviewed (him) at the Senior Bowl and brought him in for a thirty-visit here to meet with us. He's a four-year starter, he has played multiple positions. We see him as a guard. I think he can play some tackle. He can play center too. This is what you want out of an offensive lineman. He's smart, he's tough, he's instinctive, he loves the weight room. Those are all things I like. Good player that we're excited to have that is a versatile player."
On his 3rd round draft pick defensive end Jonathan Bullard from Florida.
"We see him more as a 3-4 defensive end for us. He played defensive end [at Florida], bulked up a little bit this past season, added weight and played more of a three-technique for them. Had his best season with six and a half sacks. When you watch the tape on him, there is one thing you can't coach with these guys, it's get off. His get off is excellent and there are a lot of advantages just from that alone. We're excited. They were high players on our board and fulfilled some needs for us and [it was] a productive night to get some picks."
On drafting a player at the guard position.
"I just wanted to create more competition there honestly. It's competition throughout the roster, but I think the versatility in there to have guys to play [different positions]. [Whitehair] can play tackle, guard or center, so I just like that about him."
On message of having numerous guys who can play center
"It's pushing everybody. Everybody is getting pushed. Every single one of those offensive linemen are getting pushed and that's what I think they would expect. We're going to try and do that to every position on the roster, not just the offensive line."
Whitehair snapped a little bit in college and he did it at the Senior Bowl, but he probably won't be asked to play any center with Hroniss Grasu, Manny Ramirez, Ted Larsen and Matt Slauson on the team.
On bringing Matt Slauson into training camp.
"We haven't even gotten there yet. We're just adding talent and we will let it all sort out."
Some heard this quote from Pace and jumped to the conclusion that Slauson may not be in their plans. I don't think that's the case, but with so many interior offensive linemen, the Bears do have plenty of options.
The Packers jumped the Bears via their own trade in the 2nd round, so here's Pace on if Green Bay trading one spot before the Bears had an effect on what they did.
"That really didn't affect us. We had a lot of names there that we liked. So when our pick is approaching and we're realizing that there are a lot of guys here that we like, there is a chance for us to go back knowing that we got enough names that we can still get a good player and pick up some picks. That's why we did [the trade]."
It sure seemed like the Packers wanted to get Indiana offensive tackle Jason Spriggs before the Bears did, and if they did put one over on the Bears, then kudos to Pace for having a plan B in place.
By adding another interior offensive lineman you just knew that there would be a question about possibly moving Kyle Long to left tackle, and Pace addressed that.
"He's so athletic and you guys know he could play any position. So I wouldn't rule anything out for Kyle, but he can play anywhere."
On if there wasn't a player at pick 41 to fill a need that they were comfortable with.
"A little bit of that and we just had enough names that I felt like if we go back [in the draft], they would still be there. At some point in this draft I wanted to acquire more picks and this night couldn't have worked out any better for us in regards to that. So I was happy when we were able to go back and still get the guys we want and then get these additional picks. The draft is deep tomorrow. There is still a lot of guys we have good grades on and that's why it is so exciting. This late at night, I never walked out of a draft room with a group of scouts more excited because of what we can do with those additional picks. Everyone is fired up and that makes me feel good because I have a lot of confidence in them."
There was so much talent on the board in the 2nd round that it made sense for Pace to move back.
On sticking to the draft board.
"There's a lot of that. Again, just having conviction that we could go back and those guys would still be available and get extra picks."
On if Pace tried to trade up early in the second round.
"We had some early talks, before the draft, but nothing came to fruition."
There were rumors that the Bears tried to trade up for Mississippi State DE Chris Jones.
On having the patience to sit in draft room for so long without a pick.
"It takes a lot of patience and discipline. I think especially when you are trading back it's like hey you got to have some confidence in your scouts and where you have these guys graded to know that I can get an extra pick here and I can go back. I think we have enough names where one of these guys is still going to be available."
On impact of multiple defensive ends picked in the early stages of the second round.
"We kind of anticipated that a little bit. All those guys are different. So I think some of those guys fit other teams better than others. We were really excited about [Jonathan] Bullard because this is a guy we identified early and our coaches are high on him. This is a guy Joe Douglas really likes, for example, and there are some things about him that jump out. I think we talk about versatility and he can play the run, he's instinctive, he's got range and again his get off is really sudden off the ball and we're excited to have him."
On Bullard's arm length.
"Yeah, his arms are long for his height. I think he's 6'3"-something, but he plays with good length and good separation. He's just a twitchy athlete for a guy that size and that quick twitch is either something you have or don't have and he's got it."
On the identity of the front seven.
"I think it's our creation. It's [John] Fox, and [Vic] Fangio and all our scouts. I think it's just getting guys that are athletic, that are versatile, that play with the tenacity we're looking for and that's how I see it. We want guys that can get to the quarterback too and I think when you look at [Leonard] Floyd or [Jonathan] Bullard now, these are all guys that can all rush the passer and that's going to help us next year."
Pace has completely rebuilt the Bears front 7 in two offseasons; Pernell McPhee, Danny Trevathan, Jerrell Freeman, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Leonard Floyd, and Jonathan Bullard.
On what he wanted to learn about Whitehair on his visit.
"We talked to him at the Senior Bowl but I wanted to just get to know him more in-person and we bring guys in to analyze their body types and their growth potential. We've got a lot of guys that can do that here with our sports science staff and I wanted to do that and I felt he looked bigger to me than he was on tape. His personality, I just love his personality and I think he'll fit in great in with this locker room. Kind of a funny story is, his fiancée is a flight attendant and he'd been taking advantage of the free trips with her job and he'd come in here a couple weeks before we had visited him and told me he loved the city of Chicago, so now it's come full circle and he's back here and we're happy to have him."
On what jumps out about Whitehair.
"He's an aggressive player, he's really good in space, he plays with great inside hand placement and he's got strong hands. I love offensive linemen with strong inside hands; when they latch on you can't get rid of them. He's a very difficult player to shed once he gets hands on your chest."
On adding versatile offensive linemen and if the best five will line up and play.
"Absolutely. These guys are all versatile. They're all smart and they can all play different positions so Mags (offensive line coach Dave Magazu) is going to have his hand full sorting this out but we promised him we'd load him up with some talent and we're doing that and the offensive line is going to be improved."
The Bears have 4 guards with starting experience on the current roster, so here's Pace on training camp competition on the offensive line.
"It will get physical in camp, no doubt. These guys are fierce competitors. But it is difficult with these bigger guys when we're out here in shorts. You get excited or low on guys, you have to be disciplined and patient for training camp when the real football starts."
On Bullard's traits rushing the passer.
"It's his length, his get off and it's his hand use. I think he needs to work on his pad level a little bit when he's rushing the passer but I think that can be coached. But some things that can't be coached is the twitch and the quickness that he plays with which will help him as a pass rusher."
The Bears may have a base 30 front, but in nickle packages they often go with a 40 front. Here's Pace on the Bears using a four-man defensive line.
"When people say Bullard, they think maybe three-technique but he can be a base 3-4 end and then when we do go to sub he can play three-technique, kind of what he was used to in Florida. He's got the ability to put on weight, he's got the frame to add weight which is easy for him. We've talked a lot to their coaches and the people that have been around him and he has an outstanding work ethic, so him getting stronger in the weight room is not going to be a problem and he put on weight this season and still played at a high level."
On if there's a time that it becomes too late to draft a QB without it being a longshot, like the 6th round.
"I think you can still take swings there. There's still some guys that have intriguing traits. We can probably reference a couple of guys in the league now that were taken then. I think it's a good question, but I don't think it's ever too late if there's a guy that has the qualities that we value at that point in the draft."
On if there was something he valued in Whitehair beyond the college tape.
"Obviously all the intangibles that he brings. He's highly intelligent, he's got excellent work ethic, he has played multiple positions, he's got a great family - just a real stable, strong background - great personality. He's kind of the complete picture in what we were looking for. I think bringing him in here for the 30 visit - what's the value of those? Well for us, it kind of completed the picture for him. Just spending all that time with him in person and talking football and feeling his football intelligence. All of that led us to be excited about that pick when we had a shot to get him.
On if he was surprised Whitehair and Bullard were available at the spots they were drafted.
"We were excited that they were. I wouldn't say surprised. We were excited that they were. I thought that we could go back a little bit. Just looking at the board and kind of having a feel for how it was going to go down. I had a feeling we could go back a little bit and get those guys and get some more picks and it worked out, fortunately, just how we wanted it to."
On all of his picks, dating back to last year, being from a ‘power five' school.
"Honestly it's just by chance. We evaluate them all the same way. A lot of those small school guys it's good to see them at the Senior Bowl or the East/West Game, to see them against better competition. But I have no problem at all with taking a small school player. That's really by chance."
On if he's looking to rebuild the defense from front to back.
"Yeah, it's kind of coming out that way. Especially with the transition to the defense, that's where you've got to make some changes up front as you're looking for the right personnel. Honestly when we're in there, free agency is a little bit different, but in the draft room you're looking across the board and you're just taking the best players."
This is how a defense should be built. You address the trenches, bolster the pass rush, and suddenly your secondary looks better. That's not to say I don't want the Bears to get a safety and a corner on Saturday, but how ever the board falls is how Pace will no doubt draft.
Leonard Floyd and Jonathan Bullard have trained together in the past, so Pace was asked if he talked to Floyd about Bullard.
"No, we never talked about that with him. We talked to thousands of people but we never had that conversation."
What are your thoughts on Pace's day 2 comments?