Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears were able to move up and down the 2016 NFL Draft, address needs, but also get good value on all nine selections.
Their defense was bolstered with two possible new starters (and by starters I mean base or nickle package players) in outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and defensive end Jonathan Bullard. The secondary will have plenty of competition now with Deon Bush, Deiondre' Hall and DeAndre Houston-Carson. Hall and Houston-Carson could compete at either safety or corner, and Bush will bring the hammer from safety. Inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski will provide depth at what was last year's weakest position.
Offensively the Bears added a running back that will push for starter's carries in Jordan Howard. Offensive guard was a mess last year, so they added the top OG in the draft with Cody Whitehair. And Daniel Braverman was one of the best slot receivers in all of college football last year.
Head coach John Fox wanted more talent, and general manager Ryan Pace delivered.
Here are the post draft press conference transcripts from Ryan Pace
"Productive day three. Drafted six players. Common trait with all these guys I would say is toughness and instincts. It's something we've emphasized and it's something we drafted today for sure. College free agency is kind of wrapping up right now. It's kind of like being on the floor of Wall Street right now upstairs. It's busy. The guys are doing a great job and I know the scouts take a lot of pride in that."
Pace on signing quarterback Brian Hoyer (WCG LINK)
"On another note, I'm sure all of you guys have heard. We've agreed to terms with Brian Hoyer on a one-year deal as a quarterback, so we're fired up about that as well. A lot of starting experience with him, familiarity with Dowell Loggains and productive when he played last year, so we're excited to have an experienced quarterback in that role."
On fourth round pick Nick Kwiatkoski;
"Just to touch on some of the guys we drafted today. Nick Kwiatkoski, the inside linebacker that we traded up to get him. We had a lot of conviction in him, it's a guy we liked, he's a three-year starter, a team captain, very instinctive, a tough nose player, plays downhill and very productive. So, a guy we valued to go up and get him and a guy we are real excited to have."
On fourth round pick Deon Bush;
"Deon Bush, the safety from Miami. Good athlete, also a very physical player. Like the fact that he throws his body around just plays with toughness, plays with instincts and plays fast on the field. So, another guy we were fired up about to get."
On fourth round pick Deiondre' Hall;
"Deiondre' Hall from Northern Iowa. Extremely versatile player. He can play corner, he can play safety. He has rare length for the position when you look at it and I think that's important for that position as well. Also very tough and competitive when you watch him on tape. Again, I like his versatility; corner, nickel, safety. Really good ball skills. Had six interceptions this year, so just a versatile player."
On fifth round pick Jordan Howard;
"In the fifth round, Jordan Howard from Indiana. I mean this guy is a downhill, physical, north/south runner. I just like the style and physicality that he plays with as well. I think he complements our other backs very well. Type of running back that can just wear down the defense, just a very physical nature."
On sixth round pick DeAndre Houston-Carson;
"Sixth round, DeAndre Houston-Carson from William & Mary. Another versatile player. He can play corner, he can play safety. We see him as a safety right now. Very physical player, hits with explosiveness. Very good special teams player as well. This is a guy Jeff Rodgers is fired up about. He blocked nine kicks in his career, so a guy we're excited to have that can help in that area."
On seventh round pick Daniel Braverman;
"And then in the seventh round, Daniel Braverman. This is a guy our scouts liked a lot. Real nifty, sudden slot receiver. Real instinctive in that area; finds holes in zones, a productive player and we're excited to have him. So it was a good day. Adding Brian Hoyer was a good get and it's still going on right now and so we're excited."
The timing of the Hoyer signing sure seemed like the Bears were waiting to see how the draft shook out, so Pace was asked if signing him was contingent on them drafting a quarterback;
"You know it had been in the works for a while, so it was probably going to go down no matter what. So yeah."
On what he likes about Brian Hoyer;
"I just like that his touchdown-interception ratio last year was 19 touchdowns, seven interceptions. So, when he's played, he's been productive. I like that Dowell [Loggains] has been with him and has a lot of comfort with him. I've watched him play over the years. Very intelligent player. I know that he has strong work ethic because we have coaches that have been with him. So, I think he's a good piece to add to the mix."
Current back up QB David Fales has yet to play in a regular season game, so Pace was asked if there is a preference for more experience at the backup quarterback position;
"You know I do like the idea of having a more experienced backup there. It's important for that position and it just gives us security going forward. Again, I think it's key and we talked about during free agency, I love it when we have familiarity with these guys from coaches. I think it reduces the risk or some of the questions you might have and Dowell [Loggains] was passionate about this player and then watching the tape, I was too. So, I'm glad we got him in the mix."
On how it was see so many quarterbacks on the board when the day began;
"It was interesting to see how it fell out. Obviously we are taking best player available every time, so the way it worked out for us is that we didn't draft a quarterback. We would have if it lined up right for us, but I'm glad we got [Brian] Hoyer."
There was a report that the Bears tried to trade up for Michigan State's Connor Cook.
Here's Pace on how he sees Nick Kwiatkoski translating his play to NFL
"Good question. I feel that John [Fox] would come in my office throughout the season and go ‘hey, I want throwback players, I want throwback players'. He definitely fits that mold. What I like most about him, his number one trait when you're looking for a linebacker is instincts because you can't coach that you know? He just reacts so quick and he attacks downhill, so he's making tackles behind the line of scrimmage and I think indicts transfer to whatever level you're playing at. That's what I like about him. You know it's funny; I talked to Kevin White about him today. Just as a [former] teammate and obviously he was fired up about it too, so we have two Mountaineers here and good to go."
On Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio's reaction to drafting so many defensive players;
"Vic and Dowell have been kind of lobbying in my office over the past two weeks and dragging each other out of there. It's just the way it worked out. We were taking best player available and it just happened to be on the defensive side of the ball and we're fired up about it and the help on special teams as well."
On what the defensive draft picks will gain for the Bears defense;
"It's just team speed, you know. Physicality, all these guys are versatile, which I think is important in today's game."
On scouting for traits and confidence in the coaching staff;
"I think when you take a player, some of these guys they're not finished products, so you take a guy that's a little raw. Our scouts, and as coaches, we see the physical traits so we always say you can get the bigger and stronger but you can't get the faster and more athletic. So when you see a guy that has the twitch, speed and athleticism and they're a little raw, it's great to have the coaching staff we have because there's just so much confidence when you put in that room they're going to flourish and get better. So as a scout, and as an evaluator, it's awesome to see that."
On if he's been in a situation where the coaching staff hasn't got the most out of the talent;
"I'm just really high on our coaches here so I'm real excited about adding players for this coaching staff."
On Hoyer fitting into the quarterbacks room;
"We always ask ourselves 'what kind of teammate are they? Are they unselfish? Are they for the better of the team?' (Brian) Hoyer definitely fits all those qualities. Talking to Dowell (Loggains), that quarterback room is a tight-knit room, you're always conscience who you're putting in there and Hoyer's a really intelligent player. Those guys spend a lot of hours together so you think about all the film they'll watch when they're studying the opponent and it's nice to have a guy with that kind of experience and that kind of background to pair with Jay (Cutler) as we're preparing for opponents."
On if he spoke to Jay Cutler about adding Brian Hoyer to the roster;
"No, I've been kind of held up in one room so I haven't talked to him but I know he knows we're adding competition at the position and Hoyer provides competition as well."
On if it helps to have a year experience going into this draft;
"Yeah, it was great. Just knowing your roster is huge. Knowing all the personality types, knowing our evaluators and our coaches and just, honestly, for me, just year two into this, just being more comfortable in the draft room. As we're making trades and you're on the clock and you're going up or you're going back, it's just having confidence in the guys around you. It's really a team effort and me being able to lean on those guys just put me at ease and I thought this draft just went really, really smooth. I love the fact that we got the players we wanted, we were able to acquire more picks in the process and acquire a lot of talent this year. So, yeah, being more familiar with our roster is huge but surrounding me with a team of scouts and coaches that I'm really comfortable with made a big difference."
On RB Jordan Howard adding a different dimension to the offensive backfield along with RB Jeremy Langford;
"Yeah, we talked about it a lot with Dowell (Loggains) and Stan Drayton how these running backs compliment each other. Jordan Howard is that physical pounder and we just love that style of play from him so it was good. You kind of want to mix those guys together, he brought a little bit of a different dimension that I think will fit very well into that room. He's a highly-productive player and I think with these running backs they better have good vision and he has really good vision and he runs really hard and that's a pretty good combination."
On not selecting a tight end;
"It was a pretty thin position this year to be honest with you. When I talk about being careful about moving guys up to high based of needs, or what not, we were conscience of that. The board didn't fall that way for us but college free agency is going on now, we're going to be aggressive at the tight end position there and there's still other avenues to upgrade the position if we feel necessary. We like the guys we have as well."
The Bears did add a couple tight ends as undrafted free agents. (WCG LINK)
On the intangibles of some of the draftees;
"Some of these guys are three- or four-year starters. I think it talks about the caliber of players that they are. A lot of these guys are team captains, we talked about that. But really it's just individual tape and just, hey, 'who are the best guys' and just looking at the talent. The fact that these guys are multi-year starters and team captains, a lot of these guys, that was significant."
What are your thoughts on Pace's portion of the post draft presser?
I'll have John Fox's comments up soon...