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Chicago Bears 2017 NFL Draft: Ryan Pace Press Conference Transcript

Ryan Pace spoke with the media and we have the transcript

Chicago Bears Introduce John Fox Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

The Bears made a controversial and surprising pick and no matter what the fans think about it, Ryan Pace did what he thought was best for the franchise’s future.

Here’s what Pace said about taking Mitch Trubisky last night:

Opening Statement on the drafting Mitchell Trubisky

“As we talked at the end of the season, I stressed the importance of the quarterback position, the importance of getting it right and how critical that position is for our long-term success. We’re obviously excited to add a quarterback of this caliber. The only chance you get to add quarterbacks like this is when you’re picking this high in the draft and taking advantage of it. As an organization, we had conviction on this quarterback and his special attributes and we did what we had to do to get him. His potential to be a championship quarterback – and that’s all we focused on in this move. We feel we have the perfect environment for his development. In regards to Mike Glennon, Mike Glennon is our starting quarterback. There is no quarterback competition when Mitch gets here. Glennon is our starting quarterback. We’ll focus on Mitch’s development and Mike Glennon winning games for the Chicago Bears. I talked to Mike tonight. He understands the competiveness of our business at every single position. Mike also understand he’s our starting quarterback. Mike’s been here working hard all the time, already developing leadership with his teammates. I’m extremely excited about Mike Glennon this season and I’m extremely excited about adding Mitch to our roster.”

What made Trubisky the most appealing QB in the class?

“Just as I studied all these other quarterbacks, his accuracy jumps out right away. His ability to process and see the whole field jumps our right away. He’s very athletic, he can extend the play. And one trait you’ll notice is as quarterbacks are extending the play the ability to move around and keep his eyes down field still looking for open targets instead of just tucking the ball and wanting to run. Very good on third-down, very good completion percentage with pressure in his face. Just a lot of traits that he has that translate well to the NFL game.”

On the risk of moving up and taking a quarterback

“If we want to be great you just can’t sit on your hands. There’s times when you’ve got to be aggressive and when you have conviction on a guy, you can’t sit on your hands and I just don’t want to be average around here I want to be great and these are the moves you have to make.”

On if there was competition for moving up to the second pick

“You always feel like there’s competition. So when you have conviction on something – you never know half-the time. It’s like in free agency when the agent tells you he’s got three other teams he’s working with, you never really know. You’ve just got to trust your conviction on it and if you want a player you aggressively go get him.”

Why did he think the trade up was necessary?

“Just in my talks – we have a lot of feelers out there. You’re kind of feeling the situation out and I didn’t want to sit on our hands and have some team jump us and it not work out when we were this close within reach of a player that we all really valued. I didn’t want to sit on our hands and risk not getting that player.”

On not prioritizing the defense

“Part of free agency was kind of the shotgun approach of adding a lot of players in free agency…Maybe more free agents than any other team this off-season. So we did a lot there. Again when we’re picking top-five in a draft and there’s a quarterback that we really like, that’s the only chance you’re really going to have to get a guy like that.”

On the importance of the rest of the draft picks, especially the second round, after giving up picks in the trade

“It’s going to be critical. We’ll go over that tonight and tomorrow morning and there’s still a lot of good players on the board. The scouts are up there right now working through that and that’s on us. We’ll find those players.”

On what he looks for in a QB

“All the traits as far as leadership, how he is with his teammates, what his work ethic is like and all the physical traits as well - the accuracy. All these top quarterbacks, its just their ability to quickly process defenses, process coverage, find open targets, not panic under pressure, deliver accurate throws when there’s a noisy pocket – things are collapsing – those guys all have those traits. And Mitch has those traits, Drew (Brees) has those traits and those are things we value.”

On giving up three picks in the trade

“That’s hard, you’re balancing that. I want to be aggressive. I want to get a guy that we like and we want but you’re giving away picks, those are hard to part ways with. But there’s avenues that we could acquire more picks like we did last year so you’re kind of weighing all that.”

On meeting with and evaluating Mitchell Trubisky

“Going to see him live multiple times – a lot of times just sitting in the stands with a disguise on (Just kidding).We went up there, had a private workout, had dinner with him the night before. Obviously we had the combine experience, pro-day experience. Myself, Coach Fox, Dowell (Loggins), Dave Ragone and Josh Lucas all flew into Chapel Hill and private dinner, private workout – we had a lot of time with him during that experience.”

On his lack of experience as a starter

“That’s been something we talked about a lot. That’s real. But watching every single one of his snaps throughout his career – even when he would get in in 2015 – every time he got in the game he made plays. Every time he got in the game something happened in a positive way so we went back on that and felt good about it.”

On if the 49ers had other offers on the table

“I knew there [were] teams inquiring about going up. There [were] teams calling me at our pick wanting to come up so you could feel that all-around us.”

On the key to his development and footwork

“That’s been something that we worked with on his pro-day; our private workout. He’s been working with Ryan Lindley on that a lot. The thing that I like about Mitch is he’s got great feet. That’s one of the most underrated quality of a quarterback. He’s got really good feet. He’s athletic enough dropping away from center; that shouldn’t be a problem at all. It’s going to be new for him – that’s why he is going to have plenty of time to develop here with a good quarterback coach, a good quarterback room.”

On his game against Stanford, Solomon Thomas

“Yeah, I was actually at that game. I think what I learned in that game was that he faced some adversity within that game, if you remember. There was a turnover, and there was a fumble, and then to watch him respond in the fourth quarter like he did and bring them back was pretty special. Also his athleticism, again we talked about it earlier on, but his athleticism to avoid the rush especially with a talented player like Solomon Thomas chasing you is impressive. Not just the athletic ability to avoid the rush, but make accurate throws on the move. We call them funny body throws, when your feet aren’t set and you have got to make that awkward throw, Mitch can do that.”

On what he learned from his mistakes in that game

There’s things, and what I like about Mitch is he’s very humble, and he’s never going to be a guy that’s going to point fingers. I think it’s just hey, reading defenses. In that instance there were a couple of plays there. What I like is his ability to come to the sidelines, regroup, talk to his coaches, and then go back out and execute at a high level. We always talk about people responding in adverse situations, and he did that.

On timeline of developing Mitch

There’s really no timeline. That’s why I’m fired up we’ve got Mike. Mike’s a good quarterback and I’m excited about him. There’s no rush on this. I think we’ve got a really good situation for Mitch to come into and develop the right way.

On if he is modeling quarterback situation after any other situation

I mean I know a lot of people will talk about Green Bay when Favre was there and Aaron Rodgers came in and there was another veteran quarterback on the roster as well, and the importance of Rodgers’ development while that was going on. One of the things we have to be mindful of is focusing on that development because when you have -- who knows how many quarterbacks we’re going to carry in the 53. Let’s say we’re going to carry the best 53, if we carry 3 quarterbacks we’re going to have to be real conscious of making sure Mitch is getting a lot of development, which I know he will with our coaches. That’s one thing that I take a lot of pride in and I have a lot of respect for about our coaching staff -- it’s their effort and work with all of our younger players, and that’ll continue with Mitch.

How will snaps be divided

“We’re going to have to do a lot of things in practice, and the preseason will be important. As for our coaches, that’ll be a challenge for them to do that. I do know this, he’s got an extremely strong work ethic, so that’s not going to be an issue. That group right now, I’m excited about. I’ve said this before and I know that it sounds like I’m beating the drum but there’s no more important group than that group, and right now think about what we’ve done to our quarterback group. Think about the Chicago Bears and that quarterback group, and think about what it looks like right now, today. I feel pretty good about that.”

On if the pick puts pressure on John Fox

“John and I are arm-in-arm in all of these decisions. So, we talked about this thoroughly, and we’re connected on this. John’s just as excited as I am. So, when you have an opportunity to get a quarterback of this caliber, you can’t pass on it. So we’re good.”

On if it will be harder to win without a 1st round pick that plays

“We still have other avenues to improve our team. We still have the rest of this draft, we had a pretty aggressive free-agency, and competition at the quarterback position is a good thing. How are you going to get better at the quarterback position if you don’t address it like this? I think we have a great situation to have a quarterback of this caliber come in and develop.

On if picking so high forced a narrow focus on quarterback position

“I didn’t want to force it, so we just said ‘Hey, let’s grade all of these players, and who are the highest-graded players on our board?’ and when one of them is a quarterback and he’s right there and that grade fits that then hey, get the quarterback, this is your only opportunity to get a guy that high.”

On rumors that Browns would take him 1 overall

“Yeah, we were just working through that and following that closely. If they would’ve done that, we had a plan in place and we would’ve taken other current draft picks. So, you never know what’s going to go down, there’s so much -- you guys know how it is this time of year -- there’s so many rumors and there’s so many things thrown out there, so we just kind of sat still and let it play out.”

On if that created heightened anxiety

“We’ve played out every single scenario, so it was just like okay we’ve predicted that this could happen, and if it happens that’s okay we’ll do this.”

On what about Trubisky’s personality makes him ready for Chicago

“What I like about his personality -- and you guys will get to meet him hopefully tomorrow -- he’s just even-keeled, you know? He’s just the kind of guy that in a moment of crisis his heart rate is calm. He doesn’t get too high, he doesn’t get too low, he has a very calm, cool demeanor, which I think is important for a quarterback.”

On video of him talking to Trubisky about his beat up car

“So we go to dinner, and we’re walking back to the parking lot all of us, and he’s walking towards his car and he starts laughing. There’s some hubcaps that are missing, and the thing is kind of just falling apart, and we joked at that moment like ‘Hey, you need to bring this car to Chicago, don’t change.’ And he’s like ‘I don’t know if it’s going to make it to Chicago,’ so I said ‘I don’t care if you have to change the engine but you’ve got to keep the shell.’ So, hopefully he brings it.”

On ideal time for him to take over as the starter

“It’s just going to have to run it’s course. I really don’t want to put a timeline on it, you know. Again, I’m really fired up about Mike Glennon, and I think we’ve created the perfect environment for Mitch to develop. You know, we’ve got to be smart about that.”

On how much he emphasized secrecy in this process

“I think it’s difficult this time of year. The draft just becomes so much more focused on the draft, people are doing it year-round now. So I just think it’s harder to keep things quiet now, and so I respect our staff and I think we did a great job with that and he did a great job with that, but it’s really difficult in this time and age to keep things on the down-low.”

On what he wants to see from Trubisky this season to show he is going in the right direction

“Just continued development. I think we talked about the ability to play under center, and get away from the center, those are things that are going to be new for him. The ability to handle an NFL huddle and the verbiage of our offense, those will be some new things for him, but I know he’s intelligent, and I know he’s got a strong work ethic, and I think all of those things will come.”

On if there is a scenario where he could start week 1 or early in the season

“No timelines on that, let’s just let it play out. Mike’s our starting quarterback, Mitch is here to develop.”

On if this will be a hard pick to sell publicly

“I hope everyone is excited about it. The most important position in all of sports is quarterback, and I don’t ever think you’re a great team until you address the position and you address it right. I think that everybody should respect that we’re addressing the quarterback position and we’re being aggressive in that position because it’s the most important position in sports.”