Mike Mayock: Bears’ Ryan Pace an ‘inside-out’ drafter

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Mike Mayock liked Bears GM Ryan Pace’s selection of Kevin White in the first round last season; he was the top receiver on the NFL Network analyst’s list.

Still, he would characterize the second-year GM’s general strategy as more focused on linemen — good news, maybe, in what Mayock calls perhaps the best draft for interior defensive linemen ever.

“His next couple picks (after White last year, defensive tackle Eddie Goldman and center Hroniss Grasu) were … they were really solid, good picks from an inside-out perspective,” Mayock said Tuesday. “That’s what I think I’ve seen a little bit with Ryan — he’s an inside-out guy, believes in O-line, D-line, but he’s not afraid to take a shot with an explosive guy like Kevin White.”

Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith could provide Pace with an opportunity to get good value; after a devastating knee injury, the linebacker could fall to the Bears at No. 11, though he might not play for the first part of the season.

“If he had clean medicals, where you knew you were gonna get him for the second half of the season, I don’t care who the team is — Chicago or anyone in the league — this kid is so good that if the medical’s clean, you have to take a big-picture look at him,” Mayock said. “And by that, I mean two years from now. Do you want to have maybe one of the two or three or four best linebackers in football, and you might have to wait half a season for him? To me, every team is going to have a different answer to that. I’m not sure what Chicago’s would be.”

The NFL Scouting Combine starts this week, with Pace and coach John Fox meeting the media Wednesday.

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

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