INDIANAPOLIS — Here are the five most interesting things Bears general manager Ryan Pace said Tuesday (Non-Mitch Trubisky Edition):
A new running back?
Pace and coach Matt Nagy have spent time this offseason trying to find ways to get receiver/special-teams ace Cordarrelle Patterson more involved on offense. That includes using him at running back more often. Patterson’s 7.62 yards per carry in his career are the most since the NFL/AFL merger for players with at least 100 rushes.
‘‘Obviously, he’s an explosive, talented player,’’ Pace said. ‘‘That can be at running back, receiver, returner. We’re going to make sure we’re getting the most out of that player because he’s too talented not to.’’
The Bears plan on the four players who’ve had recent surgery being back for the start of training camp at the latest. They are quarterback Mitch Trubisky (left shoulder), tight end Trey Burton (hip labrum), inside linebacker Roquan Smith (pectoral muscle) and receiver Anthony Miller (shoulder).
Burton was never healthy last season after having sports-hernia surgery last spring.
‘‘Our hope is that we finally kind of solved the issue and that there’s an upward trajectory now with him,’’ Pace said. ‘‘That’s our hope. We’ll see when the players get back in April.’’
Pace sounded pleased with Smith’s season despite the fact he missing three games because of injury and another for personal reasons.
‘‘When he was healthy last year and playing right, you saw the player that we drafted and why we took him so high,’’ Pace said. ‘‘Our outlook on him is very optimistic.’’
Joint practices and training camp
The Bears are working to schedule joint practices with the Broncos in Denver in August, culminating in a preseason game. Since being hired in 2015, Pace has taken his team on the road for joint practices against the Colts, Patriots and Broncos.
‘‘It’s a controlled environment against another team, it breaks up the monotony of camp and it allows us to evaluate another roster, too,’’ Pace said. ‘‘But I think the biggest thing is you’re able to have physical practices, but a little more controlled than a preseason game would be.’’
Pace said moving the Bears’ training camp from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais to Halas Hall will benefit his players.
‘‘Our facility, what we invested in that, it’s such a taxing time on our players’ bodies,’’ he said. ‘‘To be there with all those valuable resources is huge. We respect ONU and Bourbonnais and everything we had there and the history there, but I think coming back for us is really going to benefit our players from a recovery standpoint and preparation standpoint.’’
A compensatory pick
The Bears anticipate getting a compensatory draft pick for the first time since 2009, Pace said. The pick, which is a fourth-rounder, is awarded via a formula to teams that lose more than they gain in free agency the season before.
The Bears also are getting a sixth-round pick from the Eagles and a conditional seventh-rounder from the Raiders. That gives the Bears eight picks: two in the second round, one in the fourth, one in the fifth, two in the sixth and two in the seventh.
Who fills in?
After cutting receiver Taylor Gabriel and cornerback Prince Amukamara on Friday, the Bears plan to use a combination of players already on the roster and free agents to fill in.
‘‘There’s some guys there that we like,’’ Pace said.
Cornerback Kevin Toliver has started two games in two seasons, and Canadian Football League transplant Tre Roberson, whom the Bears signed last month, could compete for playing time.
‘‘He’s an intriguing player,’’ Pace said. ‘‘Really good ball skills, really good anticipation and instincts. He has — I’m not comparing him to [cornerback Kyle] Fuller — but he has that style of play in how he can anticipate and jump routes.’’