Pace doesn’t take any chances, trades up to get Leonard Floyd
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Ryan Pace wasn’t going to take any chances.
With Georgia outside linebacker Leonard Floyd the consensus pick among Bears scouts and coaches and a “pretty strong feeling” they might get aced out, the Bears general manager made sure he got his man by trading a fourth-round pick (No. 106 overall) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to move from 11th to ninth in the first round of the NFL draft. They leap-frogged the Giants, where were presumed to like Floyd.
“We were concerned he would go a couple of picks ahead of us,” Pace said. “This is a guy we wanted, so we didn’t want to sit on our hands. The luxury of having extra picks [the Bears started with nine] gives us the ammunition to do those things.
“There was a consensus on this player — all the scouts, coaches had this guy graded very similar. That kind of makes it an easier decision. We were excited about it and wanted to be aggressive and ensure we get the guy we wanted.”
It was the first time the Bears traded up in the first round since 1996, when they traded a third- and sixth-round pick to move from No. 18 to No. 13 to take cornerback Walt Harris — a six-year starter and 13-year pro.
The only other time the Bears moved up in the first round in franchise history was in 1976, when they jumped from 10th to eighth to take offensive tackle Dennis Lick, the St. Rita product who started for five seasons — blocking for Walter Payton in his hey-day — before suffering a career-ending injury.
The Fangio Factor
One knock on Floyd is that his on-field performance at Georgia didn’t always match his tremendous athleticism. But Pace is confident that defensive coordinator Vic Fangio — who has a history of maxing out defensive players in general and linebackers in particular — gives Floyd the best chance to make the transition to the NFL.
“It’s huge [to have Fangio],” Pace said. “And Vic likes this guy a lot. Clint Hurtt [outside linebackers coach] does too. Both those guys are excellent coaches. It just gives me a lot of confidence when you bring someone like this in the building for them to further develop the player.”
Seven more picks — for now
The Bears still have seven draft picks remaining. They have the 10th pick of the second round (41st overall) and the ninth pick of the third round (72nd overall) to start Friday night’s portion of the draft.
They still have five picks in rounds 4-7 on Saturday — No. 127 (third round); No. 150 (fourth); No. 150 (fifth); Nos. 185 and 206 (sixth) and No. 230 (seventh).
Tape trumps all
Floyd has impressive measureables — a 4.6 40, a 39 1/2-inch vertical jump and 10-7 broad jump at the scouting combine. But he didn’t finish the workouts because of a hamstring issue. And he cut short his pro-day workouts because of a stomach ailment. But Pace was satisfied the Bears did enough homework to know what they’ve got.
“We spent a ton of time with him,” Pace said. “We were at those workouts; we interviewed him at the combine; we brought him [to Halas Hall] — got a lot of coaches who had background with him.
“For some guys, workouts are important and you can see their speed, change of direction, hips. But some guys, the athleticism is so evident on tape. The workouts matter, but you’ve just got to be careful with it.”
Pace said the Bears had no interest in Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil — a possible No. 1 overall pick in recent mock drafts who was available at No. 9. Tunsil was drafted by the Dolphins at No. 13 overall.