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Bears' Ackley wins award as one of NFL's top scouts

Breck Ackley

INDIANAPOLIS – Bears area scout Breck Ackley was one of 10 NFL scouts presented with an inaugural BART Award Wednesday night at the NFL Combine.

He was honored at the 13th annual Inside the League Combine seminar in the Indiana Convention Center.

"It's humbling," said Ackley, who joined the Bears in 2012. "We do a job where you don't get recognized for a lot of stuff, so it's pretty cool to receive some recognition. But it was really cool to see some of the other scouts here from our team and share it with them because really, at the end of the day, working with for this many years, they helped me develop into who I am."

The BART Awards recognize the NFL's top scouts. They're named after former Rams scout Danton Barto, who passed away last August due to COVID-19 complications at the age of 50. All scouts who have been active in the league for at least five of the last six seasons were eligible to vote for their top peers.

"That's probably what makes it the most special, honestly, because those are the guys you really, in actuality, go day-in and day-out [with]," Ackley said. "They're in schools with you, they know your work, know your quality of work. So that's probably what means the most is that you get recognized by them."

After being responsible for the middle part of the country from Minnesota down to Louisiana during his first two years with the Bears, Ackley has covered the southwest region ever since. Players on the current roster he scouted include receiver Darnell Mooney—a steal in the fifth round of the 2020 draft—as well as guard Cody Whitehair and outside linebacker Trevis Gipson.

As a player, Ackley was a kicker and punter at Southern University from 2003-06, leaving as the school's all-time leading scorer. As a senior, he was named a first-team I-AA All-American by the American Football Coaches Association as a punter and chosen first-team All-Southwest Athletic Conference as a kicker.

Before joining the Bears, Ackley worked as a graduate assistant coach at Southern, his alma mater, in 2010 and Southeastern Louisiana in 2011.

Ackley changed his career path in 2012, transitioning from coaching to scouting. A decade later, it's a decision he remains happy he made.

"Every day's a little different," Ackley said. "You get to walk into a different building. You get to meet new people, build relationships. It's a lot of driving, a lot of travel. But every day's refreshing because you're going into a new place and figuring out new things."