Bears won’t change approach to Combine

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The Bears have selected a player in the first 10 picks of the draft in each of Ryan Pace’s first four years as the team’s general manager.

After trading their first two choices this year, the Bears don’t have a pick until the third round. But Pace won’t approach this week’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis any differently than he has in the past.

“Honestly it doesn’t change because you don’t know how things are going to work out,” Pace told ChicagoBears.com. “There are so many different scenarios that could play out and we’ve got to be prepared for one of those and all the different outcomes.

“We could have players that we have ranked high that fall. As we’ve shown before we could move around in the draft; there’s always that possibility. So I don’t think you treat the Combine any different than any year.”

Pace has traded up in the first round twice in the last three years. He moved up two spots to select outside linebacker Leonard Floyd at No. 9 in 2016 and one position to choose quarterback Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2 in 2017. Pace remained at No. 8 last year and picked inside linebacker Roquan Smith.

All three first-round draft choices played integral roles in leading the Bears to the NFC North championship with a 12-4 record in 2018. Trubisky was named to the Pro Bowl, while Floyd and Smith were both Pro Bowl alternates.

Another reason the Bears won’t change their approach to the Combine is that many players who will be drafted before they go on the clock will be available at some point down the road.

“At the Combine we’re not just gathering information for this draft,” Pace said. “We’re gathering information for future years, too, for when these guys are free agents or whatnot. There’s just a lot of collecting of data going on.”

The Bears won’t pick until the third round this year because they dealt their first- and sixth-round picks to the Raiders as part of the blockbuster Khalil Mack trade and sent their second-round choice to the Patriots to move up to select receiver Anthony Miller in the second round of last year’s draft.

Mack was voted first-team All-Pro and selected to his fourth straight Pro Bowl after leading the Bears with 12.5 sacks, a career-high six forced fumbles and 18 quarterback hits. He also ranked second on the team with 10 tackles-for-loss.

Miller led the Bears with seven touchdown receptions, the second most by an NFL rookie behind only the Falcons’ Calvin Ridley, who had 10. The seven TDs were the most by a Bears rookie since Willie Gault had eight in 1983.

The Bears have five choices in the April 25-27 draft: No. 87 in the third round, No. 126 in the fourth round, No. 162 in the fifth round and Nos. 222 and 238 in the seventh round. The 222nd pick was acquired from the Eagles last year in exchange for cornerback Deiondre’ Hall. 

The Combine will kick off Tuesday and run through next Monday. Approximately 330 of the nation's top draft-eligible college players will be poked, prodded, timed, weighed and interviewed at the annual event at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Bears will be well-represented at the seven-day gathering, with Pace being joined by coach Matt Nagy; assistant coaches; staffers from the college scouting, pro personnel and video departments; and doctors, trainers and strength coaches.

The NFL prospects will participate in position drills and be timed in the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and shuttle run; tested in the vertical jump and broad jump; and asked to bench-press 225 pounds as many times as they can.

Every evening beginning Thursday, each NFL team will conduct 15-minute interviews with 60 prospects they had to choose in advance. Like their counterparts, the Bears hold their interviews in a hotel suite.

The players also take the Wonderlic test, an exam of problem-solving ability that measures intelligence. Participants have 12 minutes to answer 50 questions.

Medical tests are also a key aspect of the evaluation process. Players who have suffered injuries in college are sent to a nearby hospital for an X-ray, and those who've had surgery are typically asked to take an MRI exam.

Pace and Nagy are scheduled to speak to the media Wednesday in Indianapolis. ChicagoBears.com will have complete coverage of their sessions as well as the rest of the Combine.

These Bears showed off their strength when they participated in the NFL Combine, pushing out more bench reps than anyone else currently on the roster.

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