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Chalk Talk: How do Bears set draft board?

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on

How do the Bears set up their draft board? For instance, do they select a certain number of players they would take at No. 20? Looking for any insight you can provide.
Phil K.
Wheaton, Illinois

Interesting question, Phil. I posed it to Ryan Pace during his pre-draft video press conference and here's how the Bears general manager responded: "Our board is stacked by position and then it's stacked, we call it a value line. So we have picks 1-32, picks in the second round, third round, so we can see how we would value, how we would stack it up in the first round. We know where there's a line. For us, there might be 35 players that we all think that are valuable drafted in the first round. There might be 28, there might be 25. Whatever it is, we know where that line is. I think for us, based on how the board falls, that's when our game plan can change, we think we want to go up, we want to stay put, we want to go back. We line them up that way as part of the collaborative process that we go through as we do this."

How many times have the Bears traded up versus traded down in the draft with Ryan Pace as general manager?
Adam S.

Since Ryan Pace became general manager in 2015, the Bears have traded up seven times and traded down three times in the draft—with all three of those moves down in the second round. They traded up to pick outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski in 2016, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and safety Eddie Jackson in 2017, receiver Anthony Miller in 2018, running back David Montgomery in 2019 and receiver Darnell Mooney in 2020. They traded down twice before taking offensive lineman Cody Whitehair in 2016 and moved down before picking tight end Adam Shaheen in 2017. They also made an 11th draft-day trade last year, dealing a 2020 fourth-round pick to the Vikings for a fifth-round choice they spent on outside linebacker Trevis Gipson.

Who are the best kickoff returners in the draft?
Ryan B.

Most draft analysts I've read agree that the top kickoff returners in the draft include three receivers: Alabama's Jaylen Waddle, Florida's Kadarius Toney and Western Michigan's D'Wayne Eskridge. Waddle is among the best receivers in the draft. He returned only nine kickoffs the past two seasons, but he averaged 23.8 yards and scored one touchdown. Toney averaged 21.6 yards on 15 returns in four seasons. Eskridge only returned kickoffs last season, but he excelled, averaging 27.5 yards on 17 returns with one TD.

Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.

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