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Bears Draft Primer

Pace shares thoughts on important Bears issues


Ryan Pace didn't divulge any secrets during his pre-draft video conference call with the media Tuesday. But the Bears general manager did discuss a variety of different topics during the 27-minute session. Here are some highlights:

On why the Bears released veteran tight end Trey Burton after two seasons:
"I think as we took a full evaluation of our roster after free agency, and factored everything in, that was the best decision for us. And we wish him nothing but the best of luck. He had a good first year for us, but unfortunately for him and for us, the injuries kind of added up. We just felt at this time that was the best course of action for our team."

On whether Burton's release will affect how the Bears view the tight end position in the draft:
"That's a position we've emphasized. We did in free agency with the signing of Jimmy Graham and Demetrius Harris. So we have some guys there we like. I think the one silver lining last year as we went through that position is that we did accumulate some guys who are interesting for us. I know we have a lot of tight ends and we have to filter through that. But there are some guys in that tight end room that are very intriguing and interesting for us. But with the adding of Jimmy Graham and Demetrius Harris, I think that helps fortify that group a bit. But also it's a good tight end draft, so if there are guys there that we like, we'd consider it."

On how satisfied he is with the depth at cornerback:
"We did some things in the offseason to help that. We're excited about [Kevin] Toliver. We added Artie Burns. We have some young guys we're excited about developing. When I look at corner, for me it's really no different than pass rusher; you cannot have enough of those guys. So I think it's something we're always looking at improving."

On whether he feels the need to replace receiver Taylor Gabriel, who was released:
"We like the depth of our receiver room. Drafting [Riley] Ridley last year helped. Getting CP (Cordarrelle Patterson) more involved, I think that's big for us. There's some young guys that need to step up. We've got some young guys there that I think that are developing really well. Getting Anthony Miller back healthy and obviously, [Allen Robinson's] talent, we like the room. That kind of helped a little bit with the decision when we did release Taylor."

On signing free-agent kicker Ramiz Ahmed:
"We knew we wanted to add competition. Competition is good for everyone and I think [special-teams coordinator Chris] Tabor and his guys do a good job of going to a lot of these kicking camps. I think this one was maybe [Gary] Zauner's kicking camp and [the Bears are] just gathering information on these kickers and how they're doing. We liked [Ahmed] coming out of college and we feel like he's gotten better like a lot of these young kickers do. But the evaluation really took place with Tabor at the kicking camp and kind of where he is right now."

On Ahmed challenging for incumbent Eddy Pineiro's job:
"Yeah, we see those guys competing. Look, we love Eddy and we think his future is very bright. So, we think competition is good for everyone. Don't expect the number of kickers we had in here last year, but I think those two competing against each other is a really good thing."

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