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Bears Draft Primer

Technology-wise, Bears ready for virtual draft


From a Bears' standpoint, general manager Ryan Pace is confident that the first virtual draft in NFL history will go off without a hitch.

Pace normally spends the draft in a large conference room at Halas Hall with more than a dozen members of his personnel staff. But with NFL facilities closed due to the coronavirus, Pace will be orchestrating the Bears draft Thursday through Sunday from the dining room of his home.

The Bears showed Pace's setup in a recent Twitter post.

Throughout the draft, Pace will stay in constant contact via video conferencing with coach Matt Nagy, director of player personnel Josh Lucas, director of college scouting Mark Sadowski, director of football administration Joey Laine, assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly and others.

"It was a steady build over the last month as we added technology to all of our homes," Pace said Tuesday during a conference call with the media. "About a week ago, we had our IT come in and really set up our house, so I'll probably have seven different monitors here that we're all working off of."

Pace has been pleased with how well the pre-draft preparation has gone, repeatedly praising the Bears' IT and video departments.

"It's been really seamless," Pace said. "It's been better and quicker and easier than I expected. We had the mock draft [Monday] with the whole league and it went really smooth from our end, and just communication with our scouts and coaches this whole time has been really good.

"I think in a lot of ways we've learned a lot from this, just in some of the different ways we can operate going forward, just to make things more efficient. That part actually has been really good."

Working from home has given Pace the chance to spend more time with his wife, Stephanie, and their 10-year-old daughter, Cardyn. But there have also been some unique challenges.

"The other day, I've got this amazing setup with all these screens, and Stephanie's vacuuming and hits the cord and every screen goes black," Pace said. "So you're dealing with the at-home conditions.

"But they've been awesome. And part of it has been really, really good because I can't remember the last time for a month straight that we've sat down together and had dinner together every night. That's rare, probably for a lot of us. So that part's been pretty neat."

After Pace noticed some computer issues when his daughter used the Wi-Fi in their home, the Bears' IT department made some upgrades to his setup.

"They boosted the bandwidth and there's a cord that runs directly from the router upstairs all the way down the stairs all the way to the dining room," he said. "So hopefully nobody trips over the cord or unplugs anything with the vacuum again. We should be in a good spot.

"But prior to this cord, when I just had the Wi-Fi going, when Cardyn would hop on something on her iPad, I could feel the Wi-Fi diminish. We'd be on an interview with a player and it'd be coming in and out. So we kind of joked about that. There will be a lot of fun stories to tell when this is all said and done. It's been a really unique circumstance, but they've been awesome though the whole process and I'm just very thankful for them."

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