Before making too much fun of mock drafts swirling around this time of the NFL year, understand this: Upstairs at Halas Hall, where Bears scouts, personnel execs and coaches noodle through grades on players in drafts, there is a mock draft pool (no word, however, on who won last year’s with the most correctly predicted picks).
GM Ryan Pace confirmed on Wednesday that the Bears’ board is in fact set, meaning that players have been ranked by grade in advance of Thursday’s first round and the six rounds to come over Friday and Saturday.
So since the Bears know what they think of players, “the last two days have been kind of us sitting in the office and going over those different scenarios, which is always entertaining,” Pace said, smiling. “Somebody’ll throw a curve ball in there and you kind of give him a hard time.”
It’s more than an exercise in friendly competition. Possible what-if scenarios allow the Bears to do walk-through’s of what their reaction will to particular players coming off their draft board, and whether a trade up or back in the draft can be done, all pointed toward landing an impact player, especially with the first-round pick.
But scenarios will be played out in later rounds as well, with the Bears in prime position with two fourth-round and two sixth-round picks.
“There’s different ‘pockets’ [of players] in rounds,” Pace said. “We might be looking at a position and say, ‘Hey, there’s a lot of quality fourth-round guys at this position, but there’s not a lot up here in the first round, so this is a position if we’re going to attack, and there’s some dudes in the third or fourth round that we feel really strongly about at that value…’
“As I visualize our draft board, I can see where those pockets of guys are.”
Which of course gives him an edge in the mock-draft pool.