NFL Draft 2021: Everything Bears' Ryan Pace said about the QB class

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Michael Allardyce
·4 min read
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Everything Ryan Pace said about the 2021 QB class originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Chicago Bears need a quarterback, despite pledging their allegiance to Andy Dalton after he signed a one-year contract.

And the jobs of general manger Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy might depend on the Bears' future at the position.

With a talented pool of quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft and Pace's penchant for moving up draft boards, it's caused some healthy speculation the Bears will make a move to nab one of those quarterbacks.

And when Pace spoke to the media on Tuesday ahead of the draft, he was asked about quarterbacks a lot. And here's what he had to say.

On how the 2021 QB class compares to recent draft classes

"To be honest, just the depth, the totality of that group, it is deep this year. And they're all different," Pace said.

Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State's Justin Fields, BYU's Zach Wilson, Alabama's Mac Jones and North Dakota State's Trey Lance are all expected to go in the first round. Perhaps others, like Florida's Kyle Trask, could slip into the first round as well.

But perhaps most notable is a hint at where the Bears' could look at quarterback...

Bears have taken advantage of deep position classes before

"Every year, you feel different areas of the draft where there’s depth, and sometimes we’ve been able to take advantage of that," Pace said. "I think Day 3 picks for us where there’s been depth in that area of the draft, like when we took Tarik [Cohen] or Eddie Jackson or when we took [Darnell] Mooney last year, those were areas where I thought there was a lot of depth and it trickled into even Day 3 because of that.”

To be fair, Pace does have an excellent record in late rounds.

RELATED: Ryan Pace's 10 best Bears NFL draft picks, ranked

Aside from the names he mentioned before, safety Adrian Amos and defensive lineman Bilal Nichols were also great Day 3 picks.

And the Dallas Cowboys have a franchise quarterback in Dak Prescott they selected in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was also a fourth-round pick. And, of course, you have to point out Tom Brady was a late-round pick, as well.

Conviction among staff will implore Pace to make a move

Pace talked about what it takes for him to move up in the draft, and it all comes down to the c-word, conviction.

"When we trade up for guys, the first thing that comes to my mind... the conviction that we have throughout our building," Pace said. Like, you know when there's a consensus pick and you can feel it from our coaches and scouts and I know everybody's going to be excited when we make that selection and walk out of the room.

"It gives me more confidence to go do that.

Ideal scenario to draft a quarterback

The Bears have a coaching staff that knows quarterbacks. They also have a Super Bowl MVP in Nick Foles and a seasoned veteran in Andy Dalton.

So much so that it might almost be an ideal scenario to draft and groom a quarterback to be the face of a franchise and focal point of an offense.

And Pace agrees.

"I think if we did draft a quarterback, it's a good room for sure," Pace told reporters. "Those guys both have a lot of experience. A lot of different experiences, too, which I think is good.

"I think the coaching staff that we have there is strong, as well. We talked about it earlier with Matt and [Bill] Lazor and [John DeFilippo]. It's a strong coaching staff around that position. We have a lot of veteran leadership in that room, too.

"To answer your question, I do think it'd be a good room for a young player to enter. But again, we're just going to take the best players throughout this draft.

Experience of Nagy, Lazor and DeFilippo vital

A lot of the Bears coaching staff has played quarterback at various levels of football, and that experience will be valuable to the Bears as they examine players in that position.

"I think there’s certain positions I think it is valuable if you’ve played that position. And I think quarterback is one of those," Pace said.

"And all three of those guys have played the position at different levels, and I think it comes into play as we’re talking about that position and just the different perspective they have on it and the different angle they have on it as we have our draft meetings."

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