Bears general manager Ryan Pace worked the 2020 NFL draft board like he has in almost every draft since he took over as the team's general manager in 2015. This time, he made an aggressive trade in the fifth round -- one that cost the team a fourth-round pick in 2021 -- for Tulsa edge rusher, Trevis Gipson.
Gipson was a productive player for the Golden Hurricane in 2019 when he totaled eight sacks and 15 tackles for loss despite his status as a raw and still-developing player. The Bears took note of his upside at the 2020 Senior Bowl, and after he continued to slide on Day 3 of the draft, Pace pulled the trigger to snag a player with an extremely high pass-rush ceiling.
Gipson needs work to reach his full potential, however. His pass-rush arsenal is promising but underdeveloped and he has to get stronger at the point of attack. But he landed in the best possible situation for a player with his traits; he'll learn from two of the best pass-rushers in the league in Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn.
"[I'm] being a sponge," Gipson said Thursday night on the Bears All-Access radio show on WSCR 670 AM. "Taking in the right stuff from the right people that have already been a part of the league and just making sure their mistakes that they made I try to avoid those myself.
"It's really just being open to the new environment, getting to know the people that you're going to be around. Khalil Mack hit me up; asked me if I needed anything, that he was there for me. [I'm] getting a feel for everybody and being all eyes open."
Gipson, like all NFL rookies, has yet to experience a day's work in an NFL facility because of the restrictions in place due to COVID-19.
"I'm really anxious to get up there and get a feel for the environment and the amazing fans and just get ready to spend the next couple years of my life there in Chicago," he said.
Gipson is a big part of a 2020 draft class that was without a first-round pick because of the Mack trade in 2018. But even without that first-rounder, the Bears managed to land two likely starters in tight end Cole Kmet and cornerback Jaylon Johnson in Round 2 and Gipson, who profiles as a rotational pass-rusher in his first season, in Round 5.
Before Gipson becomes an every-down player in the NFL, he'll have to cut his teeth on special teams. It's a task he's more than ready for.
"Special teams played a real big part of my college career, especially the first two years when I wasn't playing defensively much. I'm really excited to basically start the whole process over again, learn new stuff, more technique, just a whole new level of the game. I'm real anxious for that and I'm sure it will be a real good adrenaline rush running down on kickoffs."
Trevis Gipson says he's 'being a sponge' as he transitions to life in the NFL originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago