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2016 Chicago Bears Yearbook

CHIICAGO BEARS FRONT OFFICE RYAN PACE GENERAL MANAGER Ryan Pace is in his second season as general manager of the Chicago Bears. He is the sixth general manager in franchise history after being hired on January 8, 2015. Emphasizing synergy with the team’s head coach, Pace’s first move was to hire John Fox, one-of-six coaches in NFL history to lead two different teams to Super Bowl appearances, to lead the Chicago Bears coaching staff. With the head coach in place, he went on to reshape the team’s football operations, bringing in the team’s first sports science coordinator (Jenn Gibson) along with hiring a new head of strength and conditioning (Jason George) and head of athletic training (Nate Breske). On the personnel side he brought in Josh Lucas to serve as the director of player personnel, Champ Kelly as director of pro personnel and Joey Laine as director of football administration. In his first season overseeing Chicago’s roster, Pace was tasked with turning over a Bears roster that ranked as one of the oldest in the NFL (average 27 years, 39 days old) and has trimmed that average to just over 25-years old. The Bears fielded a competitive team, improving by one game over their previous year’s record, despite the youth movement. The 2015 Bears team was involved in 11 games decided by one score (5-6 record in those games) despite leading the NFL with nine rookie starters (three on offense, six on defense). The Bears defense improved from 30th in 2014 (377.1 yards per game) to 14th in 2015 (345.1 ypg) despite starting a league-most six rookie starters who combined for 41 starts, second most to the Saints 44 defensive rookie starts. Pace accomplished the task with just six draft picks, two of which were utilized on the defensive side of the ball (DL Eddie Goldman, 12 starts and DB Adrian Amos, 16 starts). Rounding out the rookie starters were undrafted free agents LB Jonathan Anderson (three starts), DB Bryce Callahan (three starts), DB Harold Jones-Quartey (four starts) and LB John Timu (three starts). Pace began transitioning the team’s roster in 2015 by adding impact veteran free agents such as linebackers Pernell McPhee and Sam Acho, defensive lineman Mitch Unrein and defensive back Tracy Porter on defense and wide receiver Eddie Royal offensively. That transformation continued during the 2016 offseason with the unrestricted free agent additions of LBs Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevthan, DL Akiem Hicks, offensive linemen Bobby Massie and Ted Larsen and QB Brian Hoyer. Pace manipulated the 2016 draft to add quality and quantity throughout the three-day event by making four draftday trades to acquire nine players to bolster the youth movement. He moved up two spots in the first round, selecting linebacker Leonard Floyd (ninth overall). Pace then moved down two times in the second round, dropping a total of 15 spots to acquire OL Cody Whitehair, three fourth-round picks, two in the 2016 draft and one in 2017. First, Pace sent the No. 41 pick to Buffalo in exchange for the No. 49 selection plus fourth round choices in 2016 and 2017. He then traded the No. 49 pick to Seattle for the No. 56 choice (Whitehair) and a fourth-round selection (S Deon Bush). Chicago’s fourth draft-day trade saw Pace trade up four spots in the fourth round to select LB Nick Kwiatkoski with the 113th pick in exchange for the 117th pick and a sixth-round choice. Pace joined the Bears after spending 14 seasons (2001-14) as a member of the Saints organization, including 13 in the player personnel department. He spent the last two seasons (2013-14) with the Saints as director of player personnel. In that role, Pace helped manage the team’s college and pro scouting operations including all facets of scouting and evaluation of college and pro prospects along with New Orleans’ roster. Pace spent six seasons as the club’s director of pro scouting (2007-12), which included overseeing the club’s pro scouting staff. His duties involved recommending player acquisitions by evaluating the Saints roster and potential NFL free agents, monitoring all NFL transactions, researching possible trade opportunities, assessing player talent from other professional leagues and directing the advance scouting of future opponents. He also helped the Saints prepare for the NFL Draft following the regular season by assisting in the evaluation of top college prospects. The Flower Mound, Texas native got his start in New Orleans’ player personnel department as a scouting assistant in 2002, a role he held for two years before working as a pro scout from 2004-06. During that time he evaluated free agents and collegiate players entering the NFL Draft as well as scouted upcoming opponents. He joined the Saints in 2001 supporting the coordination of all game day, training camp and stadium operations. In 2008, he was selected by the club to attend the NFL’s Stanford Business School’s Executive Education Program for Managers. He was a part of the franchise in 2005 while the club dealt with immense adversity having to guide itself through several moves in base operations in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Pace played collegiately as a defensive end at Eastern Illinois (1995-99), serving as team captain as a senior, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Pace and his wife, Stephanie, have a daughter, Cardyn. CHICAGO BEARS 16 2 0 1 6 Y E A R B O O K


2016 Chicago Bears Yearbook
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