A more comfortable Ryan Pace has his options ready for the Bears’ 2016 NFL Draft

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LAKE FOREST - It's not his first go around with the orange and blue. It's actually his second-and that can make a big difference.

Not only does Bears general manager Ryan Pace enter the 2016 NFL Draft with nine picks-two of those in the fourth and sixth rounds with one in the other five-but he does feeling a little more comfortable in his surrounds.

Don't forget his first draft came only a few months after taking over the reigns of the Bears' front office.

"It's just calmer, you know what I mean?," said Pace when asked about his situation before this draft as compared to 2015. "Last year you get familiar with new faces, you get familiar with how to get around this building. Not only having our staff in tact, but also knowing everybody's personalities and our coaches too."

Together they'll tackle their nine selections in this upcoming draft but like usual there is just one that is causing the most buzz and likely most debate when it comes Pace's NFL Draft "War Room." At No. 11 the possibilities for the Bears are not quite endless but there are a number of directions to which they can go.

If Ezekiel Elliott is there, do the Bears take him? Should they continue the building of the defense with the pick as they have with free agency this offseason? What if a quarterback is sitting there at No. 11? Even with some added faith in Jay Cutler, is it time to think about the future?

As usual, Pace was coy to which direction the team was going. Though he did tell reporters at a news conference at Halas Hall on Wednesday that he's looking at more than 11 players for that top pick and he's not afraid to make it a player from anywhere on the field, even if the Bears are not in need at that particular position.

"We've talked about it but if it's a player that's special enough, even if it is a deep position," said Pace. "If he's special enough and he's an impact player, we'll go ahead and pull the trigger on him."

Pace will have nine chances to do that in this year's draft. That's three more than he had in his first year with the Bears.

"You have more ammunition to move around and that's good if you feel good about a player you want to go get but I also think we have a lot of needs," said Pace. "I have a lot of confidence in our scouts. So having nine picks is attractive, it's just more swings."

With a year under his belt at Halas Hall, Pace can feel a little more comfortable stepping in the cage in the 2016 draft.



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