LAKE FOREST – So much for a draft “War Room” in 2020. That’s not really a good name for the part of the house next to the kitchen.
The dining room is where Ryan Pace has all of his new computer equipment ready to go for a most unusual NFL Draft. He said it’s five feet from his kitchen and at the center of the action at the Pace home.
“Right now Cardyn (Pace’s daughter) is doing her at-home school in one room over, so you can hear that,” said Pace. “I’ve got this amazing setup with all these screens and Stephanie (Pace’s wife) is vacuuming and hits the cord and every screen goes black.
“So you’re dealing with the at home conditions but they’ve been awesome.”
A positive attitude is something that helps during the COVID-19 pandemic, where just about everything in sports has been postponed or canceled. The NFL Draft is one of the exceptions, but the grand spectacle in Las Vegas is off and every team is expected to work away from the team facility.
Personnel can’t even gather together, with Pace connecting with his coaches and scouts through computers in the spirit of social distancing along with a mandate from the league.
So Bears IT employees created a setup with seven monitors for Pace to conduct his draft business a week ago, and prepare for a most unusual draft day.
“They boosted the bandwidth, and now there’s a cord directly from the router upstairs, all the way down the stairs, all the way to the dining room,” said Pace of his connectivity. “Hopefully nobody trips over the cord or does anything with the vacuum again.”
All joking aside, Pace seemed fairly confident in his setup and the Bears’ technological prowess for this virtual draft. Concerns have been raised not only about possible breakdowns but even those who might try to hack into the event itself, but the general manager is not worried.
“It’s been really seamless. It’s been better, quicker, and easier than I expected,” said Pace of working from home. “So we had the mock draft yesterday with the whole league – that went really smooth from our end – and communications with our scouts and our coaches this whole time has been really good.
“I think in a lot of ways , we’ve learned a lot from this, just in the different ways we can operate moving forward, just to make things more efficient. That parts actually been really good.”
So have some of the other perks while working from home.
“I can’t remember the last time for a month straight that we’ve sat down together and had dinner together every night,” said Pace. “That’s rare for a lot of us. So that parts been pretty neat.”
But Stephanie and Carydn will understand if he won’t be able to make it to the dinner table on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.