LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace said he placed a premium on athleticism, toughness and instincts in the recently completed 2016 NFL draft.
On the heels of adding key contributors such as Eddie Goldman, Jeremy Langford and Adrian Amos last year, Pace hopes the new class can provide depth, and spark competition on both sides of the football.
"Some of these guys are three- or four-year starters,” Pace said. “I think it talks about the caliber of players that they are.”
Here is Pace’s breakdown of each of the nine players he selected:
Leonard Floyd, outside linebacker, Georgia (first-round): “This guy lines up all over the field for Georgia. We see him as an outside linebacker on our defense. He brings great athleticism for a guy that tall with that kind of length. He brings some juice to our defense that we need and will definitely help our pass-rush. You know when you watch the tape, they move him all over. He’s such a versatile athlete, so he's playing inside linebacker one snap and the next snap he’s in nickel running down the field with a slot receiver. And then he’s rushing. You see him at all these different positions. I think with him playing more of a pass-rush position, he’ll have more production.”
Cody Whitehair, guard, Kansas State (second-round): “Cody Whitehair is a guy we really liked throughout this whole process. We brought him in, interviewed him at the Senior Bowl and brought him in on a top-30 visit here to meet with us. He’s a four-year starter. He’s played multiple positions. We see him as a guard. He played some tackle and I think he can play center too. This is what you’re looking for in an offensive lineman. He’s smart. He’s tough. He’s instinctive. He loves the weight room. Those are all things that I like.”
Jonathan Bullard, defensive end, Florida (third-round): “Bullard, we see him more as a 3-4 defensive end for us. He played defensive end at Florida and bulked up a little bit more this past season, added weight to play more of a 3-technique position for them. Had his best season with 6.5 sacks. When you watch the tape on him, there’s one thing that you can’t coach with these guys is get-off. His get-off is excellent.”
Nick Kwiatkoski, linebacker, West Virginia (fourth-round): “We traded up to get him. We had a lot of conviction in him. It's a guy we liked -- three-year starter, a team captain, very instinctive, tough hard-nosed player who plays downhill. He was very productive.”
Deon Bush safety, Miami (fourth-round): “A really good athlete who is also a very physical player. We like the fact that he throws his body around and plays with toughness.”
Deiondre' Hall, cornerback, Northern Iowa (fourth-round): “Can play corner, nickel, can play safety. He has rare length for the position when you look at it.”
Jordan Howard, running back, Indiana (fifth-round): “This guy is a downhill, physical north-south runner. I just like the style and physicality that he plays with as well. I think he complements our other backs.”
Deandre Houston-Carson, safety, William & Mary (sixth-round): “We see him as a safety right now. Very physical player, hits with explosiveness, and a very good special-teams player as well. This is a guy special-teams coach Jeff Rodgers is fired up about, He blocked nine kicks in his career.”
Daniel Braverman, wide receiver, Western Michigan (seventh-round): “This is a guy our scouts liked a lot. He’s real nifty, a sudden slot receiver. He’s real instinctive in that area of the field and knows how to get open. He finds holes in zones.”