A new regime has landed in Chicago for the second time in four years. With new management, more new faces are added behind the scenes. These additions won’t usually make headlines but play a large part in the development of a successful franchise.
In the past, the Chicago Bears were snake-bitten by sticking with familiarity within the organization, instead of targeting new names with different philosophies. This year, the team has turned over a new leaf with the additions of general manager Ryan Pace, who came from a different developmental tree than those of the Chiefs and Buccaneers. Pace then hired John Fox, who is the first head coach in the history of the franchise with prior NFL head-coaching experience.
With a fresh set of ideals, Pace’s change of culture was still in full effect with three recent additions to his scouting staff.
Joe Douglas- Director of College Scouting
Douglas was quite possibly the biggest hire the Bears made in their new scouting team. He spent the last 15 years (2000-20015) with the Baltimore Ravens, who happen to have one of the best and most sought after talent evaluators in the league.
• National Scout (2012-2015) • Southeast area scout (2009-2011) • East Coast area scout (2008) • Northeast area scout (2003-2007) • Player personnel assistant (2000-2002)
Key contributors that Douglas played a large part in:
Other players Douglas hand his hand in:
Throughout his time in the Ravens’ organization, Douglas played multiple key roles within the talent evaluation department, while putting a high emphasis on special teams talent and evaluation of the team’s future opponents.
Douglas was also a two-time All-State offensive lineman in high school and started 45 straight games at Richmond in his collegiate years, while earning a spot as an assistant coach for one season after his senior year.
Anthony “Champ” Kelly - Director of Pro Scouting
Kelly was another big-time hire for Pace, as he came from yet another successful organization, the Denver Broncos, where Kelly spent the last eight years.
• Assistant Director of Pro Personnel (2010-2015) • Assistant Coordinator of Pro and College scouting (2008-2009) • Northeast Region Scout (2007)
In his most recent role, Kelly played a large role in the free-agent and trade process. On top of the offseason duties, he was an advanced scout and oversaw the talent pool in other football leagues. He also doubled in the draft process as a talent evaluator. Kelly is also certified by the NFLPA as a contract advisor.
Kelly had strong hands in player acquisitions such as:
Before his time in the NFL with the Broncos, Kelly worked as the general manager for the Lexington Horsemen of the United Indoor Football League in 2007. Before then, he was a former player with the team.
Kelly does have a coaching background, mainly as an offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. He also played multiple positions at the University of Kentucky on both sides of the ball.
Josh Lucas - Director of Player Personnel
Lucas was Pace’s first talent evaluation acquisition, hired shortly after he was named the general manager. He spent the last 10 years in the Saints organization and is only 35 years old. Prior to his time with the Saints, he spent three years with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
• Southern Regional Scout (2013-2014) • Southwestern Area Scout (2007-2012) • Scouting Assistant (2005-2006)
In Lucas’ opening stint in the NFL with the Jaguars, he started as a marketing analyst but after two years, he quickly worked his way into the player personnel department before moving over to the Saints.
Before his time with the Jaguars, Lucas played two years at Harvard as a safety. Lucas has experience in both pro and college scouting.
What does this mean for the Ryan Pace Era?
In terms of personnel and philosophy, the Bears have been stuck in the same vicious cycle for 30 years. As the opportunity to make changes within the organization presented themselves, so have startling past trends the front office has aimed to end.
Only time will tell how the hires of Pace, Fox and his staff, and now three new talent evaluators, will turn out, but ownership has made it obvious they are looking for a culture change and this seems to be a step in the right direction.
Check out Warrior TV on Scout:
Aaron Leming has years of salary cap knowledge and has written for Rant Sports, Bears Draft On Tap, and Cover 32. He is a regular contributor to Bear Report.