General manager Phil Emery’s approach to his second Bears draft won’t be much different than his first, considering they’re sitting at No. 20 in the first round — just one spot lower than last year — when they nabbed Shea McClellin.
Again Emery will have several players targeted when the Bears are on the clock. The biggest difference this year might be that the Bears’ G.M. is already looking to trade down and accumulate additional picks.
“We’ve already had a couple teams that have approached us,” Emery said. “I’ve approached a couple during (last month’s) owners meetings.”
But trades like that don’t usually happen until the 11th hour.
“It doesn’t get serious until you get close to the pick,” Emery said. “You may get (some calls) two or three spots before your pick, but it gets real serious when you’re on the clock. We’ll see how it goes.”
Emery did not rule out trading out of the first round completely, but it ultimately depends on how many of the handful of players they have targeted at 20 are left on the board.
“I’ll just throw an arbitrary number at 34,” Emery said. “If we feel like that’s going to bring tremendous value to us and help upgrade our club significantly, we’ll go (down to) there. We’re not averse to any scenario, as long as see positive value out of it.”
In the opinion of Emery and his scouts, the strongest positions in this draft are cornerback and safety, followed closely by defensive line and offensive line.
“I would say the tight ends and wide receivers are above average,” he said. “I would say that the running backs and quarterbacks are average.”
By adding offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod and guard Matt Slauson, tight ends Martellus Bennett and Steve Maneri and linebackers D.J. Williams and James Anderson in free agency Emery has upgraded three team weaknesses. That gives him options in the draft and allows him to take the player he has rated the highest, regardless of position.
“It gave us a lot more flexibility,” he said. “It allows us to look at all the positions for each and every pick.”
Emery provided a detailed explanation of his draft philosophy. In a nutshell, their top choice would be a player that they would have considered trading up to get but is still on the board.
“Those are players we would not pass up,” he said.
The next group of players would be those the Bears thought would be available at their spot and would help the team the most. Next, at the back of their list, would be players the Bears would have considered if they traded back a few spots.
“If the list is too small when it comes time to trade back, and you don’t feel comfortable, you’ve got some tough decisions to make,” Emery said. “You may have to move even further back into an area of value, or you may have to take the best available player there if you don’t find a trade.”
Because the Bears already are without picks in the third and seventh rounds, it’s doubtful they’d give up one of their five remaining selections to move up.
“The honest answer is, yeah, it’s less likely,” Emery said. “Moving back is more attractive than moving forward. But, if we know the guy that we really targeted that could make a significant difference for us is sitting in front of us one pick and that team in front of us is looking at the same guy, would I pull the trigger? Absolutely.”
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