New Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery has made himself popular with fans since he took over in January. From the trade for Brandon Marshall to the acquisition of key backups to fill holes from last season, he’s seemed to have all the right moves. He hasn’t even hit his forte yet, no pun intended. He was brought here as a draft expert, remember?
In a recent call with season ticket holders, Emery outlined free agency and his plans for the draft.
Here’s a snippet of the article from ChicagoBears.com:
The next phase of the plan involves preparing for the draft. Emery initially meets with his college area scouts over a 10-day period.
“We thoroughly discussed 400 players,” Emery said. “Typically a draft will have 250 to 270 players that are actually drafted. You’re well above the number that’s going to be drafted, so you’re talking about a lot of free agents towards the end of it. We go through those and we designate after scouts’ conversations which players we will give the coaches to evaluate.”
At that point, Bears position coaches are all asked to rank 15-25 prospects.
“Not only do they watch those individuals on tape, but we send them out throughout the country [for individual workouts and Pro Days] so that they get their eyes on the players as have the scouts during the fall,” Emery said. “That process usually starts with the Combine as far as the exposure to the college players for our coaches, and then it continues on throughout the spring.”
Then the Bears bring all their scouts in and they dig deeper:
“We collect all the late information on any character information that was undiscovered or needed to be dug on a little bit more in terms of their background so we know exactly who that person is,” Emery said.
“We get our scouts together with our coaches. They work very hard on the back end of the draft, on late draftable players and the college free agents so that at the end of the draft we’re ready to go.”
In the final few weeks before the draft, Emery speaks regularly with coach Lovie Smith.
“I will meet with coach Smith and work on the draft plan, on those players that our coaches and scouts really like and are really orientated towards helping the Bears win championships,” Emery said.
“With coach Smith and myself, it’s developing a draft plan: OK, we like these players. How do we get them? Who are you willing to trade up for? If we get to 19 and the player that we’ve targeted is not there, can we trade back? What’s our plan to trade back, and if we trade back how far back and who would those players be that we would be trading back for? We do that at every selection spot in the draft.”
Emery believes that being prepared is the key to a successful draft.
“It’s a puzzle, but it’s a fun puzzle,” he said. “It’s very fluid. You’re getting a lot of calls from a lot of different directions. People are playing all kinds of games and trying to get you on the phone late as you’re making a selection.
“There’s tension, but we would never make those decisions at the last minute. As we developed that draft plan, we’ve made those decisions. On draft day, it’s executing the plan.”
He’s a man with a plan. I’m struggling to remember the Jerry Angleo quote about having a plan; something to the effect of “just because the plan didn’t work doesn’t mean it was a bad plan.” (If you know the exact quote, post it in the Comments.) The draft is less than 2 weeks away, so we’ll see soon enough how Phil’s planning works out.