March 16, 2012; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery speaks at a press conference introducing new signings wide receiver Brandon Marshall (not pictured) and quarterback Jason Campbell (not pictured) at Halas Hall . Mandatory Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

7 Players Phil Emery and the Chicago Bears Should Be Targeting

Phil Emery conducted the Chicago Bears pre-draft propaganda conference on Monday.  Through the smoke and mirrors, Emery indicated the Bears have 7 “core players” on their radar.  Here is my list of the 7 players which I hope are on their short list:

Stephon Gilmore

We profiled Gilmore last week and sure enough, he’s soaring up draft boards.  I even saw a mock that had him going #3 to the Vikings.  He’s an ideal Cover-2 corner with great ball skills and excellent in run support.

Dre Kirkpatrick

He’s a 6’2″ cornerback.  Have you seen some of the monster wide receivers in the league today?  Coming out of Alabama, he’s played against elite competition.  Here’s a snippet from CBS Sports’ analysis:

He denies receivers. He denies them a clean release. He denies them to get separation. And he denies them an opportunity to get the ball. He is physical to the extreme, both in coverage and coming up on run support, where he is perhaps too much of a hitter and not enough of a wrap-up tackler.

Yes, please.

Riley Reiff

Unless Matt Kalil slides out of the Top 5, Reiff is the only decent OT within the Bears’ reach.  Reiff would step in immediately to provide an upgrade to Jay Cutler’s blind side:

Pass blocking: Looks like an athletic NFL left tackle. Easily turned back most college pass rushers with lateral agility and length. Natural knee-bend and reach to escort edge rushers around the pocket. Recovers to cut off inside rush lane. Effective cut blocker despite his height. Loses his pad level and must concentrate on utilizing length and feet to find targets. Stronger defenders get into his pads to punch or drive him back when he misplaces hands. Could play with a more consistently wide base.

Michael Floyd

Early mock drafts had Floyd to the Bears as a shoe-in.  That’s all changed since the start of free agency when the Bears acquired Brandon Marshall and Floyd’s tremendous outing at the Combine sent him skyrocketing up draft boards.  I’ve heard some rumblings that Floyd wasn’t overly impressive in his interviews, so could that and some character concerns send him back to within reach of the Bears?  Floyd and Marshall would put the Bears’ passing game into elite status.

Luke Kuechly

I have to give my guy DeCon credit for turning me on to this prospect.  Drafting the BC linebacker became less likely when the Bears brought in Geno Hayes to compete with Nick Roach, but if Kuechly were to slip, the Bears would be foolish not to draft Brian Urlacher’s heir apparent.

Chandler Jones

The Syracuse DE prospect might be someone that the Bears could trade down slightly and still draft.  Here’s a little snippet on this less touted prospect:

Generally thought to be best-suited for DE in a 4-3. Some scouts feel he could stand up as a 3-4 OLB, while others see his long arms (35½) and think he could bulk up and be a 3-4 DE. “He’s a very long, gangly, play-hard, strong guy,” one scout said. “Good athlete. He may not be a tremendous pass rusher, but he’s going to be a good D-end. He plays hard and is always around the ball.”

Michael Brockers

The Bears lost a couple of DT’s in Amoby Okoye and Anthony Adams, so DT could be an area they address.  With tons of skill position guys going, they could get really good value if a beast like Brockers slips.

Brockers’ unmatched combination of size, athleticism, strength and youth is tantalizing, however. He played with great passion and the awareness of a four-year not one-year starter in 2011. Capable of starring as a three-technique defensive tackle or holding the point as a five technique defensive end, Brockers will be highly valued by 4-3 and 3-4 teams, alike. If he plays with the same passion in the NFL that he did for the Tigers in 2011, he’ll prove to be a standout regardless of the scheme he’s placed into.

Who is on your short list that the Bears should be targeting?  Any sleepers out there?  Who would you trade up to get?  Let’s hear your comments.


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