We are about a month away from the NFL draft, and we will hear more and more chatter about the Bears 14th pick. Some like myself can envision the Bears trading down with the likes of the Jets and 49’er’s. Others will argue that the Bears still must draft a defensive lineman, and for the first time the Mock Experts are now moving all over the board who the Bears will draft.
In truth none of us are right. For we have learned already Emery drafts to a different tune. He has shown us this off season how stealthy he will move to upgrade the team. None of us saw the Jared Allen signing nor Brian de la Puente coming on board. This leads us to scratch our heads and sometimes wonder what is he doing.
If we take a moment and step back and remove our own rose colored glasses, you will see Emery is not really going out on a limb, but is building a team in the classical manner. Jim Finks believed you built a defense from the inside out. Jon Gruden, believes the key to a great defense starts with the DE and then CB. If we look at what Emery has done so far, he has followed both of them.
So far he has signed six defensive ends, re-signed two defensive tackles. Two of the defensive ends, Idonije and Houston can play defensive tackle. So in effect, he has calmly and adroitly been following the Finks/Gruden blueprint. Does it mean a defensive tackle won’t be drafted? No, but not at 14. The defensive tackle group is deep with a lot of quality players. The Bears can wait till the second or third round to draft one and still get a top player to fill out a perceived hole
So if you follow the Finks/Gruden road map where does it lead us? Well, Emery has already tipped his hand to a degree. When they signed Lamarr Houston, Emery was asked about the draft. He said, watch our next signings and then you will get an idea where we are going. Following those words and the philosophy of Finks and Gruden it takes you to cornerback.
Currently the three starting corners for the Bears (including the nickel) are over 30. The only experienced backup is Isaiah Frey, who is entering his second season. After that there are three players that have no experience and two have been on reserve status. We all have to recognize that this could be Tillman’s final season; and based on the last couple signings (Rempel and de la Puente) Emery will not hesitate to plan for the future.
Some will say, it is a deep draft at CB so there is no hurry there either. It is a deep group, but here is the difference between the CB class versus the DT and Safeties. The quality drops off drastically after the top three. If Emery is looking to complete the Inside Out model then he needs to draft a starter ready corner now and that means Dennard, Gilbert or Fuller. As Greg Gabriel said, you have no time to develop a corner as thin as the Bears are currently.
Now if you still want to play the wild card with Emery, then you could argue line backer. While the Bears have plenty of experienced and young ones on the roster, it still is uncertain how it will all play out. Can Briggs and Williams stay healthy? Can Bostic, McClellin and Greene grow up and be stars? If Emery believes there is another corner in the second round is as good as the top three, then someone like Mosley could be the one.
In the end, it’s not what we think, nor Kiper, McShay or Mayock. It only matters what Phil thinks, and while we think he is different, he’s not. Just follow the map that Finks and Gruden made, and you will find Emery there.
Side note: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech will be working out today at Halas Hall. Earlier in the week Deone Buchannon, S, Washington State had his second meeting with the Bears. They have met with Walt Aiken and Marqueston Huff both cornerbacks. So far, they have met with more defensive backs than any other position.