In a weeks time we will find out who the Bears draft in the first round. With that selection we will get clarity to what the priorities are going to be in the draft. At that moment in time, every thing we have read, debated and dreamt (some prayed) about this draft will be moot. As we move into this final week before the draft, I have finally shut the door on who, the what and the way of 2013 draft. The who, the what and why are less important to me now, for in truth nothing I say or think will change what the Bears will do on draft day.
I am not tossing my hands up in the air and just walking away, what I have done is place less importance on the priorities and players and instead turned my attention to the man behind the curtain, Phil Emery. I find it interesting that so little time is spent in understanding what makes a GM tick, why do they do what they do. Understanding the organization and the dynamics they have on Emery prior to draft day.
We may never figure out who they will draft, in what order are the priorities, those are all media assumptions to begin with anyway. What we can do is peek behind the curtain and see that while Emery seems to pull off the unexpected, he really has a plan, and he is far easier to figure out than we think. We have built this mystique that Emery does strange things on draft day, but in reality it is all a mirage, for Phil has left us a trail to follow, and it’s not that bumpy .
I spent the last several days researching Emery’s draft history, scouting background and have read articles that go back in time that outline some of Phil’s biases and quirks, if you will. What I have discovered is that Phil is not unlike you and me. He has his tendencies, he knows what he likes, and often returns to his scouting roots. What I am about to share are not absolutes, there is always exceptions, but over time Emery has shown some interesting patterns.
1. He has affinity for larger and athletic players. Also, tends to go to longer body builds (length). Examples, all the player’s currently on the DL that were re-signed or signed as free agents are over 6’3″. On the longer body types you can look at McClellin and Willie Young. In the draft think of Kelcy Quarles or McClullers out of Tennessee. Or someone like Lamin Barrow, LB out of LSU.
2. He follows the scouting golden rule: traits before production. Emery has no problem taking on players with little or no production.Kyle Long only played five games with Oregon. Marquess Wilson missed his senior year, and Brandin Hardin missed most of his senior with an injury. So I would not be surprised to see the likes of Easely or Colvin being drafted higher than we expect by the Bears. Maybe a Will Sutton who was unproductive in 2013.
3. Problem children don’t phase him. He took on Wilson who quit his senior year, Long had issues back in his Florida State days, Alshon Jeffery had weight issue his last season at South Carolina. So I would not be surprised to see someone like Colt Lyeria out of Oregon being drafted late. James Wilder, RB from FSU would be an interesting choice.
4. Likes players from the south and west coast. This is not to say he won’t take players from the NE (I95 corridor) or middle america he has (Iowa/Oklahoma). But when you look at his scout record and draft record you will see a large number of players taken from the south. This stems from his scouting days were he spent a good portion of his time in the Southeast. It makes sense since he has a deep Rolodex with other scouts, coaches and ex-players in that region. So any player out of Florida, Georgia and Louisana (the smaller schools in LA) will be or should be of interest. For example, Justin Ellis out of Louisana Tech (Mills was from LA Tech, Tillman from Louisana-Lafayette).
5. He prefers players with a high ceiling than a floor. There are a lot of opportunities here, but Ego Ferguson DT out of LSU comes to mind. On the Bears roster you could look at Demontre Hurst and C.J. Wilson, both cornerbacks. Kyle Long is another one that comes to mind.
6. He likes Quarterback’s that are tall, around 6’4″+. Emery (with Trestman’s input) has kept Jordan Palmer and Jerrod Johnson around and both are 6’5″. Someone like Casey Pachall of TCU would be of interest. Tall at 6′ 4″ and has had off the field issues. He is a tough kid that has grown up a lot and has huge upside.
The Bears have more than likely set their board by now, and Emery will take all the input from his scouts and coaches as the fine tune that top 100. In the end though, when all things are equal, look for Emery to pull the lever on what he knows best.