Feb 20, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery speaks during a press conference during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
In fairness, we haven’t had the draft yet, where we can expect a healthy dose of defensive talent to be added. Emery has given himself a lot of flexibility on draft day with some re-signings and key free agents but in order to end the cycle of 0ver-paying for free agents, Phil Emery needs to add depth and competition at all positions.
Nov 9, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers defensive lineman Aaron Donald (97) reacts after defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Heinz Field. PITT won 28-21. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Sure, the Bears have three veteran cornerbacks in Tillman, Jennings and Kelvin Hayden with Isaiah Frey in the mix at nickel. But what if Justin Gilbert, arguably the top corner in the draft is sitting there at #14? Could the Bears pass on adding a player who could start for the next decade because they have veteran guys on the roster who you’ve paid considerable contracts for the next year or two? What if the best player on the Bears’ board is Aaron Donald? But they have Ratliff, Collins and even Idonije and Houston who can kick inside.
Based on the Bears’ free agent moves, there is a groundswell of support for drafting a safety in the first round. I could get behind that selection and it’s a very obvious choice, especially if Clinton-Dix is available. But you’ve got a couple of older guys coming off major injuries in the middle of that defensive line. Wouldn’t it be nice to fortify that position and get some young, healthy legs and have someone who you can bring along for the future?
Presumably McClellin and Bostic are those guys, and maybe Greene or even Cornelius Washington, but you just don’t know if it’s going to pan out. The Bears can’t stand pat based on a couple of aging free agents and hope they can build a consistent contender. The real work for this offseason makeover has yet to begin.