What Will Phil Emery Be Looking For in the Draft? Think Size.

Bears general manager Phil Emery is a tough guy to figure out, especially when it comes to the NFL draft.  Emery has a habit of going his own way.  He sticks to his board and takes the guys he believes in no matter what outside influences might think.  His picks in the first round of his first two NFL drafts, Shea McClellin and Kyle Long, were both taken when conventional wisdom would have indicated that the Bears go in another direction.

So guessing who Emery is going to take this year in the draft is a bit of a exercise in futility.  But we might be able to guess what he’ll be looking for in whoever he chooses.  In this regard, Dan Pompei’s statement for the Bleacher Report was never more true:

“The draft class has a number of prospects who are smaller than ideal. Many of these players will be downgraded significantly by some teams, but not by others, because undersized players need to be scheme fits.”

It’s a decent bet that Emery was one of the general managers that Pompei was thinking about.  When asked at the NFL Combine about what he’s learned from the McClellin experiment, Emery said this:

“In terms of pure defensive ends probably make sure they’re a little bit longer and a little bit heavier.”

When asked about new defensive end Willie Young, once again, Emery emphasized his size and length (6 feet 4, 251 pounds):

“He has 35-inch arms.  He uses that advantage to gain leverage and separation. He has strong hands, a good punch. He’s a good athlete with a lot of upside.”

Its true that Emery was talking about defensive ends.  But the lesson can probably be applied to any position along the defensive line and, with the size of the receivers in the NFC North, you can figure Emery won’t be drafting any smallish cornerbacks.  Wide receiver?  One look at Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery is all you need to make a pretty good guess at Emerythinking in  third option.  He’s also at some point going to be looking for a second tight end who can block to compliment Martellus Bennett and a running back who can run inside in short yardage situations to complement Matt Forte.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more likely prospects that may be available when the Bears pick and see what they might be thinking.  Bear in mind that this is strictly a judgment in terms of height and weight.  These players may not have the other characteristics Emery might be looking for.  However, we might use such a list as an initial  effort at trimming the field:

Prospects that Don’t Fit:

Aaron Donald, DT – 6”0 3/4”, 285 lb
Darqueze Dennard, CB – 5’10 7/8”, 199 lb
Calvin Pryor, S – 5’11 1/8″, 207 lb
Bradley Robey, CB – 5’11 1/4”, 194 lb

Prospects that Fit:

Mike Evens, WR – 6’4 3/4”, 231 lbs (admittedly highly highly unlikely to still be there)
C.J. Mosely, ILB – 6’2”, 234 lb
Ha Ha Clinton Dix, S – 6’1 3/8”, 208 lb
Eric Ebron, TE – 6’4 3/4”, 250 lb
Timmy Jernigan, DT – 6’1 5/8”, 299 lb
Justin Gilbert, CB – 6’0 1/8”, 202 lb (borderline call)
Ra’Shede Hageman, DT – 6’5 7/8”, 310 lb
Louis Nix, DT – 6’2 3/8”, 331 lb

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