Chicago Bears

Bears' Emery eager to draft

CHICAGO – Pressure? What pressure?

Bears general manager Phil Emery doesn’t sense any pressure.

“I’m having a blast actually,” Emery said this week at Halas Hall. “I’m having a good time. I’m having the time of my life. It’s a great city, great fans. I’m enjoying every second of it.”

The real fun starts today when Emery makes his first draft pick in his new role.

The Bears will have the No. 19 pick of the NFL draft’s first round, which starts today at 7 p.m. The draft will continue Friday with Rounds 2 and 3 and Saturday with Rounds 4 through 7.

There’s so much uncertainty about how picks Nos. 3 through 18 will turn out that Emery and his coaching staff are keeping their options open. The Bears could look to upgrade one of several positions including defensive end, defensive tackle, offensive line, cornerback or wide receiver depending on which players are available.

In the early versions of mock drafts that appeared several months ago, many experts predicted that the Bears would select a wideout such as Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd.

Since then, the Bears’ need for a receiver has decreased while Floyd’s stock has increased.

Last month, Emery acquired Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall from Miami and signed veteran receivers Eric Weems and Devin Thomas. Meanwhile, Earl Bennett, Devin Hester and Dane Sanzenbacher remain under contract heading into next season.

One big question is the health of the Bears’ Johnny Knox, who needed surgery to stabilize a vertebra in his lower back after a scary hit Dec. 18. If Knox misses part or all of next season, Emery might want to select a deep-threat receiver to complement Marshall and Bennett.

Emery was asked about the effect of Knox’s status heading into the draft.

“Any player that’s in an injury status has an effect on how you look at the composition of the roster,” Emery said. “But we’re not so concentrated on wide receiver that we have to have another wide receiver. … There are players on our roster that we know we can compete and win at the championship level with.”

If the Bears do add a receiver, they might be OK to wait until later rounds.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said the position is deep with prospects.

“The receivers are very strong this year,” Kiper said. “You can make an argument, a strong argument, that there’s probably going to be – if you just took a top 150 [available players], you could put 29 to 30 wide receivers in that top 150.”

The group’s elite members are Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State and Floyd, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. Both players likely will be gone by the time the No. 19 pick arrives.

“If you don’t get a receiver in the top two, to me, that’s why you stay away from receivers,” McShay said. “There is so much value in the receiver position in the second and third round.”

Receivers and tight ends at a glance

On the roster: Wide receivers (Size, NFL experience)

• Brandon Marshall (6-4, 230) – 7

• Johnny Knox (6-0, 185) – 4

• Earl Bennett (6-0, 206) – 5

• Devin Hester (5-11, 190) – 7

• Eric Weems (5-9, 195) – 6

• Devin Thomas (6-2, 221) – 5

• Dane Sanzenbacher (5-11, 180) – 2

ESPN’s Mel Kiper’s top five wide receiver prospects (Size, college)

• Justin Blackmon (6-1, 207) – Oklahoma State

• Michael Floyd (6-3, 220) – Notre Dame

• Kendall Wright (5-10, 196) – Baylor

• Brian Quick (6-5, 220) – Appalachian State

• Stephen Hill (6-4, 215) – Georgia Tech

On the roster: Tight ends (Size, NFL experience)

• Kellen Davis (6-7, 267) – 5

• Matt Spaeth (6-7, 260) – 6

• Kyle Adams (6-4, 255) – 2

• Andre Smith (6-5, 267) – 2

• Draylen Ross (6-4, 271) – 1

Kiper’s top five tight end prospects (Size, college)

• Coby Fleener (6-6, 247) – Stanford

• Dwayne Allen (6-3, 255) – Clemson

• Michael Egnew (6-6, 245) – Missouri

• Ladarius Green (6-6, 238) – Louisiana-Lafayette

• Orson Charles (6-2, 251) – Georgia

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