Roster offers clues for Bears’ draft

Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 5:12 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 3:17 p.m. CDT
Caption
(AP file photo)
Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree (9) sacks Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez (3) on a fourth and nine play late in the fourth quarter of the Capital One Bowl NCAA college football game, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in Orlando, Fla. Georgia won 45-31.

CHICAGO – Phil Emery is a list man.

Go ahead and memorize everything you need to accomplish at work. Take an order without writing down a single thing. Store away all of those promises that you made about doing household chores in some corner of your brain.

That’s not Emery’s style.

Emery has made a list, checked it twice, and checked it many more times after that. If you were in his shoes, you also would be more meticulous than Santa Claus.

The NFL draft begins Thursday with Round 1, continues Friday with Rounds 2 and 3, and wraps up Saturday with Rounds 4 through 7. The Bears have five picks heading into the draft, starting with their first-round selection at No. 20 overall.

All kinds of surprises happen during the draft. Some players go higher than expected while others wait in stunned silence as they slide down the board. Teams jockey for position with draft-day deals. Millions of dollars are at stake with every top selection.

No wonder Emery wants a list nearby.

The Bears’ second-year general manager has mentioned “flexibility” countless times as he prepares to handpick a handful of rookies for the roster. To remain flexible in the face of surprises, Emery has compiled a list of players he would trade up to select, players he expects to be able to select at No. 20, and players he expects to be able to select later in the draft in case he decides to trade down for extra picks.

“We’re not averse to any scenario as long as we see positive value out of it,” Emery said.

Of course, Emery won’t reveal his list to anyone outside of the organization. He hinted that his target list at No. 20 would include five to seven players, likely from both sides of the ball.

What we do know for certain is the Bears’ 74-man roster heading into the draft. That roster – which will increase to as many as 90 players by training camp and narrow to 53 by the regular-season opener – should offer the greatest clue as to Emery’s list.

Quarterbacks (3)

Jay Cutler, Josh McCown, Matt Blanchard

Analysis: Emery would like to draft a young quarterback for Marc Trestman to develop. Look for a pick in the middle rounds (say, Rounds 4-6), where a player such as Landry Jones from Oklahoma or Matt Scott from Arizona might be available.

Running backs (4)

Matt Forte, Michael Bush, Armando Allen, Harvey Unga

Analysis: It’s possible that the Bears could look for a pass-catching running back late, but Allen played well (27 carries, 124 yards, 1 TD) in limited time in 2012. Forte and Bush provide an excellent one-two punch in the backfield.

Receivers (8)

Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Earl Bennett, Eric Weems, Joe Anderson, Brittan Golden, Dale Moss, Terrence Toliver

Analysis: Devin Hester has become a full-time special teams player and Johnny Knox has retired, which could open up a spot for Emery to select a speed burner in the middle rounds. One idea is Texas wideout Marquise Goodwin, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.21 seconds.

Tight ends (7)

Martellus Bennett, Steve Maneri, Evan Rodriguez, Kyle Adams, Brody Eldridge, Gabe Miller, Fendi Onobun

Analysis: Emery has a lot riding on Trestman, and he could help the new coach diversify his playbook by providing him with another top-notch tight end. Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert, Stanford’s Zach Ertz and San Diego State’s Gavin Escobar could be gone in the first two rounds, so the Bears must act fast if they want another talent to join Bennett.

Offensive linemen (12)

Jermon Bushrod, J’Marcus Webb, Roberto Garza, Matt Slauson, Jonathan Scott, Gabe Carimi, James Brown, Eben Britton, Edwin Williams, Cory Brandon, Taylor Boggs, Derek Dennis

Analysis: Free-agent additions such as Bushrod and Slauson should help protect Cutler, but the Bears need more after giving up 44 sacks a year ago. Several top linemen could be available at No. 20, including Alabama’s D.J. Fluker and North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper.

Defensive tackles (4)

Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, Nate Collins, Andre Fluellen

Analysis: The Bears need to add depth on the defensive interior, but they should be able to accomplish that in the later rounds. Melton and Paea are entrenched as the starters, while Amobi Okoye remains available as a free agent for possible backup duty.

Defensive ends (7)

Julius Peppers, Corey Wootton, Shea McClellin, Turk McBride, Kyle Moore, Cheta Ozougwu, Aston Whiteside

Analysis: Emery selected a versatile pass rusher (McClellin) with his first pick last season, and he likely will look at other positions in the first few rounds this year.

Linebackers (9)

Lance Briggs, D.J. Williams, James Anderson, Blake Costanzo, J.T. Thomas, Dom DeCicco, Patrick Trahan, Jerry Franklin, Lawrence Wilson

Analysis: Emery’s mission, should he choose to accept it, is to provide the Bears with a younger, faster linebacker who can become a mainstay on defense in the years ahead. Georgia’s Alec Ogletree is the best athlete and the best option. Others include Kansas State’s Arthur Brown, LSU’s Kevin Minter and maybe, just maybe, Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o.

Cornerbacks (7)

Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, Kelvin Hayden, Zack Bowman, Sherrick McManis, LeQuan Lewis, Isaiah Frey

Analysis: Tillman is 32, Jennings is 29 and Hayden will turn 30 in July, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add youth here. Some have suggested that Washington’s Desmond Trufant is a good fit at No. 20, but linebacker and offensive line are bigger priorities.

Safeties (8)

Major Wright, Chris Conte, Craig Steltz, Tom Zbikowski, Brandon Hardin, Anthony Walters, Tom Nelson, Cyhl Quarles

Analysis: The Bears have drafted a safety every year since 1842 (OK, we made that up), but they have bigger needs elsewhere. Hardin will have a chance to contribute after spending his rookie season on injured reserve.

Specialists (5)

Robbie Gould, Austin Signor, Adam Podlesh, Patrick Mannelly, Devin Hester

Analysis: Nothing to see here. Move right along.

• Northwest Herald sports columnist Tom Musick can be reached at tmusick@shawmedia.com and on Twitter @tcmusick.

Previous Page|1|2|Next Page

Get breaking and town-specific news sent to your phone. Sign up for text alerts from the Northwest Herald.

Reader Poll

How much do you plan to spend on landscaping this year?
less than $100
$100-$300
$300-$500
more than $500