Phil Emery is the man that has the final say for the Chicago Bears NFL draft plan, so it’s important to figure out the key names he would target.
Shea McClellin and Jon Bostic hint at a love for speed
Every general manager has their own parameters for what they want in certain players, Each of them favor one attribute over another. Granted, preferences can change over time but not too much. For the Bears everything runs through the eyes of Phil Emery. The former scout has been in the business of pro football for two decades. He knows what good players look like but he also understands the intricacies of building good offenses and defenses vary by scheme and it’s up to him to find the right fits while sacrificing as little talent as possible. One thing to note about Emery is he loves speed. That is evident in his selections of Shea McClellin and Jon Bostic, two defenders who can cover a lot of ground in a hurry despite carrying more weight than receivers or running backs.
Alshon Jeffery and Kyle Long exhibit athleticism but also size
Another thing that has become quite evident about “Emery” picks are that they stand out. Their tape might not always be the most extensive but in terms of athleticism and size they are hard to miss. Alshon Jeffery was a perfect example in 2012, a 6’3″ receiver with deceptive speed and outstanding hands from South Carolina. Then there was Kyle Long, very raw in experience but ridiculously fast despite standing 6’6″ and weighing 313 lbs. Both are now Pro Bowl players for the Chicago Bears offense, leading to belief that Emery has the right idea and could follow the same formula in this NFL draft as well. So with the parameters of speed, athleticism and size leading the way, here are the top five prospects that are clear cut “Emery” picks.
#5 – Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina
Is it really possible the Bears might go offense in the first round? The likelihood isn’t good but then it would be hard to be disappointed with the addition of Eric Ebron. The North Carolina tight end is a physical specimen at 6’4″, 250 lbs. He can run like a deer for his size and displayed excellent hands for the Tar Heels. Putting him with Martellus Bennett between Jeffery and Brandon Marshall would throw defenses for a loop.
#4 – Stephon Tuitt – DT – Notre Dame
Injury and lack of conditioning his junior year are likely why Stephon Tuitt is a borderline first round pick. That’s wrong. The Notre Dame defensive end is an athletic freak for his size. At 6’7″, 320 lbs he looks like a born defensive tackle but his rare speed allows him to shift to end and create consistent pressure. In other words he can bring the rush from anywhere, meaning versatility. That is another Emery buzzword. Pairing Tuitt with Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston would drastically improve the disruptive ability of the Bears defensive line.
#3 – C.J. Mosley – LB – Alabama
Lost in all the hoopla surrounding the secondary and line, it’s fair to point out the Chicago Bears aren’t exactly settled at linebacker. They still have Lance Briggs and brought back D.J. Williams but their young options remain somewhat underwhelming at the moment. C.J. Mosley has the kind of talent that should ensure success in the pros. He’s got good dimensions at 6’2″, 234 lbs with excellent range. A true sideline-to-sideline player. On top of that he’s a leader on the field, able to direct teammates into the right plays and read what offenses are trying to do. Very smart. There really aren’t many gripes about his ability to play football.
#2 – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – FS – Alabama
The same goes for teammate Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Chicago still has lingering needs to fill at the safety position despite their free agency moves. They could especially use a rangy centerfielder who can make a difference in pass coverage. That is the bread and butter of Clinton-Dix. He has plenty of speed to cover ground, a 6’1″ frame to match up with tight ends and the vision and instincts to read quarterbacks and break to where the football is going. Chicago hasn’t really had that kind of playmaking potential on the back end for years. Emery may feel the time is right for a change.
#1 – Justin Gilbert – CB – Oklahoma State
Quite honestly when watching the scouting combine last month there was one player that stuck much further out than the rest that screamed “Emery pick.” That was OklahomaState cornerback Justin Gilbert. He had seven interceptions in 2013, flashed loads of athleticism, fluidity and instinct as a defender on tape coupled with excellent ability as a kick returner. To top it off he posted the best numbers of any corner at the scouting combine including a 4.3 40-yard dash. So to review he’s a natural athlete, can run, has good game tape and versatility to contribute on special teams. That just leaves size. At 6’0″ tall with 33 inch arms he doesn’t lack in that department either. If Phil Emery has found his player in the NFL draft, then Justin Gilbert is that guy.