Phil Emery has been a general manager who beats to the beat of his own drum. He hears what the so-called experts’ would be, but he turns around and throws them a curve. The mantra with Emery should be “Expect the unexpected.”
Emery has gone against the grain with his picks. No one saw his pick of Shea McClellin coming. He went with the combo defensive end/linebacker. The jury is still out on him, but the thought was he could give the Bears some flexibility and he still may do that.
Another pick out of left field was Kyle Long. Nobody ranked him in the top-20, yet Emery took him, and Long became a Pro Bowler in his rookie season.
One pick he made that really worked out was Jordan Mills. Emery picked him up with the 163rd pick, and he got a player who started all 16 games and played solidly. Imagine that, not one but TWO rookies on one side of the line, and it worked.
Some expect Emery to trade down in this year’s draft, seeing that many teams are in dire need of offense while the Bears need defensive help. That could be true, but the surprise could be who Emery picks.
The Bears need help at defensive tackle and cornerback. Emery, however, has also said that he will still be looking for safety help, even though he picked up some safeties through free agency.
There is one scenario I could envision happening with Emery. Yes, he trades down and gets two picks. No, he will not go after a defensive tackle. Not right away, anyway.
Imagine a deal in which Emery rakes in an extra second or third round pick. The Bears could pick up safety HaHa Clinton-Dix in the first round, and cornerback Kyle Fuller in the second. After that, they can get Anthony Johnson as their defensive tackle with their next pick.
Anthony Johnson come out of LSU. He measures 6-2, and weighs 308 pounds. He is a freak athleHe is te, boasting a great combination of size, speed and agility. He is explosive coming out of the snap and causes disruption.
Johnson has been projected to go anywhere from the second to the fourth round. He is considered a poor man’s Aaron Donald.
I know that I have touted Donald as the tackle the Bears need, and he is. In this case, however, there is the matter of improving the defense as a whole, not just one position. If you can pick up a player with similar attributes to Donald AND pick up two other quality players, why would one not do that? I believe this fits in with Emery’s philosophy.
Fuller come out of Virginia Tech, and is one of those athletic playmakers Emery is fond of having. He is 6’0″ and weighs 190 pounds. He has long arms to help him against the tall receivers, and has good vertical leaping ability.
Fuller also plays tough. He does not play like he weighs less than 200 pounds. He can fight those physical receivers that are so popular now in the league. He also has good route recognition to stay with the receiver, and has great read-and-react quickness. His physical play does him well in supporting the run.
Emery did a great job in making over the offensive unit in just one offseason. This offseason, he needs to do the same with the defense, which ranked 30th last year. Making a trade like this can go a long way to accomplish that goal.
We have experienced Emery’s unconventional drafts. He does his homework and if he can reach his goals in a different way, he will find it and do it. Whatever he does, let’s hope he works some magic and gives the defense the same makeover he did with the offense. If he does, this season’s Bears could work some magic of their own.