The time is near. In just one day, the NFL Draft will be upon us. It is the most hopeful time of year for nearly every team. General managers choose the players they feel will help them win a title. Some need a final tweak, others need an overhaul. The Bears had a monumentally bad defense last year, but they helped themselves with free agency. Now the draft can make the makeover complete.
The Bears have seven picks in this draft (one each in rounds 1-5 and two in round 6). This is a deep draft, so having some more picks would do Emery and the Bears well.
If they do pick up some more picks, who would they work with?
The San Francisco 49ers have enjoyed a great deal of success over the past two seasons, coming up just short in trying to win a Super Bowl. In 2012, they were one play from beating the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII. Last season, they were one play from beating the Seattle Seahawks to make it to Super Bowl XLVIII.
The 49ers are a solid team. They have one of the best defenses in football. If there is a weak point in that defense, it is at cornerback. They are thin in that area. Picking at 30, the top corners they cherish probably will not be there. They do have some picks to fix that situation.
San Francisco has eleven picks in this draft, SIX of them in the first three rounds. Reports are that they want Justin Gilbert. The way it looks now, Gilbert should be available at 14. Many of the teams ahead of that position are in need of offensive players, so there will be a run in that area.
If Gilbert is there at 14, he won’t be there at 15. The Pittsburgh Steelers will most certainly pick him if he is available. That leaves the Bears in a great position to deal.
I love Gilbert and have said the Bears should pick him. I believe he will be a special player. If an opportunity to add extra picks comes up and it costs him, however, I am all for the extra picks.
The Bears are in need in multiple positions. They can go a long way in fixing their defense (or even provide more depth on offense) with extra picks in the first three rounds.
Yesterday, Jordan Campbell wrote on this website about the trade value of draft picks, with a chart. The value of the 14th pick is 1,00. By trading that pick for the 30th (620 points), 56th (340 points) and 94th (124 points) picks, the Bears pick up two extra picks in the first three rounds valued at 1,084 points. It’s a pretty even exchange, and it helps both teams tremendously.
There is one thing to remember when looking at what Emery likes. He has said he wants athletic playmakers. To go along with athleticism, Emery loves tall players. He picked Alshon Jeffery and Marquess Wilson, both over 6’3″. Last season’s first round pick, Kyle Long, is 6’6″. Shea McClellin is 6’3″. Many mock drafts have Aaron Donald going to the Bears, but even though he fits the athleticism Emery likes, he doesn’t fit the height. I would not bet on Donald getting picked.
There are other defensive tackles that could be had later in the first round, if they go for that position first. Stephon Tuitt (6’6″, 304 lbs), RaShede Hageman (6’6″, 310 lbs), and Caraun Reid (6’2″, 302) are all athletic tackles who are taller (and thus disrupt passing lanes better) than Aaron Donald (6’1″ 285 lbs.). They can also get Anthony Johnson (6’3″, 308 lbs.) in the fourth if they like him.
With the needs on defense great, it is important that Emery has a good draft. Why not increase the odds of having a good draft by adding picks? Emery transformed the offense in one offseason, so if he is able to repeat that performance on the defensive side, it could be a very interesting and fun season in Chicago.