Pro football

Bears GM Phil Emery shopping for dynamic players in draft

2014-05-01T18:00:00Z 2014-05-08T13:12:46Z Bears GM Phil Emery shopping for dynamic players in draftAl Hamnik al.hamnik@nwi.com, (219) 933-4154 nwitimes.com
May 01, 2014 6:00 pm  • 

LAKE FOREST | Bears general manager Phil Emery did not roll out the blackboard and list the seven players he desired in next week's NFL draft. Don't be silly.

Thursday's 50-minute pre-draft news conference at Halas Hall offered little insight as to Emery's strategy.

If you were panning for gold, you wouldn't have found enough nuggets to buy a toothbrush.

This much we do know:

• The Bears finished 8-8, losing six games by eight points or less and five of their last eight in missing the playoffs for a third straight year.

• They gave up 30 points a game, 29.9 to be exact.

• Their abysmal run defense allowed 161.4 rushing yards per game.

Emery said he'll use next week's draft to find picks who can help the Bears win immediately and has targeted six individuals with that 14th selection.

"I'd be happy if two out of the six were on our board at our pick and I'd be ecstatic if three out of the six were on the board at our pick," said Emery, his biggest needs coming at safety and defensive end.

The Bears have one pick in each of the first five rounds (14th, 51st, 82nd, 117th, 156th) and two in the sixth round (183rd and 191st).

Emery is comfortable trading up or down, but only if the prospects still have the graded value the Bears had given them and could make a "dynamic difference" for their team.

Trading up would also be more expensive.

"This draft is offensive-orientated," Emery said. "There are good defensive players and when it's our turn to pick, does that player's value match up with that pick?

"If there's a better player at another position on either side of the ball, we're gonna take the best player that can help us win now."

His shopping list remains the same regarding the ''traits" he looks for.

"It's the same for all the players," Emery said. "The dynamic ability to make plays whether it's on the defensive line stopping the run, or a receiver who can get downfield and beat press coverage, or a running back who can make people miss in the hole, lower his shoulder and get more yards."

With Jay Cutler given a seven-year contract extension in January, Emery said Jordan Palmer is the backup quarterback and will be pushed by Jerrod Johnson.

He also shot down the theory of developing quarterbacks, citing a study he did that revealed since the 2006 draft, few QBs chosen after the third round became top-end starters and most are out of the league.

Emery said 40 percent of the NFL's current 90-man rosters consist of undrafted free agents. Veterans released in training camp will also add to the player pool if Chicago does not fill its draft needs.

Emery said there is a drop-off in talent after the top few safety prospects but the Bears would take a cornerback if he has the size and instincts to make the switch.

"It's still a big jump," he added.

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