Bears' NFL draft priorities begin to crystallize

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by riczaj01, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/...40316_1_draft-moves-jordan-mills-henry-melton

    Bears' NFL draft priorities begin to crystallize
    After signing 2 defensive ends and re-upping 2 tackles as free agents, cornerback clearest position of pressing need
    March 15, 2014|Brad Biggs

    Amid the excitement and satisfaction Phil Emery exuded a day after signing Lamarr Houston as the prize of his free-agent class, the general manager dropped some bread crumbs.

    The trail leads to the May 8-10 NFL draft, providing an indication of what direction the club will go in its next major phase of trying to improve the roster. Yes, more moves are to be made between now and then, maybe several, but the biggest pieces still to come for the overhaul of the defense and future of the organization will arrive via the draft.

    [​IMG]
    The Bears followed the acquisition of Houston with the signing of Willie Young to a $9 million, three-year contract that indicates he will be counted on as a starter. Tackles Jeremiah Ratliff and Nate Collins were re-signed before free agency, so now the chances of bringing back former Pro Bowl performer Henry Melton are reduced.

    "When we make the next couple of moves, that will provide clarity in terms of what our draft moves may be," Emery said.

    Cornerback Charles Tillman became one of the next moves, re-signed Friday to a one-year contract. It would be foolish to rule out Melton returning, though he visited the NFC North rival Vikings before heading to meet the Seahawks, with the Cowboys also interested.

    The Bears aren't in a position to disregard good players, especially on defense. But they clearly are not waiting around to see what kind of offer Melton can drum up from another club, and no one can say if they will get a chance to match anyway. Melton simply could choose to sign elsewhere.

    When Melton entered free agency, the Bears were prepared to move on, and it is apparent the club has no traction with him dating back to a year ago, when they placed the $8.45 million franchise tag on him. The Bears would have preferred to work out a multiyear contract heading into 2013 but couldn't bridge what is believed to have been a wide gap — as it did the year before when running back Matt Forte was tagged and eventually signed long term.

    The slew of signings on the line could lead the Bears to make their next major addition there via the draft. Pittsburgh's Aaron Donald is a disruptive three technique who has gotten considerable attention since the Senior Bowl. Emery has talked consistently about bigger being better, so maybe Notre Dame's Louis Nix would entice him despite knee issues.

    There should be quality tackles available at different levels of the draft, and South Carolina's Kelcy Quarles and LSU's Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson might fit the profile in later rounds.

    Emery lauded the depth at cornerback in the draft. The 33-year-old Tillman is a short-term option and a bridge to the future. Prioritizing the position in the draft will be paramount after declining to draft a cornerback last year.

    Developmental options at cornerback were available on the third day of the draft last year. After getting two linebackers for a position in flux, the Bears opted for Jordan Mills in the fifth round and that proved to be wise as he started 16 games at right tackle and should improve in his second season.

    Emery knows he cannot go that deep into the draft without a cornerback this time, and it is possible investments made on the line — a combined $19 million guaranteed to Houston and Young — will make cornerback a possibility in the first round. Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert, Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard, Ohio State's Bradley Roby and Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller are first-round possibilities.

    [​IMG]
    The team is hardly done remaking its safeties. Calvin Pryor, a physical player from Louisville, would help Emery's goal to bring toughness to the unit. He and Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are expected to be first-round picks. Washington State's Deone Bucannon and Northern Illinois' Jimmie Ward could be second-day options.

    If Melton wants to come back to the Bears at a price that fits their range, it still could happen. And when the market settles, maybe the Bears would be in play for a past-his-prime edge rusher, but it would have to be at a bargain rate. The team ran short on defensive linemen last season when Sedrick Ellis retired and injuries struck. The moves so far point to the draft, where the team must find young talent to add in the mix.

    It adds up to present some interesting combinations for Emery as the team works to develop a draft board with options for linemen and defensive backs. More clues are certain to come.

    bmbiggs@tribune.com

    Twitter @BradBiggs
  2. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    This article pretty much sums up, as of today, my point of view.
  3. VJ18

    VJ18 Veteran

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    As long as we take someone who is fitting and an be a start I'm all for. I'd prefer a DT over a CB in the 1st
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  4. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Big Claw, it's all about who's going to see the field the most, and who's talent is higher then the guy we'd pick in the next round instead of him. If they decide to go DT I'm okay w/that, but I think I'd rather have a S that's going to see the field 90% of the time at 14 over a DT that's going to be in a rotation w/Ratliff and Colllins and see the field 30-50% of the time.
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  5. VJ18

    VJ18 Veteran

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    Front four pressure is more important at this time then a S or CB. We have Tillman and Jennings. If both can stay healthy that will only help the FS and SS look that much more impressive regardless of whos back there. We need a strong front four to disrupt so our secondary can do their job :)
  6. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    important is not the biggest issue; it's how the team ranks each DT and how they rank each S and how they rank each CB compared to who is there not only at 14, but also in rounds 2-4. Do THEY see Donald as being better then Ego Ferguson or Anthony Johnson who can be had in the 2nd and 3rd, compared to how they see Pryor or Dix compared to other S's like Joyner or Dixon who can be had in the 2nd and 3rd.
    IF the team says Donald is the best DT at 14 but he ranks Ego and Anthony nearly the same why take Donald at 14 IF they see Pryor as the best S at 14 but do not see Joyner or Dixon as similarly ranked. And vice versa, if Dix is their highest S but see the other 2 as close and Donald as their highest DT but don't feel Ego/Anthony are simialr then you go w/him.

    I wouldn't go w/a CB at 14 b/c Tillamn and Jennings are here and should be starting IF both can stay healthy, that's a big questionmark but there are plenty of CB's in the draft that will be good backups in the mid rounds.

    I still don't know how a team can justify taking a player in the top 15 that will only see the field a small % of the time compared to a guy that will be out there nearly every down. Value of time on the field is just as important as positional importance. Whoever the DT, Donald, Hagemen, Fersuson or Johnson are only going to see the field in a rotation w/Ratliff and Collins, whoever the S is is going to be the day 1 starter and be on the field a much larger % of the time, that also has to be taken into account.
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  7. Jimmors

    Jimmors The Rhymenoceros Staff Member SuperFan

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    Looking more and more like we are going to take S or DT with the first pick.
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  8. Grizzblue

    Grizzblue Pro-Bowler

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    Way I see it is it's a very complex decision between DT (Donald) and S (Pryor, Dix) with the possibility of Gilbert if he falls.

    The first layer will be who Emery thinks will have a better overall impact day one, paired with their long term ceiling.

    Second layer will be the importance of that player in the defensive scheme, this is where (gulp) Tucker will likely have some serious input.

    Third he will have to take into account who we have currently at the positions in question and what the staff thinks of them. IE who needs to be replaced right now and who may elevate their play and impress.

    Lastly, Emery will have to think about who he thinks will be available with our 2nd pick and what the talent difference is between first guy and 2nd guy. Are we confident Joyner will be there in the 2nd? Does he think there is a AJ type of 3tech hidden in the 2nd? All that will play a part.

    Combine all the above with stud like interviews, backgrounds, leadership ect and there is his decision.

    Heh, simple right?
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  9. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    ya which makes mocks and big boards from "experts" nothing then an exersize in time waisting. It's also why really talented players fall farther then they shoul and why some teams get screwed, b/c not only are they looking at their big boards they are trying to figure out every other teams; mostly based on the "experts" big board.
  10. Grizzblue

    Grizzblue Pro-Bowler

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    And here is the other thing that we all know. Emery dosent seem to really give a damn about experts big boards and mocks and all that stuff. Just look at his last two first round picks. He has proven to be unpredictable, and I really hope that we get a more predictable pick drafting higher this year. If he "reaches" again he better damn well be correct with another Long pick instead of a Shea pick. Scary thing about this is I think he is MUCH better at evaluating offensive talent. (Long, Mills, AJ) in opposed to defensive talent (Shea, Hardin)
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  11. little bear

    little bear Assistant Head Coach

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    Would you guys rather draft a backup QB or another pass-catching TE?
  12. sluggobear

    sluggobear Veteran

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    Jimmors, I agree it will be a DT or Safety.
  13. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    in the 1st or 2nd, personally no, not even if we traded back and got a 2nd 2nd. Come rounds 3-6 imo all things open up depending on how the board is developing.
    That is ignoring the obivious. Lets say the Bears traded back to the bottom of the 1st, and got an extra 3rd and somehow Bortles is still on the board when I pick in the first, ya I'm taking him, the talent is to high and the investment for future picks as well as a legit backup qb is to much to pass up; that's not going to happen though so it's a waxing idiodic.
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  14. Grizzblue

    Grizzblue Pro-Bowler

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    Backup QB trumps extra TE IMO. History says Cutler will go down at some point. Palmer needs to be pushed by someone and shouldn't be given the keys outright.
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  15. Jimmors

    Jimmors The Rhymenoceros Staff Member SuperFan

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    TE. Trestman has shown he is the QB whisperer, so i would rather pick up a backup in the FA market, as opposed to wasting a draft pick on one. A solid TE could definitely be had in later rounds, but you are scraping the bottom of the barrel for QBs in later rounds.
  16. a_miljan

    a_miljan Veteran

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    If there is Ebron, Bortles (no chance), Robinson (no chance) or Lewan, I would take 'em
  17. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    I'd be searching for trade partners if any of those guys were there before I took any of them.
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  18. dabears70

    dabears70 Rookie

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    If we pass on A.Donald we will regret it.
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  19. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Reality is they are going to regret more then a few picks they pass on. They pass on Dix or Pryor they will regret it. They pass on Jernigan they will regret it. It's not like Donald is the last playmaker to be had at 14 and everyone else is going to bust out in 2 yrs.
  20. dabears70

    dabears70 Rookie

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    This is exactly what scares me about Emery is that he tries to be smarter than everyone else. Donald,Gilbert,Dennard,Mosely,Dix,Pryor.......give me one of those preferably Donald for me.:4_6_218v[1]:
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