Spotlight on: Chicago Bears
2013 draft picks: 20, 50, 117, 153, 188
OL, DL, CB, LB, WR
General manager: Phil Emery, second season
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Recent draft picks that clicked:
-- DE Corey Wootton, 109th overall, 2010
-- DT Henry Melton, 105th overall, 2009
-- RB Matt Forte, 44th overall, 2008
-- OT J'Marcus Webb, 218th overall, 2010
Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery has shown an impeccable sharp eye as an
evaluator. The draft is Emery's calling card, where he cut his teeth with the
organization before going out for further training with the Falcons and
Patriots and returning as GM in 2012.
The surprising element of Emery's talent-collection ways in two offseasons with the
Bears has been a radar-lock feel for free agency, showing the aggression and
bravado that Jerry Angelo lacked to address pressing team needs that lingered
for almost a decade.
The Bears acquired Brandon Marshall and re-signed running back Matt Forte before
the 2012 season. Marshall became the first 1,000-yard receiver for the Bears in
To be remembered as anything other than the year the Bears parted with iconic
middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, management has more work to do.
The next 12 months will determine the direction the Bears' compass is pointed.
All Emery has to worry about after the 2013 draft is when he'll broach the bubbling
issue of Jay Cutler's desire for a $100 million contract.
Five players who should be on the Chicago Bears draft radar:
Player, school (overall rating, position rating)
DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri*
It'd be a major upset if Richardson remains on the board past the 15th overall pick. He's scheme versatile and arguably one of the five best athletes pound-for-pound in this class. He had only 13 college starts, and the knocks on Richardson are that he's too one-dimensional as a pass rusher and not battle-tested. John Thierry, Michael Haynes and Tommie Harris are the defensive linemen drafted in the first round by the Bears since in the past 20 years, but Bears fans shouldn't cringe if Richardson is available at No. 20. Offensive tackle,
Emery said, is still a need despite adding Bushrod in a $35 million deal, but it'd be surprising if the Bears went with Alabama's D.J. Fluker, an Erik Williams-type right tackle with a couch-length wingspan. Moving up would be a serious gamble with no third- or seventh-round picks.
OG Larry Warford, Kentucky (48, 3)
Lance Louis was coming back from a torn ACL, but subtracting his physicality is a detriment to the Bears' running game. Gabe Carimi isn't a tone-setter in the trenches, but Warford -- at 6-4, 330 -- plays through the whistle and hits with a purpose. Warford is a powerful run blocker but lacks the foot speed to be a factor on the hoof.
CB D.J. Hayden, Houston (62, 7)
Charles Tillman isn't yet a greybeard or candidate to move to safety, but the Bears have to address the position or find themselves shopping for multiple cornerbacks in free agency in March 2014. Hayden's heart issue isn't a worry to most teams. He suffered a near-fatal injury in November, but when he worked out for scouts at UH a month ago, he showed track speed at 5-11, 195. Tillman, the 35th pick in 2003, and Lance Briggs (68th, 2003) can't be counted on as defensive leaders beyond this season.
CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson (94, 13)
Different evaluators have different takes on Wreh-Wilson. His timed speed in the low-to-mid 4.4s doesn't agree with his game tape or Senior Bowl body of work as a player who struggled to contend with top-end speed. At 6-1, 195, Wilson can be a zone corner who smothers receivers at the line. He's an intriguing enough talent that Emery might roll the dice in hopes
of having another Brandon Flowers.
LB Jon Bostic, Florida (4, 122)
James Anderson and DJ Williams were signed as stopgaps, one-year options who aren't guaranteed to make the 53-man roster if the Bears can find more sensible options. Bostic is comparable to Briggs, who came out of Arizona as an inside linebacker and was drafted in the middle rounds because of his 4.6 speed. Bostic can plug running lanes between the tackles and is more athletic than former Gators' inside 'backer Brandon Spikes (Patriots). His leadership traits and competitiveness are strong, and he'd embrace a spot in the middle of
a veteran-laden defense.