Two days through the first draft of the Phil Emery era gives Chicago Bears fans mixed feelings. On one hand they're happy he hasn't ignored Jay Cutler, but on the other wonder if he's reaching. A closer look shows a surprise truth.
Picks like Shea McClellin and Brandon Hardin show Emery likes athletes
The name Dan Bazuin went through Chicago newspapers like a terrible black plague people thought went extinct years ago. Bears fans remember well the promise and eventual disaster Bazuin became, kick starting a run of bad drafts that got former GM Jerry Angelo fired. Now Phil Emery takes over and his first two picks on defense, Shea McClellin of Boise State and Brandon Hardin of Oregon State, got taken with cautious optimism by fans and experts. A closer look though brings some things to light about the picks. Shortly after drafting McClellin, word leaked that the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots had eyed him. Scouts considered the young pass rusher a versatile defender who could play anywhere from defensive end to linebacker. Clearly Emery saw the same thing the Packers and Patriots did, a good sign given their success. As for Hardin, draft experts considered him a big, fast player who played both cornerback and safety. That shows at least one thing is important to Emery. If someone plays for the Chicago Bears, the will be a natural athlete.
Pairing of Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall gives Jay Cutler huge targets
Emery was already lauded by fans and experts for pulling off a trade in free agency for three-time Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall. His reunion with quarterback Jay Cutler made the Bears an early pick for a rebound to the playoffs and even a Super Bowl sleeper. The new general manager didn't stop there though. Via another trade, this time in the second round of the draft, Emery selected South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery. Considered a first round talent by every expert, Jeffery hurt his draft stock by playing overweight at 230 pounds his junior year and then not doing any drills at the NFL Scouting Combine. Since then he has dropped the weight but couldn't stop his names from dropping into the second round. That said Chicago may have gotten a 6'3", sure-handed target that can jump for Cutler. Paired with the 6'4" Marshall, the Bears may boast a frightening pair of twin towers for defenses to stop.
While other teams catch the headlines for high draft grades, Phil Emery has charted the Chicago Bears on a quieter but interesting course. While none of his draft picks drew boos, they did draw questions. Above anything he favors versatile athletes like Shea McClellin and Brandon Hardin. Together with Alshon Jeffery, veterans like Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler could smile a lot more when the 2012 NFL season kicks off.