Bears Mock Draft – Three Weeks Left
This is not what I would do, this is what I think Phil Emery will do 3 weeks from tonight.
1. Big and Athletic
We know that Emery likes big athletic players who are going to be able to win physically at the NFL level. His history as a strength and conditioning coach seems to have an impact on his scouting as he leans towards players that have the physical upside to dominate at the NFL level.
2. High Upside
Emery has not shown that he wants college production or polish from his draft picks. He has shown a ton of faith in his coaching staff to take raw players with room to improve and make them better pros than they were in college. He does not want a finished product that does not have room to improve.
3. Positions of Need
Emery may not take the players we were expecting, but he does take the positions we are expecting. He focuses on the weaknesses. In 2012 it was DE and WR [McClellin, Jeffery], last season it was OL and LB [Long, Mills and Bostic, Greene]
4. Multiple picks at areas of weakness
Emery attacks positions of need with multiple players and resources. We had a weakness at WR [Marshall, Jeffery], we had a weakness at OL [Bushrod, Slauson, Long and Mills], we had a need for young LBs [Bostic, Greene], and we needed DEs [Allen, Houston, Young, Izzy, Scott, Lane].
1 DT Ra’shede Hageman [Minnesota] 6’6″ 318lbs. [5.02 40, 32 reps, 35.5″ vert, 9’6″ broad]
I want to start this by saying that Hageman terrifies me, I am scared by both how good he could be and how bad he could be. Luckily for the Bears I am not making the pick, and Emery has not shown any fear since taking over as GM. Hageman has the most potential in the draft. I think if everything clicks, if the stars align, he can be every bit as dominant at DT as Clowney will be at DE.
Good: The physical skills are jaw dropping, not impressive, but jaw dropping. 6’6″ 318lbs., 35″ arms, 10″ hands, Hageman is the physical prototype of a DT and he looks like Richard Seymour. His testing scores are the only thing more impressive than his measurable. 5.02  at 310lbs. is impressive, 32 reps with 35″ arms is scary, but a 35.5″ vertical and 9.5″ broad jump show explosiveness that is off the charts. At 310lbs. he jumped higher than a number of CBs. People may ask why does this matter, it shows lower leg explosion which is essential to the position. Hageman is the poster child for the planet theory, there are simply not many people who walk the earth that look like him. On the field when Hageman is motivated he is dominant. He physically rag dolls the OG into the backfield. He has the length to disrupt the passer even when he does not get a sack and he has the burst to simply walk by OLmen.
This quote from an NFL Scout sums up Hageman pretty accurately
“He does a lot of things you don’t like. But when he doesn’t want to be shoved around, they can’t shove him.”
The Bad: Hageman has played DL for 3 years so he is incredibly raw. He has had some off field issues after a rough childhood. That is all stuff I can live with. What scares me is that he is the physically most gifted player on the field and he disappears for long stretches. Based on his physical ability he does not have to be dominant, but he needs to no disappear. Hageman needs to play hard all the time, he cannot come across as lazy on the field, and he needs to at a minimum be a presence between stretches of dominance.
How He Fits: Hageman is oozing potential and physical dominance, which we know that Emery covets, he plays a position of need, he has incredibly high upside. I believe that Emery will trust our coaching staff and veteran DL with guys like Allen, Izzy, Ratliff to get the best out of Hageman.
2 S Terrence Brooks [Florida St] 5’11” 200lbs. [4.42 40, 10 reps, 38″ vert, 9’11” broad]
Emery has shown that he will take some serious risk in the 1st round, but he has always followed it with a very solid 2nd round pick. After taking big swings in the 1st he has come back to big school, athletic, positions of need, with players who have a lot of college experience. I think this is partly to mitigate the risk he has taken in the 1st round looking for a superstar player. The McClellin pick does not sting as much because we have a superstar WR from right after him. The 2012 draft can never be a total failure. Brooks fits this mold. He is versatile, having played CB, NB, and FS while at Florida St. He has a ton of big game experience on a championship level defense, and he has the explosion numbers that Emery looks for. He does not have elite size for the position, but at this point in the draft the Bears cannot have it all.
How He Fits: Brooks will compete as the FS. He has the coverage skills, speed, and open field tackling ability to be the starter and provide the Bears with more of an impact than Conte. At a minimum he competes and plays special teams where he was a captain for the Seminoles. Conte’s surgery has all but forced the Bears to do something at FS to keep M.D Jennings off the field.
3 CB Pierre Desir [Lindenwood] 6’1″ 200lbs. [4.59 40, 11 reps, 35″ vert, 11’1″ broad]
The Bears need depth at CB with their top 3 guys over 30, 2 on 1 year contracts, and 2 coming off IR last season. But Emery rarely drafts players to be simple depth guys, he is looking for starting potential even from his developmental depth players [Washington, Wilson]. Desir has the size and athletic ability to at some point in the next couple of seasons be a starting CB. Coming from a small school he will need some time to adjust and he can do that while learning from one of the best CBs in Bears history Charles Tillman. Desir showed at the Senior Bowl that he has the length and change of direction skills to match up with top college players.
How He Fits: He will be a backup in 2014 with the plan to develop him as a possible replacement for Tillman in 2015. If Tillman does get injured I would rather deal with the developmental growing pains of Desir getting beat than Hayden who is not part of the Bears future.
4 S Craig Loston [LSU] 6’1″ 217lbs. [4.65 40, 12 reps, 32.5″ vert, 9’11” broad]
I expect that Emery will invest multiple picks in the safety position as it is the Bears least talented position on the team and no veterans are long term answers. Loston does not have the eye popping numbers that Brooks has, and I would not want him playing the deep FS position. But Emery has been showing interest in some of the big hitters in the draft and I think Loston fits the bill of an intimidating SS. Too often last season the Bears safeties were pushed around in coverage and flat run over in the run game. Loston is a big hitter and a physical SS that can be developed to be our in the box safety.
How He Fits: Probably as a backup and special team in 2014, but he can be developed to start at SS and can provide much higher upside depth to Craig Steltz. Loston has deficiencies in his game, but he is a good value and has the skill set that we are looking for at SS.
5 RB/WR/KR De’Anthony Thomas [Oregon] 5’9″ 175lbs. [4.5 40, 8 reps, 32.5″ vert, 10’4″ broad]
Emery has stated that defense will be the focus of this draft and it should be, but I expect him to add a little bit to the offense. This pick in my opinion is happening. I am not sure if it will be Thomas, but the Bears will pick a versatile, undersized, speed player at some point in the draft. In the CFL Trestman used guys like this with a lot of success, whether they were lining up in the slot, out of the backfield, on screen passes, or on reverses. Trestman is an offensive genius and give him different types of weapons and he will create headaches for defensive coordinators.
How He Fits: Thomas will return kicks and play a little in the slot and at RB in sub packages. He adds another dimension to the Bears offense and do not let the testing numbers throw you he is dynamic with the ball in his hands.
6 DT Ryan Carrethers [Arkansas St] 6’1″ 337lbs. [5.15 40, 32 reps, 26″ vert, 7’4″ broad]
Again Phil Emery goes back to a position of need to increase the depth, competition, and the youth of the position. Carrethers is not that dynamic of a player, he may never be more than an early down plugger, but that is what the Bears need. The Bears need more size on the DL, they need more depth, and they need someone who can be a run stuffer for one of the worst rush defenses ever last season. Mel Tucker used Terrence Knighton effectively in Jacksonville and that is the role that Carrethers will fill.
How He Fits: Carrethers is coming in to simply rotate at NT on running downs and be big and powerful. He will play in short yardage sub packages and hopefully develop into a consistent 1st and 2nd down run player who can be subbed off in nickel.
6 LB Preston Brown [Louisville] 6’1″ 252lbs. [4.86 40, 23 reps, 33″ vert, 9’8″ broad]
This pick is another investment in the run defense and special teams. Brown is not a complete LB, I do not want him in coverage and I doubt he ever becomes a full time NFL starter at MLB. What Brown is, is a heavy hitter with a stout build who plays physical football. He can be a player that plays obvious run downs and comes off the field on passing downs. I love the attitude and intensity that he plays with and the defense needs some of that.
How He Fits: Brown will back up D.J Williams, he will play in short yardage packages, and be a core special teams player to replace Costanzo. Brown in the future could be the starting MLB who plays less than 50% of the snaps because of how much time we play nickel.
Priority Free Agents
QB Garrett Gilbert [SMU]
Gilbert has the physical skill set at 6’3″ 233lbs., but his career went sideways at Texas. It is worth a flyer to bring him in and let Trestman work with him. If Trestman can turn him into something the Bears hit a homerun, if he can’t they really lose nothing.
RB James Wilder [Florida St]
There is just so little value in back up RBs in today’s NFL I can not see Emery selecting one that does not do a lot more. That being said the Bears need depth and competition at RB and Wilder, who has off field issues galore, is 6’3″ 236lbs. and has a lot of physical ability. He would be an ideal PR candidate in case Ford or Forte gets hurt.
QB: Cutler, Palmer, Gilbert
RB: Forte, Ford, Thomas, Wilder
WR: Marshall, Jeffery, Wilson, Hixon, Weems
TE: Bennett, Rosario, Mulligan
LG: Slauson, Brown
C: Garza, De La Puenta
RG: Long, Boggs
RT: Mills, Britton
RE: Allen, Young, Bass
DT: Hageman, Paea, Collins
NT: Ratliff, Carruthers
LE: Houston, Idonije, Washington
SLB: Bostic, McClellin, Franklin
MLB: Williams, Brown
WLB: Briggs, Greene
CB: Tillman, Jennings, Desir, Frey, McManis, Hayden
FS: Brooks, Conte
SS: Mundy, Loston, Steltz