Prospector for Gold: The Phil Emery Drafts, Part 2

Frank Omiyale: great sack dummy, horrible OT. Does Emery have what it takes to find someone better?

Yesterday, I took a look at Phil Emery's scouting on defense, and today we turn to offense. Since Jerry Angelo had what we can generously call "mixed" luck picking offensive players, this is where Phil Emery can really prove his worth for the team. But is Emery's record any better than Angelo's when it comes to offense? Rush your way past Frank Omiyale over there - don't worry, anyone can do it - and see the position-by-position record of Emery's work over the years.

Once again, you can find my draft charts here. If you want to know what's going on with all the colors, check my description from yesterday. Also, you can pull up full stat sheets for all the players in question from the Atlanta and Kansas City draft pages on PFR. And, I give major props to WCGer YaoPau for providing some insight into what draft picks Emery was primarily responsible for: his comments are here and here. Nice work!

Phil Emery: GM - Wayne State University

Quarterbacks

Overall: Two words: Matt Ryan (first round, 2008). Unfortunately, two other words: Rex Grossman (first round, 2003).

Projection: Having already taken care of the backup situation by signing Jason Campbell and re-signing Josh McCown, Emery looks to stand pat at QB this draft season. If he saw major value in the later rounds, he might eye up a developmental QB, but with Nathan Enderle already occupying the developmental spot, it would have to be a steal of a deal for Emery to roll into training camp with five QBs on the roster. If and when we have to replace Jay, I would trust Emery to do as well as he did in finding Matt Ryan, but that's a conversation we can thankfully afford to have another off-season.

Wide Receivers

Overall: Strong record of success scouting the position. Scouted two solid first-rounders - Roddy White (29th overall, 2005) and Jonathan Baldwin (26th overall, 2010) and found good value in the mid rounds - Laurent Robinson (3rd round, 2007) and Marty Booker (3rd round, 1999). Also has some marginal picks in the later rounds, such as Harry Douglas (3rd round, 2008), but solid overall performance.

Projection: The question of the month has been whether or not Emery will take a WR in the first round, and if history is a guide, I would think the odds are fairly strong he will. While the vote is still out on Baldwin (who has to play behind Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston), Roddy White has already set the all-time Atlanta receiving record and still has many years left to play. Also, for those of you who favor the Bears trading down, note that both White and Baldwin were taken in the 20s: if Emery could add to his picks by moving down a few spots, trust his ability to find WR value at the end of the first round. While Emery may have been part of the Bears when Angelo continually got burned in the draft with his WR picks, he's clearly learned a thing or two about scouting the position during his time away from the organization.

Tight Ends

Overall: Limited experience at the position. His teams took fliers on a couple of TEs late in the draft (e.g. Keith Zinger, 7th round, 2008), and went one for two in the mid rounds: Martrez Milner (4th round, 2007) lasted only one season in the league, but Tony Moeaki (3rd round, 2010) had a great rookie year before ending up on IR during the 2011 preseason.

Projection: While the Bears have said all the right things about Kellen Davis this off-season, Emery might be tempted to find the Bears a Jermichael Finley-esque TE and add to Cutler's weapons. Emery's teams have never taken a TE higher than the third round, so expect Emery to follow the trend and look at the TEs still available in the third and fourth rounds.

Running Backs

Overall: History of low-risk, medium-reward picks. Found good depth with FB Jason Snelling (7th round, 2007) and Jerious Norwood (3rd round, 2006), and missed on a couple of late-round fliers (DeAndra Cobb, 7th round, 2005; Thomas Brown, 6th round, 2008). Has never been on a team that has taken an RB in the first or second rounds, although Dexter McCluster (2nd round, 2010) plays as more of a receiving RB than as the WR he was technically drafted as.

Projection: Just like at TE, Emery will have to balance what is already on the roster with the value available when he picks. While he may be tempted to eye up a McCluster-style RB/H-back/WR player, unless someone falls into his lap, he will probably stick with the six backs (Forte, Bush, Allen, Bell, Unga, and Clutts) he already has and let training camp and the preseason sort out the numbers for him.

Don't worry: I saved the best for last!

Offensive Line

Overall: Inconsistent performance but shows potential. Was with the Falcons when they drafted Frank Omiyale in the fifth round (2005) but also found a real LT for Atlanta in first-rounder Sam Baker (2008). Has other big misses on his resume - Doug Datish (C, 5th round, 2007) Jon Asomoah (G, 3rd round, 2010) never made an NFL roster - but also had some success in the middle and later rounds with Rodney Hudson (C, 2nd round, 2011), Quinn Ojinnaka (G/T, 5th round, 2006), and Jon Asamoah (G, 3rd round, 2010).

Projection: Clearly learned while at Atlanta that the second most important position on offense is LT: the team took Sam Baker with their next pick after they drafted Matt Ryan. The Bears have plenty of room for improvement on the line, but Emery has signalled so far that the Bears will rely primarily on the hope that their current players will continue to develop. Given his experience, if Emery is going to draft offensive line, it will probably come in either the first or last two rounds. His only real success stories have come in the first two rounds, but his teams have also been willing to take a shot on some late-round guys and gotten at least limited results. While the Bears haven't shown much interest in top-tier offensive linesmen, it could be a bit of subterfuge on the part of Emery and Company: perhaps the reason they have gone out of their way to tell the NFL and the world that they are oh-so-happy with their current players is to throw other teams off of where the Bears true draft interests lie. I know I'm not the only one who hopes this is the case and that Emery attempts to correct for Jerry Angelo's biggest fault as a GM: undervaluing the importance of the offensive line. Like Angelo, Emery hasn't had much luck finding good blockers in the later rounds, but unlike Angelo, he actually got it right on the picks he helped with in the early going.

So, what's your take? Does Emery suffer from the same inability to evaluate offensive linesmen as Angelo? Will he go with the modern trends and try to find a new-look TE or RB for Tice to play with? Will Enderle even make it to this year's training camp? Praise Ditka, because one week from today, we'll start getting some answers.

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