You mean to tell me we might have a new draft philosophy?
Phil Emery will undergo his first NFL draft as a general manager, and not as a scout. So heading into tomorrow night, he and the Bears' braintrust - scouts, the other members of the Bears' front office, and the coaching staff - will be sequestered in the "war room," with phones, their Big Board, numerous scouting reports and countless amounts of information on just about every prospect the team is interested in.
Since this all could be a little overwhelming, we thought we'd offer some friendly advice - mostly serious, and some not-so-serious. And I promise, this won't be a giant Angelo-bashfest.
First, solve the receiver problem... on the telephone. No, that's not a shot at Jerry (and yes, that joke's been done before). The reason I say this is because reportedly, Emery's been contacted about moving that nineteenth pick, in both directions. If Emery and the Bears identify a player they want who's starting to fall down the draft, there should be some opportunity to jump up, and if they don't like any of the players expected to be available at 19, they should be able to find a suitor to allow them to pick up picks.
Second, the Bears shouldn't pinhole themselves into needing a position in the first round, or any position. Doing so could lock them into blinders, ignoring other, occasionally better options at the spot. I've looked at the flexibility the Bears have before, that hasn't changed. If they don't ignore their options, they can pick up the best player to help the team.
Third, if you've identified a position of need, it's one thing to go through a draft selecting best player available, but it's another to sit on that position till the final pick. Late round picks aren't expected to be day one starters and shouldn't be treated as such. Emery's expressed a desire to draft measurable guys in the later rounds - this is the right approach, especially at positions of depth, where these players are allowed to develop at their pace instead of pressed into action immediately. While best player available is preached (and Sam looked at what that exactly means), the high round players are definitely picks that can contribute immediately to a team or can develop at a high level.
Another thing, don't try to outsmart the room. You might be able to, as I don't know you personally, but don't dig for that sixth-round prospect in the third round because you just have to have him. On that note, if you have a player you like, and it's not too much of a reach, take him. Taking reach players because the Bears had to have him landed us Garrett Wolfe.
Above all, Phil, leave your options open. If trading down offers the best chance to help the team, do it. If moving up gets that difference maker, do it. And if you really like a player on your board, put yourself in the best position to get him.
What advice would you give Emery regarding the draft? What are some of your "musts" when it comes to draft strategy, which players to take, and when to trade? How much do you take into account any recent news reports? How much information is too much information? Give us some of your thoughts regarding the process of the draft.