The main way people look at a general manager is with the question, "Did he (or she) help the team win a championship?" If so, how he did it does not matter. But on the way to a championship (or not), they are judged mainly by how a team does in free agency and the draft. While free agency is as much about money as it is about evaluating team needs and players, the draft is a GM's chance to show off his football knowledge and his ability to evaluate talent.
Phil Emery will get to engineer his first draft as a Bears general manager. It will be his first chance to use his years of experience as a college scout to the benefit of a team he runs as GM. His skill at drafting players was one of the reasons the Bears were interested in him. This weekend, Emery can show that he really is the man to bring the Bears to a Super Bowl.
Or has he proven himself already? Consider what he's done so far. Since coming in as the Bears general manager, Phil Emery has:
-- Engineered a trade for Brandon Marshall, the receiver coveted by Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
-- Re-signed Tim Jennings, Kellen Davis, Israel Idonije and Craig Steltz
-- Signed free agent quarterbacks Jason Campbell and Josh McCown, to give Cutler some security if he does get injured.
-- Stuck to his guns on Matt Forte a franchise player, then gave him good back-ups by signing Michael Bush and Kahlil Bell.
-- Signed receivers Devin Thomas and Eric Weems, who can also help out on special teams
-- Added Blake Costanzo to make up for Corey Graham's departure from special teams
-- Signed cornerbacks Jonathan Wilhite and Kelvin Hayden to help with the Bears' depth in the defensive backfield
-- Extended Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs and signed Geno Hayes to improve depth at linebacker
-- Signed Chilo Rachal for the offensive line
Every move he has made helped improve the Bears, particularly on offense. The team still has needs, but the job done in free agency means the Bears are flexible enough for Emery to not have a great draft, but still have had a great start to his job.