With the NFL Draft a week away, Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery sat down with the media on Thursday morning and discussed various elements of his organization, as well as giving his fair share of vague answers to questions about the team’s strategy going into the draft.
Whether it was discussing new defensive end Lamarr Houston (whom Emery said could be used as a three-technique lineman in Mel Tucker’s system) or whether the Bears would try to move up in the draft (he said that moving up is expensive), Emery answered a ton of questions, but his responses to questions surrounding University of Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald were the most interesting.
Donald, who has been linked to the Bears in countless mock drafts, has really impressed scouts with his strength and quickness despite his limited side at only 6-foot-1, but Emery doesn’t seem confident that the tackle will be there when the Bears pick in the number 14 slot:
Emery was just talking about a player using his shorter height to gain leverage. Wonder if that player’s name rhymes with Daron Aonald. — Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) May 1, 2014
Sounds to me, after listening to Emery, that he thinks Donald will be gone at 14 — Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) May 1, 2014
The fact that Emery was talking at all about Donald would seem to indicate that the GM isn’t really looking in that direction, but it would still be an interesting selection if he does end up falling to them in that spot. His explosive quickness would be a great asset to have on a completely reconfigured line, and adding him to the mix with Jared Allen and Houston could be just the recipe for success that the Bears unsuccessfully sought after last season.
That being said, Emery does still have plenty of other options if Donald is snapped up before he reaches the Bears. The safety position is in need of an upgrade (although Emery did say that he expected Chris Conte to be ready by the first preseason game), and the Bears could still go cornerback even though there are rumblings that they would rather target that position later in the draft.
Either way, speculation is going to be at a fever pitch over the next seven days over who Emery will take with the pick, or whether he will actually move down and try to add draft picks to the team’s stockpile.