Relax, Bears GM has a plan

Emery believes it's essential to have all contingencies covered for April 25-27 NFL draft

Somewhere in Phil Emery's Halas Hall office, perhaps in a fireproof safe, is a folder.

It might disintegrate if touched without special gloves.

Maybe it is marked "Top Secret."

In it is "The Draft Plan."

It's not fully formed yet, but it's getting there. And Emery revealed some of it Tuesday in a conference at Halas Hall to discuss the April 25-27 NFL draft.

The plan includes three groups of players the Bears could acquire with their first pick.

The first group, Emery said, includes two or three players who probably won't fall to the Bears. But if one of them does, the Bears will pounce.

Think of someone like North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper, a transcendent talent who could lift the entire offensive line.

The second group includes five or six players the Bears might feel comfortable with at 20 if they have to pick there.

Think of someone like Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert, who could have the kind of dynamic playmaking ability that Emery has said he seeks.

The third group includes maybe four players who would be appealing in a trade back scenario.

Think of someone like Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te'o, an imperfect prospect who still could be an excellent value at the right point of the draft.

Emery did not talk much about individual prospects at the news conference. But he did offer some interesting perspective.

For instance, he sounded as if Teo's scandal or his 4.78 time in the 40-yard dash wouldn't spook him.

Asked about meeting with him at Halas Hall, Emery said, "I found Manti to be a very good person, a very squared-away guy and I certainly enjoyed the meeting."

He also said he was more concerned with playing speed than dash times.

The notion of the Bears drafting a tight end or offensive tackle after they acquired tight end Martellus Bennett and left tackle Jermon Bushrod in the veteran free agent market might puzzle some. But Emery said he would not rule out any player at any position in the draft.

And he also acknowledged that he is interested particularly in offensive linemen, saying it was one of the positions "more attractive to us."

The good news is Emery listed offensive line as one of the strong positions in the draft, along with cornerback, safety and defensive line. He also said the tight end and receiver groups were "above average."

The Bears need all of the above. Of course, they also could use a linebacker. Emery didn't say what he thought about the linebacker class, but other NFL front office men have said it is not very impressive.

CHICAGO

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