Chicago's latest draft class created the instant trivia question of which NFL team features both the 2013 Pac-10 offensive and defensive players of the year, but in the end nothing trivial transpired with regard to the quality of prospects selected.
Bears general manager Phil Emery set upon the task of filling the team's needs and accomplished that for the most part with the team's eight-man draft class. In doing so, the club stuck to its original plan, and when it veered, it was only done in an effort to move toward the goal of filling the team's needs.
Day 3 of the draft served as a prime example.
When Emery and the personnel staff looked up at the draft board going into Saturday, they felt the only way to land two quality players on the final day was to trade back into the fourth, which is precisely what the Bears did. After selecting 2013 Pac 10 offensive player of the year Ka'Deem Carey in the fourth, the club received another pick in the round via a trade with the Denver Broncos. The trade, in which Chicago gave up its fifth-round pick Saturday and an additional fifth rounder in in 2015, allowed the Bears to address a huge need at safety, as they selected Minnesota's Brock Vereen with the 131st pick. The trade also netted a seventh-round pick, which Chicago used to pick up Boise State offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr.
"So from the start of the day we were trying to line up opportunities to take our fifth-round [pick] and move into the back end of the fourth so we could come away with two quality players," Emery explained. "I just really felt if we waited until the fifth round for the second player, it wouldn't be there."
The synergy developed from familiarity between the coaching staff and scouting department allowed the club to pull off that move almost seamlessly, as part of Emery concluding arguably his best draft as the team's GM. When Emery joined the Bears in 2012, not only was he new to the job, but the scouting department was already in the process of preparing for the draft. Then in 2013, Emery found himself working with a new coaching staff trying to find players who fit schemes he didn't yet truly know, or at least hadn't seen used by the Bears.
Now with Emery's personnel department, which he's expanded, and a year of experience working with Marc Trestman and the coaching staff, perhaps things finally are coming together.
"Very satisfied the way people came together in this building," Emery said "It was awesome. If you're willing to sit down and have a good conversation [about players] instead of just reading reports, state your opinions and really listen, you're going to find a way toward your goals. That's what I've seen happen this past year in terms of everybody being comfortable with each other."