- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The selection of Oregon offensive guard Kyle Long in the first round of Thursday's NFL draft triggered the collective "Huh?" from observers, making Day 2 of the festivities a tossup in predicting what Bears general manager Phil Emery might do in the second round.
In defending the first-round selection of a prospect with just four starts of FCS experience on his resume, Emery pointed to what the club calls its "A-Score" (athletic index score).
"Jim Arthur, one of our assistant strength coaches does a tremendous job of correlating information and putting all the history of that position together, where they were as athletes started with (former Bears strength and conditioning coach) Rusty (Jones), Bill Polian, it's called our athletic index score or A-Score," Emery said. "This guy is the highest. This guy is (the) number one offensive guard in the last 12 draft classes, and that's as far back as we go. He rates as rare. In our scale, a 9 is rare. He rates as rare."
So perhaps it's too early to judge whether Emery's move was a job well done. But it certainly adds intrigue to Round 2 considering the Bears still need to address needs, but would also like to find a way to add more picks.
The Bears entered the draft tied with Carolina for the league low in draft picks (five). Asked if the club could still find impact players in the second round, Emery said, "definitely."
"There's real depth there, like we talked about as far as the strong positions in the draft, and there will be good depth in areas we're looking at," he said.
While the case could be made for yet another offensive lineman, perhaps a center, in Round 2, Emery doesn't anticipate the Bears going in that direction, not immediately, anyway.
"Obviously we have other areas we want to address," he said. "So we are going to look at those other areas first."
Of the 10 players on the list of ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper's best available for Day 2, five in that group fit areas the Bears could address. Linebackers Manti Te'o of Notre Dame, and Kevin Minter of LSU could be options for the Bears that would fit needs, and it's also worth mentioning that Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown (not on Kiper's list of best available players) also remains undrafted along with Oregon's Kiko Alonso. The club hosted both players for pre-draft visits at Halas Hall.
Stanford tight end Zach Ertz, whom the Bears have expressed high interest in, is still available, as are quarterbacks Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, and Ryan Nassib, although it's unlikely the club would address the backup quarterback situation in the second round.
Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor could also be an option for the Bears in the second round along with B.W. Webb of William & Mary, another player the club hosted for a pre-draft visit. Webb is considered more of a third-round talent, but the Bears could pounce if there's a run on corners in the second round.
There's also the potential for the Bears to swap second-round picks with another team to add a third-rounder.
"We're very open to trading back in each and every round," Emery said. "We are going to continue to look at every possibility to fill all our needs."
In his opening statement discussing Long, Emery called him the type of athlete and player the club is targeting: "fast, tough, dynamic athlete, a productive athlete." So the club won't deviate from those criteria in Round 2.
"Draft's not over," Emery said. "So we'll have another opportunity at those other positions (perceived as needs)."