Friday, May 9, 2014
Emery should make splash with deep pool
By Michael C. Wright
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Day 2 of the NFL draft for the Chicago Bears in 2013 ended early with the club netting linebacker Jonathan Bostic in the second round; a solid selection, who projects to be a key contributor for years to come.
The Bears gave up that year's third-round pick to Miami in the trade to acquire receiver Brandon Marshall.
What’s encouraging about Chicago’s prospects for Day 2 of the 2014 draft is general manager Phil Emery is choosing from one of the deepest classes of prospects in recent years, not to mention the club actually has a third-round pick this time.
The Bears own the 51st and 82nd overall picks in the next two rounds, and still have several options available at defensive tackle in Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan, Notre Dame’s Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt, and Minnesota’s Ra'Shede Hageman and at safety with Stanford's Ed Reynolds Jr.
Linebacker options remain abundant as well with Brigham Young’s Kyle Van Noy (62 tackles in college), as well as Connecticut’s Yawin Smallwood, who produced 332 career tackles and 9.5 sacks in college. New Bears defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni is familiar with Smallwood, having served as head coach at Connecticut from 2011-14.
Looking back at the acquisition of Bostic, he flashed moments of brilliance early on in the preseason. But when the club pushed Bostic into the starting lineup, the truth is he was inconsistent. Emery later even said the Bears were possibly playing Bostic in the wrong spot in 2014, which is why he’ll alternate between the middle and Sam linebacker in 2014.
Despite some bouts with inconsistency, Bostic finished the season with 75 tackles, a sack and an interception in nine starts. With a year of extensive experience, and an NFL offseason, Bostic figures to develop into exactly the type of player the Bears envisioned originally when making the selection.
So while the safety and defensive tackle position remain areas perceived as needs, Emery should be able to land a couple of starting-caliber players in Rounds 2 and 3. He accomplished as much last season with a talent pool not near as deep as the one he’s currently eyeing for the club’s next two picks.
More than likely, Emery will do it again Friday with Chicago’s next two picks.