Bears GM Phil Emery keeps us guessing
April, 26, 2012
By Kevin Seifert | ESPN.com
One of these days, we'll learn our lesson about Phil Emery.
All of us -- media members, fans and executives on other NFL teams -- need to stop acting as if they know what the Chicago Bears' new general manager is up to. Emery has now pulled two significant surprises in his first offseason with the Bears. His March trade for receiver Brandon Marshall was anticipated by no one, and his decision to draft Boise State defensive end/linebacker Shea McClellin was among the top surprises of the first round.
McClellin fits the pass-rushing profile that many of us thought the Bears would target, but many draft analysts considered him best suited to be a 3-4 outside linebacker. That's why we thought Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus was a better fit for the Bears. As the Bears' No. 19 pick grew closer, I wondered if they would target Stanford guard David DeCastro, a beast who figured to be off the board long before then.
But here's our mistake: None of us have any idea how Emery thinks and where his values lie. That's a bi-product of a career-long low public profile, one that hasn't exactly sprouted since the Bears, and it's worked to his advantage on a number of occasions already.
McClellin was a late riser in the public's eyes, and many of us thought he fit into the Green Bay Packers' possibilities at No. 28. But obviously Emery, and probably defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, saw something in him that spurred them to grab him then and there.
In the big picture, the Bears addressed one of their most important needs. Their starters in 2011, Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije, each played more than 80 percent of the team's snaps. That's way too many, especially for Idonije, who is best suited as a swing end/tackle. You have to figure McClellin will eventually take over the defensive end spot filled in 2011 by Idonije, most likely in time for Week 1.
The sporting public had the right role targeted but the wrong player. Welcome to the Phil Emery Era.