NOTE: Don't forget that I'll be hosting the first ever DaBearsBlog First Round Draft Party Thursday night at Cortland's Garage in Bucktown. At the party we'll be giving away a pair of lower tier tickets for the October 28th Bears vs. Panthers game at Soldier Field. (There will also be a $25 open bar from the second the Colts go on the clock until the final pick of the round is made.) For full details on the party, CLICK HERE.
There is general opinion circulating across the Bears media landscape that Phil Emery must target a starter, an immediate contributor, with the 19th overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft. It is poppycock. Sure every GM wants their first round pick to become a major contributor from day one. This is why they're paid so handsomely. But "targeting a starter" in the first round or any round of the draft leads to reaching on unworthy talents and Emery will not bypass players he's graded highly for a lower-rated player fitting a need. He will do what most GMs around the game do: take the best player on his board.
The reason why is simple: 2012 is not about Phil Emery. Emery will enter the coming campaign with a roster that is 88% belonging to Jerry Angelo and he will have gone through an entire off-season/draft process without his own scouting and organizational personnel in place. I don't care what he says about the talent currently assembled in the scouting department. I don't care what he says about wanting players who can help the Bears win now. I don't care what he says about Lovie's contribution to the college evaluation process. If the Bears fail to make the postseason next year Phil Emery knows he will be showing Lovie the door and bringing his own man in to coach. He knows he has to be concerned about drafting for that coach as much as for the current man.
And how many real starting positions are available for the Bears with the 19th pick? Pretty much all of them! That's how the NFL operates these days. No team has a great player at every position and no team has any depth at all. Hell, the Giants have a need at wide receiver and they have the best receiving corps in the league.
Outside of quarterback and running back you could make a successful argument the Bears' first round pick would have an opportunity to start anywhere on the field. Mark Barron could easily win a starting safety job in camp. Kendall Wright could fill the Johnny Knox void. Coples, Ingram, Mercilus? It seems difficult to make the Bears defensive line rotation never mind become a three-down bookend to Julius Peppers. I continue to argue Dont'a Hightower is the most undervalued player in this draft and someone is going to draft a ten-year starter at linebacker. I don't think anyone outside Gabe Carimi is safe on the Bears offensive line.
Emery admitted in his Monday presser he feels no pressure. Why should he? He's guaranteed two or three more drafts at Halas Hall. He starts with the nineteenth overall pick Thursday night. And he'll be taking the top name on his board.
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