General manager Phil Emery made no secret that the Bears would go defense-heavy in this year’s draft. The day broke the Bears’ way early, pretty much the way Emery hoped it would, and even when he was wrong, it worked out for Chicago.
It ended with the Bears having their choice of top safeties and also their pick at cornerback in the person of Virginia Tech corner Kyle Fuller.
Going in with a deck of six names they liked for No. 14, 10 of the first 12 picks used up none of those, going for offensive players or ones like Jadeveon Clowney that the Bears didn’t bother slotting among their six. By the time their turn came, enough of their pick-six were still available that they could trade down to add picks or get exactly whom they wanted, and they opted for Fuller, targeted by the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 15.
They were laying in wait for elite defensive talent and three of the first four picks, with Clowney going No. 1 to Houston. Rush linebacker Kahlil Mack, another elite talent but not one of the six the Bears liked with No. 14, went No. 5 to Oakland. Then Atlanta stayed on the offensive course with Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews.
So six picks into the round, the Bears’ still had their six. And that stayed the case when Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose Texas A&M wideout Mike Evans to give Josh McCown the kind of big-receiver tandem that McCown had last season in Chicago with Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall.
That Tampa Bay pick left Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald still available. Emery expected Donald to go well before No. 14 but the top-rated defensive tackle was still available for the New York Giants at No. 12.
New York left the Bears’ options open by taking LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham.
The Rams took Donald, leaving the Bears with choices for exactly what they wanted.
Stay with CSNChicago.com for more on this developing story.