Bears general manager Phil Emery joined Jim Miller joined Alex Marvez and CSN Bears Insider Jim Miller on XM Radio yesterday to talk on a number of items, including the process of choosing Marc Trestman as head coach, and the Bears' process of selecting players in the NFL Draft.
Emery said that of the three head-coaching finalists to replace Lovie Smith -- Bruce Arians, Darrell Bevell and Trestman -- Trestman's head-coaching experience gave him the advantage over Bevell, and in the end he was the pick over Arians.
"It helped us decide exactly the qualities we wanted in our head coach," Emery said of the process, "and working through it and meeting Marc, his experience as a head coach really came to fruition. His head coaching experience was a definite plus. As you know the finalists came down to Bruce Arians, Marc and Darrell Bevell. At the end of the day it came down to the two with head coaching experience, and we chose Marc, and we're very excited about Marc moving us forward."
Emery and his primarily brand-new coaching staff has been working diligently since January, speaking with college scouts to narrow down the list of players they will target in April's NFL Draft. He told Miller the staff, which had focused on current player personnel and their statuses on the team, as well as the unrestricted free agent market up until this week, has shifted its focus to college draft meetings.
"We had a series of meetings with our college scouts, walking right in here during the Combine which was a great warm-up. This was more refining the list and refining the stack in terms of how we rank one player over the other. And this is using the Combine jump to give our fans some insight. This is the coaches' time. Our staff is gonna have tremendous access to interview all these players and we want them to interview everyone possible at each position in their area of expertise," Emery said. "We're also gonna bring in players to our interview room, to get their first true exposure, live exposure of these athletes. This is our coaches' Combine. This is their opportunity to evaluate the college class, to get started in that process."
Emery said the group of players was narrowed down to 320 players in January, and even further in February. When he and his coaching staff return from Indianapolis they will break down the updated lists, and Emery will hand each coach a finalized list of players the team will target up until the April Draft.
Position-wise, Emery said the coaching staff takes the same approach, whether it's the most talented or weakest group on the team. That includes, of course, the offensive line.
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"We look at the group and say, 'How can we improve the group?' How can we improve their performance?" Emery said. "Our goal is always to have the best 90 [players]. Have 90 that can create competition at every position, and that's what you do. You're trying to create improvement in the group as a whole, so we talked at the end of the season that we wanted to improve on the offensive line, and we're gonna look at all the avenues: coaching, UFA market, the draft, college free agents.
"Wherever the players come from, the goal is to create more competition so the group raises its level."