Bears general manager Phil Emery explained last week how one NFL front office goes about the process of its own mock drafts, those collections of projections that become tiresome at times, comical at others, but are ways to look at the first round of the draft, where every team hopes to find Day 1 starters.
For the Bears, scenarios are proliferating as teams winnow the gossip, rumors, speculations and actual fact into a key set of players.
“When the dust has settled,” Emery said, “usually teams understand who the top 10 players in the draft are and then you’ll see as the draft gets closer, the mock drafts get a little finer, just because they’re talking to people in the league and they finally, everybody is finally agreed on who the top 10 or 12 players are."
[MORE: Talent-rich WR class could be Bears’ best friend]
But how those top 10-12 line up on other draft boards, particularly the 13 ahead of the Bears in this draft, will factor into whether Emery and the Bears arrive at No. 14 with two or three of the six players they feel are worth the pick at that level.
One of those draft boards is that of old friend Lovie Smith and now the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They sit at No. 7 with an acute need at wide receiver, but a head coach whose first draft as a Bear brought in defensive tackles with not one, but the first two picks of the 2004 draft (Tommie Harris, No 14, Tank Johnson in the second round).
[RELATED: Bears’ CB slots filled…for now]
The consensus call has been a wide receiver to form a tandem with Vincent Jackson catching passes from Josh McCown: Mike Evans, an impact teammate of Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M. But sources told CSNChicago.com that the absence of any talk about Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald suggests misdirection, and Smith is arguably more likely to land a key three-technique piece of his new defense. Smith’s operating philosophy and success formula starts with defense, not offense.
Emery’s quick dismissal of Donald as a possibility for the Bears at No. 14 points to Smith grabbing Donald as his “new” Tommie Harris. “I wouldn’t count on that one [being available at 14],” Emery said with a slight smile.