Phil Emery Grades Bears Draft

Opening Statement
“Very happy to add two quality, young defensive linemen to our defensive group and to the Chicago Bears organization. Both present different styles as players. Both fit for the Bears for different reasons. With Ego Ferguson, we are very much looking for players that can be physical at the point of attack. Help us stop the run. Will Sutton can do that also. He does it in a little bit different way. But both of them are more than capable of setting the edge, of being physical up front, penetrating the line of scrimmage with their power and leverage and their football skills. Both of them were targeted players. As we had painted this plan over the last couple of weeks, they were the two players we had slotted for those two spots. I was extremely happy to get them. As you saw in those 31 picks between our pick of Ego and our pick of Will there was only one other defensive tackle that went. It’s a short-supply, high-demand position. You have to take them when they’re available and you take the ones you feel good about. We wanted those players. We felt good about where we took them. Their grades represented that. The players represented that. Both of them have upside. Both of them are kind of different spots in their career with Will being a 2-time Defensive Player of the Year in his conference, in the Pac-12. Ego came on late at LSU, had a really good last season. I believe he was Defensive Player of the Year for his team. Still a lot of upside in him. He’s a very powerful, very tough inside player. The things that kept coming up when you watched him against SEC tape, was that he controlled the front. People could not run the ball up inside when he was on the field. And that was a big attraction for us. Obviously we’re very aware of where we were at defensively a year ago and everything that we’ve been doing since that point from the time that the season stopped, as far as reviewing our defense and where we needed to go, and the changes that we needed to make to become a Chicago Bears defense – a tough, physical team that stops the run and gets after the passer has led up to this point. And that’s why we took these two players in succession. You have to have players who are capable of controlling the run on the inside. The front determines the game, in terms of controlling the run and putting pressure on the passer and that’s why we went defensive tackle back-to-back in the second and third rounds today.”

On if he believes the results with the defensive line changes this year are similar to that of the offensive line last year
“Well, most interested in getting quality players who can help us. Number one, control the run. I believe we were 32nd on average rush and 32nd against the run. So, everything we’ve done is to get as many tough, physical players up to this point, on this team, that can help us accomplish those goals – to stop the run and apply pressure on the passer. Obviously we feel good about the mix that we’ve been able to add. We’ve mixed some rushers, guys that have had disruptions. There have also been good rundown players and the edges. And been able to add to our inside group with Jeremiah (Ratliff) and Nate (Collins) and Stephen Paea moving forward.”

On how much having defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni played into drafting a guy like Ferguson
“Everybody weighs in the same, I’ve got to be honest with you. It’s an exhaustive process. We involve everybody in the building – our scouting staff obviously, our coaching staff, our support staff in all areas. We make sure they sit down and talk to everybody. We get viewpoints and information from all angles, from the scouting assistants that pick them up at the airport. When they take them back, they write down everything they’ve said. We want to know how these young people can act in a group and what they truly are behind the scenes. People have a tendency to be a little bit different with different people in different roles. So, from a character and personal background we get information from everybody. Everybody is involved. As far as the talent evaluation, that’s very much the scouts and the coaches and we weigh through all that and we have multiple reports on every prospect. Both of these prospects were reviewed and reports were put into the system by seven to eight different people. So all of that weighs into the final decision in terms of developing a draft plan and which players you are moving towards.”

On how much Sutton’s weight drop played a role in the Bears selecting him
“It played a role because it said he’s dedicated toward improving himself that when he sets his mind toward something he can accomplish it. It’s a lot of pressure on young people. He wants to achieve. He was told by a lot of people – people that he trusted – that he needed to gain weight and get bigger. Maybe he needed to gain a little bit, but not quite that much and I think once he did it was hard for him to get it back down. It affected his play but you’re still talking about someone that was player of the year in his conference on defense. I paid particular attention to the end-of-the-year tape. They played Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship, UCLA, Arizona, he was a good football player in those games at over 300 pounds, so given that he’s trimmed up a little bit, I was fortunate enough to see him a year ago – 2012 season against Oregon – the first play of the game he had a tackle for loss then he got hurt. But I knew what he looked like when he was lighter. So that did have an influence on us in terms of what direction he was going.”

On if he likes Sutton at 290 pounds
“Somewhere between 285 to 295, if he stays consistently in there he’s going to be a very good football player.”

On the importance of creating the right developmental plan for Ferguson who had one-year as a starter at LSU
“Very important. A big part in being able to have a developmental plan is you have to have the resources. That was a big part in hiring (defensive line coach) Paul Pasqualoni, bringing (assistant defensive line coach) Clint Hurtt in, bringing (consultant) Joe Kim, he’s a big part of this, he’s been working hard with our players and I think they really enjoy that. It’s also everyone else in our support services, so that you can develop a plan and work the plan.”

On if he believes he can find a safety on Saturday that has the traits that he looks for
“Yeah, I do. I think you can find that at any position. They’ll be a player at any particular position; it’s your ability to get to him. It’s planning that – as far as your scenarios – where he can fall to you. When’s the right time to pick him. If you sit on it, if you think your picks going to end up in a perfect spot, you’re usually going to miss. You can’t be finesse with – you can’t say, ‘Hey that player is 135th pick of the Draft and wait until 135 and that you’re going to get him. It doesn’t work that way. You plan in terms of what your grades are, your value of the player, as I explained last week, you look hard at what the overall consensus may be about the player and then you plan according to that in terms of your own internal mocks, when’s the right time to take this player and are you taking him in a spot, does his grade reflect value at that spot.”

On if the running backs have shaken out the way he thought they would
“Yeah, we thought there’d kind of be a run towards the end of the second/early third round when the value would start hitting. It’s a very curious thing. There have been some good players that have been taken off the board at that position. There are still some good players out there. Obviously, once the wideouts hit, they started coming off the board. I had my head down focused in on our next pick at 81 and I lift my head up and all of the top end wide receivers – I said, ‘Where did they go?’ So they were all gone. And that’s what I mean – Don’t think you’re going to out evaluate the entire NFL with exactly when your picks going to go. I tell our guys on occasion – I’m not Enron, I’m not the smartest guy in the room. We try to figure it out collectively – where is the approximate value for this player in the NFL and where is our pick, what’s our pick number, and if we’re in or around a vicinity we’re going to go ahead and take him if that’s the player we’ve been focused in on. Fortunately for us it fell for us at a corner and we planned on taking two defensive tackles in the second and third round and if the value didn’t work out we were going to hang on to the fourth or fifth and move that value which meant it was going to be a different quality of player. But the two players that we were orientated towards in the second and third round were there when we wanted to pick them, so we took them.”

On what attracted them to Ferguson other than his play against the run
“I think I said something to the affect, when I always do one more tape…Well I did my tape on the front-end this past week to double-check because we’ve had this plan set for a couple of weeks and we keep visiting back-and-forth are we in the right value range on the right players according to the plan that we’ve laid out in what are needs are and the players that we like. So I went back to his game against Alabama, his game against Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Georgia and nobody could run the ball against him inside at all. He is a very strong, very powerful young man. I wanted to see where he was at rush-wise and in each one of those games he had four or five power rushes where he disrupted the quarterback. Does he need to get better in that? Yes, he does. Every player in that draft needs to get better at something.”

On if Ferguson is initially a nose or three-technique or will he play both
“I think they’ll both (Ferguson and Sutton) be worked at both those positions the three-technique and our shade nose. They both have experience at it. Ego was a three-technique the whole entire time at LSU. He was coached by Brick Haley who was here at one point. He’s been well schooled. He’s really good with his hands and his hand-placement, his footwork is part of what we liked about him that he had been well coached. He plays with really good leverage. He has played some shade. Sometimes in position as far as three-technique and the shade, because of formation changes you’ll end up in a shade over the nose, you just have to shift. He’s had plenty of experience at that and Will has been a natural three-technique most of his career but he has shown us he can be a shade for us also.”

On these players not being gambles in his mind
“No, I like players that still have got something to grow into. When you talking about ceilings, to me those are sufficient athletes, sufficiently strong, instead of good or better. We’re always looking for athletes that are good or better at their position because then they have the upside to develop into – if you’re already at a ceiling your developmental curve other than just gaining experience is much lower, but as your gaining experience and you still have a good level of athleticism for the NFL, for your position, you still have some upside. We haven’t seen it all. It takes athleticism to do the things you’re going to be asked on an NFL field. It’s different than college. So if you already see a sufficient-level athlete at the college level, that level is going to change a little bit. It’s not going to be quite as good. But if you’ve got one that is projected as good, you’ve got a chance that he’s going to continue to grow as a player.”

On if the Bears don’t draft a safety tomorrow, if they feel it is a position of need, can they get one through other avenues
“I know you are asking specifically about the safety. I will just tell you that we will never stop trying to improve our roster no matter what time of the year it is. I do see this as a process. The UFA market is one thing, street free agents is another thing, the draft, college free agency tomorrow is a big step. The cuts after rookie mini-camp, after you have all of these other tryout players is part of the college free agency is big in terms of looking through those players, seeing who’s available. You’ll get those post-June cuts, the veteran cuts due to salary issues and you’re going to have camp, and you’re going to have the cut-down list. It’s all a process. I’ve never gone into a draft thinking you could meet all of your needs on that day so meet the needs that are most important. And it was extremely important for us to have another corner that could cover, somebody with upside who could be a future starter. And it was extremely important for us to get a couple young d-tackles to add to our group, so that, number one, we could be more physical up front and stop the run.”

On the number of defensive linemen he likes to have heading into the season
“You know, typically we’ve had nine. We’ve carried 10 at times because we’ve had an injured player that we’ve kept on the 53 knowing he would be healthy later in the season. I would say, probably in today’s NFL, the optimal number might be 10. You know, five ends and five tackles, or four on one side and six on the other. I think it’s real important to us, obviously with what happened to us last year and the depth issue. To solve that issue, you’ve got give a little bit in terms of your roster numbers.”

On how much better he feels about the defense after the moves they’ve made so far in the offseason
“Well, we’ve got an opportunity to be better because of the overall group of personnel that we’ve brought in. Like I said, we’ve brought in some quality ends, a couple of young d-tackles, another corner. We’ve still got to add to that group. Again this is just part of the process. It’s never done and we have to keep grinding. We’re definitely not satisfied because we haven’t even had an OTA practice yet. We don’t know how this all looks yet. We feel good about the group we have – very confident of our coaching staff. And, the next step will be getting all of these guys together for rookie mini-camp.”

Source: Chicago Bears Media

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