Phil Emery you are now on the clock.
Day one of the 2013 NFL Draft is officially in the books. With a draft class that has been dubbed as a toss up between “weak” or “deep” there were sure to be plenty of surprises in the first round. Among the surprises was the Bears first-round selection of Oregon left guard Kyle Long.
The son of NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long and younger brother of St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long, Kyle played in just 11 games at Oregon, where he started in only four.
Long, who was a 23rd round selection of the Chicago White Sox as a pitching prospect in the 2008 MLB draft, started his collegiate career at Florida State University. He quickly failed out of FSU in 2009 before attending Saddleback College in 2010. He then transferred to Oregon before the 2011 season, where he played on both the offensive and defensive line before switching to just guard this past season with the Ducks.
Just as puzzling was the Bears GM Emery’s response on Long as he addressed the Chicago media after the selection was announced.
“Kyle was the player that we targeted,” Emery explained. “And we targeted him for the last couple of weeks.”
Kudos to you Mr. Emery. You set your sights on a player who has been best described as a “project player” by many experts and you landed him. Why? Maybe it was because Long was not on any of the other 31 NFL teams radar until maybe the third or fourth round.
Yes, the Bears need added depth at the position to further bolster the protection of Jay Cutler. But is the need to spend a first-round pick on a project player really warranted here?
Highly touted players such as Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (projected top 10 pick) and Notre Dame Standout TE Tyler Eifert along with Georgia leading tackler Alec Ogletree were all still available at the time.
But Emery, whose forte is scouting college players (self-proclaimed), got his man so that is all that should matter, right?
Speculation heading into the draft was the Bears could select Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o with the 20th overall selection or better yet they could trade down for an extra draft pick or two. With only five draft picks heading in, the latter seemed to make the most sense with a deep draft class. But then again this is Phil Emery we are talking about here.
Maybe there wasn’t a trade partner. Maybe Emery and company did fall in love with Long when they brought him to Halas Hall for pre-draft workouts. Maybe they just didn’t expect the afore mentioned players to still be lingering around and were simply dumbfounded.
I do find it hard to believe they could not find a trade partner, however. Especially since the Minnesota Vikings later gave up four draft picks to get New England’s 29th pick. The trade gave the Vikings a total of three first-round picks.
Whatever the reason, Emery needs to hit a home run with this pick or he may not be able to make many public appearances in Chicago soon thereafter.
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