Phil Emery now has his first draft as GM of the Chicago Bears in the books. It is way too early to judge the talent he selected. Nobody will get an accurate feel of how well he did until at least two years down the line. Still, that won't stop people from second guessing and thinking what might have been.
Various opinions by the Chicago fanbase have been mixed on how Emery did on the draft. No matter what, there will be some misses; even the best talent evaluators will miss on a pick here and there. Overall the Bears took some players who will help the team right away at multiple positions. However, based on team needs, maybe other players could have been better fits in some spots.
The Bears took a gamble in the third round by drafting corner/safety Brandon Hardin. There is no doubt secondary help is a need on the team, but at the cost of passing up a potential impact defensive tackle?
Brandon Thompson was drafted 14 picks later by the Cincinnati Bengals. He was a player on the academic honor roll at Clemson who just happened to be a machine in the weight room. His ability to plug up the middle and stop the run could have been an asset to the Bears, allowing for more plays to be made by Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs.
The fourth-round pick by the Bears was used to take a hybrid fullback/tight end tweener. Evan Rodriguez might turn into an above-average receiver for the team, but was it really a need? The offensive tackle position is in limbo and there was a player on the board they could have used going forward.
Bobby Massie could have gone as high as the second round. Instead he slipped all the way to the fourth round, more specifically, the pick right after the Bears. He could have been considered the best player on the board and the team definitely has a need at the position. Phil Emery better hope his tackle position does not become a problem and Massie does not turn into a huge success for the Cardinals, because this could come back to haunt him.
The Evan Rodriguez pick is a tough one to explain until he gets on the field and shows everybody what he can do. When you take a player who is undersized and does not come from a big-time offensive program, it causes many to second guess. There is a very good chance Rodriguez can be a productive player, but what about the depth at linebacker?
Keenan Robinson is projected to start right away for the Washington Redskins. He was also drafted eight picks behind Rodriguez. Robinson has experience at the inside and outside linebacker positions and could have provided great depth for the aging Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs while pushing Nick Roach for a starting position.
This goes back to the notion that the Bears reached for an undersized tight end. Had they waited they could have gotten a larger, more athletic weapon for their offense.
James Hanna was still out there when the team drafted in the sixth round. He went a couple picks later to the Dallas Cowboys. Hanna had some flashes of big plays in college and his size and attributes suggest he could perform at the next level. The Bears decided to draft cornerback Isiah Frey in the sixth round, but could have gotten a corner earlier with the Rodriguez pick and selected Hanna right here.
It would make sense to pass on a player with character issues if you didn't already trade for Brandon Marshall and draft Alshon Jeffery and Evan Rodriguez. Just before the draft, Alfonzo Dennard was arrested for an incident at a bar with police that caused him to drop all the way to the seventh round.
Had Dennard not have gotten into that issue he probably would have been drafted in the third or fourth round. He has excellent ball skills and an ability to cover from the corner or safety position. He's good enough for the defending AFC Champion New England Patriots, who drafted him four picks after the Bears in the seventh round.
The Bears did take a corner with their seventh-round pick, Greg McCoy out of TCU. Dennard could be a very productive player going forward for the Patriots, and might put McCoy under the spotlight.