Jerry Angelo, former general manager of the Chicago Bears, had the dubious distinction of making terrible picks in the first round of the NFL draft. This list includes Cedric Benson, Chris Williams, Michael Haynes and Rex Grossman. It seems as though Phil Emery, the current general manager of the Chicago Bears, is continuing - or possibly surpassing - Angelo's notorious first round draft history.
I was just putting myself together after giggling over the Giants reaching for Justing Pugh at pick number 19 when I heard the news Emery had taken Kyle Long, offensive lineman from Oregon, at 20. I couldn't believe the talent Emery was leaving on the board to take Kyle Long.
Consider the players still available when the Bears made this pick: Sharrif Floyd, Tyler Eifert, Desmond Trufant and Alec Ogletree. All four of these guys would have fit a need for the Bears and made an immediate impact.
I like the idea of adding to the offensive line, but I think Emery took the wrong body at the perfectly wrong time. When your quarterback has taken 148 sacks in the last 56 regular-season games, the offensive line needs to be addressed. Taking a lineman in the draft after signing two in free agency is not a bad idea.
However, taking Kyle Long with the 20th pick is not making the most of your resources. There was better talent available to Phil Emery when his number came up. I'd guess there's a good chance Long would have been available at pick number 50 when the Bears selected next.
There's a lot to like about Kyle Long. He's a big, powerful lineman with good foot speed and balance. He also plays with a mean streak, which the Bears could use on the O-line. Long is also a terrific athlete and has a potentially high ceiling.
On the other hand, he's started just four games in big-time college football. He'll even tell you his technique needs work. He has bad hands, plays upright and needs to learn to get his pads down. At 6'6", that could be a challenge. Add to the fact that no one is sure if he is going to play tackle or guard, and you've got a lot of question marks for a first round draft pick.
In short, Emery is going to pay first round money to a player who has a glut of inexperience and requires a lot of polish. That is not getting the value you need with your first round pick.
Kyle Long could prove to be a very good offensive lineman one day. Perhaps he could be one of those guys who sticks around the league for six or seven years because of his athleticism and never really amounts to anything more than a serviceable player.
Last year, Emery selected defensive end Shea McClellin with the 19th overall pick. Again, Emery elected to take an athlete with good upside that needed polish to fit into the Bears' defense. I'll still argue McClellin is a better fit as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 rather than a hands on the ground rusher, but the Bears coaching staff thinks he can made the grade at defensive end. And he had a good year last year.
But if Emery continues to look for athletes instead of football players in the draft, his tenure as general manager could be over quickly.