Bears eyeing seven players for first-round pick at No. 19

The Chicago Bears have narrowed their focus for the first draft under new general manager Phil Emery to seven players.

That is how many the team has on its board as it prepares for the 19th overall pick in the first round. Emery said he is “jacked” as he readies for the moment on Thursday. In a press conference Monday morning, Emery called wide receiver, defensive end and defensive tackle strengths of the draft. He also likes the number of college offensive tackles that project as guards at the next level.

“We looked at the draft and we do every year in our planning process,” Emery said. “We come up with our own mocks. We do that based on our own research, talking to colleagues, listening, being a good scout, keeping our ear low to the ground, eyes open, ears open, not saying a whole lot, finding out where players are going to fall, putting that together. So in the conclusion, looking at that and versus the average numbers of players at their positions, historically I would say that this is a good draft for wideouts, I would say that this is a good draft for defensive ends and defensive tackles. I’d say it’s a good draft for projecting offensive tackles to guards. There’s a good number of offensive tackles that you can project inside.”

Many believe the Bears will fill a need for a complementary player to Julius Peppers and select a defensive end.

“It’s important to any team in terms of being able to apply pressure on the quarterback,” Emery said. “The D-end position, like our other positions, we’re always trying to add players that complement the mix that we have that are dynamic in nature that bring something athletically in playmaking and production that other players aren’t that keep making us better.”

The core players on defense for the Bears are over 30 years old and there is thinking the team also needs to add some young talent to that side of the ball to help what will be an eventual transformation.

“Who you have on your roster is always a consideration, but I still see a productive defense,” Emery said. “And that’s the most important thing that the players that we have in starter roles, are they producers? ... Do they still have legs? Do they still have burst? Can they still go get the ball? ... I see players on our defense as starters who still have that burst, that are producing.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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