Phil Emery is expected to improve the Bears' record in the first round of the NFL draft. When Jerry Angelo was fired, not one of his first-round picks in 10 years as the Bears' general manager was on the active roster -- just Chris Williams (14th overall in 2008) and Gabe Carimi (29th overall in 2011). Even Jay Cutler, whom Angelo acquired for two first-round draft picks, was inactive at the end of the Angelo era.
But it wouldn't hurt Emery to upgrade the Bears' record in the second round as well. While Charles Tillman (2003) and Matt Forte (2008) made the Pro Bowl last season and Devin Hester (2006) could have made it after leading the NFL in punt returns, Angelo didn't get enough out of his recent second-round picks to mitigate the damage of his subpar record in the first round.
Last year the Bears took defensive tackle Stephen Paea, who was invisible early in the year but made an impact in the second half of the season. He could still turn out to be somebody, so you can't condemn the pick. (Though it can't be overlooked that four second-rounders picked after Paea, made significant contributions -- Ravens WR Torrey Smith, Browns WR Greg Little, Steelers offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert and Packers WR/KR Randall Cobb).
Angelo traded the Bears' 2010 second-round pick to the Buccaneers in 2009 for defensive end Gaines Adams, a former No. 4 overall pick. Adams made little impact in 10 games in 2009 and tragically died of a heart attack at 26 in the offseason. The Bears' original second-round pick (No. 42) eventually ended up in the hands of Bill Belichick, who used it to take tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Angelo traded the Bears' 2009 second-round to Seattle for multiple picks lower in the draft. The Seahawks took center Max Unger. Angelo at least turned one of the lower picks into DT Henry Melton.
Angelo didn't fare quite as well by trading his second-round pick in 2007. He gave up the 37th overall pick to the Chargers for Nos. 62 (DE Dan Bazuin), 93 (RB Garrett Wolfe) and 167 (S Kevin Payne). It was an inopportune time to trade down. That second round has produced several starters and six Pro Bowlers -- Chargers CB Eric Weddle (taken with the Bears' pick), Raiders TE Zach Miller, Vikings WR Sidney Rice, Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley, Giants WR Steve Smith and Carolina C Ryan Kalil.
The Bears have the 18th pick of the second round this year, 50th overall. Keep an eye on it.
''Usually the first and second round you want to come away with a player you feel is going to be a starter or contributing greatly to what you're doing in your sub packages at the minimum,'' Emery said.
''The third- and fourth-round players, you're looking for players that contribute in a role that at least they're at that lvel. That's why you find ... a lot of the punt and kick returners, if they have that aspect of their game, even though they may be a role contributor at their position, they go in the third and fourth round because you have a defined role for them. They can contribute to your team right away.
''And generally from the fifth round down, you're looking at someone who's going to provide quality depth. You're looking for player that have high measurables, meaning that their height-weight-speed is at a level that if they develop they have the athletic ability to continue to ascend. It's tough to take an undersized player as a depth player.''