Bears GM Phil Emery says he's targeting ''about seven players'' for the 19th pick of the first round of the NFL draft Thursday. I'm not quite well-versed in Emery-speak yet, but my intuition tells me it's Phil's way of giving us something to chew on for a few days before the draft. In other words, it means little to nothing.
That said, I'll take the bait. Without having been in on any of the Bears' pre-draft discussions, it's hard to tell how they think or what the parameters are of the target list. Does it include South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who according to my sources would be a near-perfect fit for the Bears' defense but is generally considered to be long gone by No. 19? Does it include Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, who doesn't fill a priority need and isn't likely to be available but would be tough to pass up if he drops as some suspect he might?
With that in mind, here's an educated guess on players who should be on the list, with the likelihood of them being on the board at 19 being the biggest factor:
1. Nick Perry, DE, USC -- Doesn't have the monster numbers (though his 9.5 sacks led the Pac-12 last year), but has the quick burst you need in a pass rusher, he excelled in a defense similar to the Bears, he's a run-stopper with pass rush ability and showed he can get better as he gets bigger.
2. Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois -- The Bears have one of the best defensive line coaches in the business in Rod Marinelli, but keep giving him projects to work with. As a one-year wonder, Mercilus might scare off some teams. But the Bears can do more with him than most.
3. Cordy Glenn, T/G, Georgia -- Something tells me Emery sees more of a need on the offensive line than the Bears' ''We-like-who-we've-got'' party line indicates. Glenn has played guard and tackle in college, has extremely long arms and responds to coaching.
''I like his versatility,'' ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. said. ''I like the fact that if he doesn't get it done at RT, you've got yourself a heck of a guard.''
4. Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse -- Also fits the mold of a late-bloomer who can be great with a little work.
5. Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor -- SI.com's Peter King said Lovie Smith had dinner with him after his pro day and likes him. That's good enough for me.
6. Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame -- I don't think the Bears are scared off by the character issues -- and they shouldn't be. Floyd excelled in a difficult situation in his last two seasons at Notre Dame -- he was in a new offense with inexperienced QBs and drew most of the attention of opposing defenses.
7. Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina -- He has everything the Bears like in a cornerback, a good tackler with size and enough speed to be a star in Lovie Smith's defense.