INDIANAPOLIS -Phil Emery, as expected, was mum when it came to specifically addressing the Bears' needs when he spoke at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Field. But the second-year general manager did expound on his evaluation process.
"The big thing is medical," Emery said. "It's huge in terms of actually getting an NFL read on where these guys are medically. It has a tremendous impact. The interviews are very big. The workouts are important. But if I had to choose between three things, I'd say the interview, the medical are extremely important. The workout gives you a feel for where the guy's preparation is, where his head's at, so it is important. But if I had to rank them, I'd say it's medical, interview and workout."
There's always a big buzz around how fast players are running in the 40-yard dash. But Emery wants to see how high players jump. To him, that's more of an indicator of athleticism than how fast a player sprints.
"Testing history would show you that the vertical jump is probably the biggest single indicator of athletic carryover of performance into the NFL," Emery said. "So you want to look for those guys with those high verticals. It has more impact than the 40-yard dash does in terms of the physical things."
Still, Emery continued to stress the importance of the 15-minute interviews. Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker, Stanford tight end Zach Ertz and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o are some of the players on the Bears' interview list.
"The biggest thing is that you can't see it all out there," Emery said. "The interviews are very important. Trying to predict whether a person is going to produce at the next level, it's a big step. So I guess that would be an underrated aspect of it.
"...We're always trying to dig further on the character of a player and his background to try and predict what that person is going to be in those areas at the next level. How is he going to fit for us in the locker room?"