With the draft just over a week away and his roster looking more competitive than it several weeks ago, general manager Phil Emery touched on a number of draft-related subjects Tuesday at Halas Hall.
Here are some of the highlights:
On the pool of players potentially available at No. 20:
"Normally what we do is when we set up a plan for the draft, we will do it in the order of players we would trade up for at that pick; that we feel we'll still have a possibility, might be slim that they may still be there. But they're first. Those are players that we would not pass up. Then we would have players in and around that pick that we feel will be available through our research that we know that with that pick we feel have the best chance of helping contribute on our team and helping us towards our goals. In the back end of the list would be players that if the players in front of them aren't available, those are the players that we would be looking for on a trade back. Hopefully you've got two or three or four of those players, depending on how far back you want to go in terms of designing your plan. Those players would be at the back end. So that whole grouping, say at 20, really you may end up having five, six players that you really feel comfortable (with). You have two or three out front that have a chance to come to you. Then you would include at least another four or five on the back end of that that you'd have ranked ordered in case you trade back. You're looking at the number of spots you're moving back and the number of players that you still feel comfortable with on that list. If the list is too small when it comes time to trade back and you don't feel comfortable, you've got some tough decisions to make. You may have to move even further back into an area of value, or you may have to take the best available player there if you don't find a trade."
On Manti Te'o and their meeting with him:
"Did we meet him? I'm not aware of that. Yeah, I guess we did meet with him. But we're not going to share that kind of information. Although I will tell you that I found Manti to be a very good person, a very squared away guy. I certainly enjoyed the meeting."
On how important 40-time is to LB evaluations:
"It's important within a range of times that you find acceptable for the position. It would have to sufficiently timed in terms of their speed. More importantly, [it's] their play speed. Does he have good play speed, very play speed, excellent, rare? We just go along with our scale. We ask our scouts to not look at the timed speed [but] to look at what they see in the fall, the tape and during their crosscheck assignments post the fall until February and put their own speed down for what they see as the play speed of the player. It's more important that's sufficient or better than it is his 40-yard dash speed.
On the difficulties of trading back:
"We've already had a couple of teams that have approached us. I approached a couple during the owners meetings. There are talks. They're back and forth. They're kicking things around. It doesn't get serious until you get close to the pick. My experience is that you may get two or three about three or four spots before your pick and then you may get more at that pick, but it gets real serious when you're on the clock. But certainly we've had discussions and we'll see how it goes. It depends on whether our player is at that spot and we feel like he has the value where we don't want to move out of the pick, or whether their player is on that spot."
On how low would he would be willing to go:
"I'd go back as far back as we feel like we're really getting a good deal. If somebody is going to wow us, and I'll just throw out an arbitrary number, at No. 34, and we feel like that's going to bring tremendous value to us and help upgrade our club significantly, we'll go there. We're not adverse to any scenario as long as we see positive value out of it."
On how he feels about Georgia LB Alec Ogletree's off-the-field issues:
"I won't get into specifics in terms of specific issues with players. But I'll tell you this, we do our homework. We work extremely hard at knowing the character of the players. Then it's our decision, whatever we find out about their background, their personal behavior and whether any incidences they've been involved in off the field, whether we find those acceptable for us and whether the fit's right for us."
On matching draft strengths to team needs:
"They're goo, and unfortunately for us that some of the positions that I would say that are more attractive to us, there's teams in the league that there's a lot of interest in. There's a lot of folks that need offensive linemen. I'll go that far, OK. There's strong positions in this draft. I would say those positions are corner, safety - there's a number of starters in those two positions - defensive line [and] offensive line. I would say that the tight ends and the wide receivers are above average. I would say that the running backs and quarterbacks are average."
On how Jay Cutler's draft status affect his decision regarding drafting a quarterback:
"Jay's contract status doesn't impact it. I'd like to draft a quarterback every year. If we could find the right quarterback, those are very valuable in terms of the position. Obviously, I don't see that you can have a winning franchise and a championship franchise without a high-quality quarterback, so you want to give yourself as many chances as possible. They're also very valuable from a trade perspective. You see how Matt Flynn has bounced around from Green Bay as an example. So if we could find a quarterback every year and we had the picks to do that, we would do that."
On a quarterback scramble affecting things at the No. 20 pick:
"I'm hoping it does. That would provide us value. If somebody's really coming at 20 for a quarterback, they're going to be willing to bring some picks to the party. So that's a good thing."
On if moving up in the draft is unlikely:
"The honest answer is yes, it's less likely. Moving back's more attractive than moving forward. But if there's someone we're close and all the plans that we've made, we know the guy that we've really targeted that could make a significant difference for us is sitting in front of us at one pick and the team in front of us is looking at the same guy in the same position. Would I pull trigger? Absolutely.