Bears GM Phil Emery at USC pro day

Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery was at USC's pro day today to look at seven draftable prospects. Bear Report breaks down the Trojans that Emery saw up close.

USC held its Pro Day this afternoon and Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery was in attendance.

The main attraction in Los Angeles was quarterback Matt Barkley, who was out to prove he's worthy of a first-round selection. The team most heavily represented for Barkley's work out was the Jacksonville Jaguars, who sent GM David Caldwell, head coach Gus Bradley and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.

Emery has called Jay Cutler a franchise quarterback on multiple occasions, so it's highly unlikely he was there to scout Barkley. Bear Report has identified six other draftable USC prospects that Emery saw up close today.


Robert Woods
Jeff Gross/Getty

Robert Woods (6-0, 201) Projected: 2nd round Woods was a three-year starter for the Trojans. He has quick feet and is a great route runner. He has good speed (4.51) but he's more of a possession receiver who excels on intermediate routes. He's not afraid to go over the middle and is excellent after the catch. The Bears are in the market for a No. 3 wideout to compete with Earl Bennett, who has disappointed the past two seasons. If Emery wants to give his new offensive-minded head coach another weapon, Woods would be a quality option in the second round.

S T.J. McDonald (6-2, 219) Projected: 3rd round McDonald is a big, strong defensive back who is best suited as an in-the-box safety. He's a big hitter with a knack for making plays - he had six interceptions the past two seasons combined. He's the son of former NFL Pro Bowl safety Tim McDonald, so football is in his blood.

McDonald is a bit stiff and probably will have a hard time against the wide-open, spread offense gaining in popularity in the NFL. The Bears are also loaded at the safety position, with eight already on the roster. McDonald is talented but he's not a good fit.

C Khaled Holmes (6-3, 302) Projected: 4th round Holmes started three seasons for the Trojans, at guard as a sophomore and center the past two years. He's a physical blocker with a nasty temperament. He has very quick feet and excels at the second level.

Holmes is a bit tall for the position and struggles to anchor against bull rushers. He has also dealt with numerous shoulder and ankle injuries. Despite those risks, his experience and demeanor should help him develop at the next level. With his quickness in space, he'd fit very well in Chicago's zone-blocking scheme. If Emery likes what he saw from Holmes today, he could end up on Chicago's short list in the fourth round.

CB Nickell Robey (5-7, 169) Projected: 5th round Robey started all three years at USC and was named second-team All-Pac 12 last season. From a skill standpoint, Robey has it all. He's physical at the line of scrimmage, has fluid hips that help him change directions and keep pace with receivers, and he's aggressive in the run game.

Yet he's drastically undersized, which will limit his effectiveness in the NFL. He's also a gambler in coverage, leading to some bad beats by wide receivers. Chicago's top three corners are all 29 or older, so Emery is surely looking for some younger talent at the position. Robey has a great skill set but his upside is limited, which is probably one of the reasons Emery wanted to see him up close.

S Jawanza Starling (6-1, 202) Projected: 7th round/priority free agent Starling raised some eyebrows with a strong overall showing at the combine. The Bears don't need another safety but his overall athleticism makes him intriguing as a special teams player. If Starling isn't drafted, and Emery liked his workout today, the Bears could offer him a shot as an undrafted free agent.

DE Wes Horton (6-5, 261) Projected: 7th round/priority free agent Horton was not invited to the combine. He battled through injuries his senior season but still racked up 5.5 sacks. A strong performance today could land him in the 7th round. Chicago doesn't need edge rushers but Horton might be worth a camp invite as a UFA.


Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.

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