Trestman, Emery Speak: Post-Draft

Full-text quotes from Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery and head coach Marc Trestman following the completion of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Opening statement by Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery

"Very happy on how everything finished off here with five additional picks here on the last day. Three offensive players, two defensive players and one special teams player. Really feel good about the direction the draft took for us in terms of lining up with our plan and for it all coming together. We were really looking for good players at positions of need now and in the future. Feel very comfortable and confident we were able to accomplish that throughout the draft. Tremendous team effort. A lot of people came together to make it a successful effort in the draft and incredible the number of people it takes to pull off an effort that you feel is successful in adding quality players to your team. It's not just the coaches and the scouts – our video department, our medical department, our strength and conditioning staff. It's all the support people in this building, player development, all the support people that we have working together towards a common goal of winning championships and doing it for the Chicago Bears and the city and our fans.

"Obviously was our first pick was a running back today. An area that we felt we needed to increase competition. We got the Pac-[12] offensive player of the year (Ka'Deem Carey), we have the Pac-[12] defensive player the year (Will Sutton). That's was unusual; a little trivia question, I guess, for the future. Felt very good about what Ka'Deem Carey has accomplished as a player, well over 5,000 yards (all-purpose), all-American, all-conference, player-of-the-year, catches the ball well, runs the ball well. Felt like we got us a quality running back at the right time in the draft.

"Before the day started, when we looked at our board we really felt that if we were going to get two quality players in the last day of the draft, particularly at running back and at safety, that we were going to have to trade back into the fourth (round). So, from the start of the day we were trying to line up opportunities to take our fifth round (pick) and move it in to the back end of the fourth so we could come up with a situation where we could come away with two quality players. We just really felt that if we waited to the fifth round for that second player, they wouldn't be there. That's why we worked so hard to get in position to draft a safety in Brock Vereen, a player that has played multiple positions in the back end of the defense, in terms of playing outside, in the nickel slot and at safety. We see him as a safety. We feel that will be his best pro position. He certainly has the physical tools for it, in terms of the athletic upside. He certainly has the mind for it, in terms of his football and his instincts. And he certainly has the toughness for it. He's got good experience under his belt. He's been a productive player and we're looking forward to his contributions at safety.

"We got in a situation – we've had our eye on David (Fales) for a while and we definitely need to increase the competition for a backup spot on our roster at that position (quarterback). We've been working on him for a while. Our scouts certainly liked him. Our coaching staff certainly did. We sent (quarterbacks coach) Matt Cavanaugh out to work him out late last week. Matt came away very impressed. When it came time into that spot in the draft, we really felt that it was a good pick for the spot that we were in in the draft and we certainly expect David to come in and compete with Jordan (Palmer) and Jerrod (Johnson) for a position on our roster. And best players win and that's only going to be for the benefit of our team in terms of providing quality completion in that backup role.

"Real happy to get a punter in this draft. We felt he (Patrick O'Donnell) was the best punter in this draft. Remarkable athlete. Huge leg. He's got linebacker stats in terms of the physical upside and the body type. And when you're scouting, when you first start scouting all you're told is look for the big leg, look for the tall guys, look for the guy where the ball really comes off the foot. That's what Patrick's all about. This is a strapping athlete with a big leg who has not only kicked for yardage but he has kicked for average and he has kicked directionally, which is very important in the pro game.

"Our last pick was Charles Leno. We really need a person that has left tackle experience that can provide a quality backup at that position, so that's the roster spot he'll compete for as our backup left tackle. Obviously through college free agency we will present completion for that role and we are actively signing players as we all sit down here and talk to one another."

On Carey
Emery: "Very good feet and eyes. That's where it starts in run skill. He's one of the runners in the draft that we felt best about as far as a guy that really lowers his pads and has contact balance that can really push through open field contact and keeps his feet and keeps gaining additional yards. (Arizona head) Coach (Rich) Rodriguez said a very interesting thing: (running backs coach) Skip Peete, (offensive coordinator) Aaron Kromer and Mark Sadowski, our (senior) national scout, all went out and worked him out last week and one thing that Rich said is that it really resonates that he's a guy that you really have got to tackle. He's not going down; you're not going to trip this guy. He's not going to go down by incidental contact. You're going to have to tackle him. You're going to have to wrap him up and bring him down. He's not going down on his own.

"As far as a pass catcher, we see his hands as good. Projecting a college running back as a pass-protector, two important issues: toughness, which he certainly has, and his instincts or his reactive instincts in terms of finding right guy and getting on the right guy and he has shown that repetitively."

On the background work they did on Carey's since he had some off-the-field incidents
Emery: "Yeah, definitely, we did our work. We did our homework. We knew we wanted to go the extra mile to have clarity in our mind. That is a part of the big reason that Mark Sadowski went out with him as the national scout and knew a lot of people out there to continue to work through things. I see us all as unique people but we have a common path which is called imperfection and we're all always trying to work back towards center. We're all the same in that regard. I think the most important thing is, are you trying to get back on path and go the right way. Are you trying to improve as a person? We certainly were very comfortable with his honesty about past situations that he had. And we're certainly comfortable that he's on the right path."

On how Vereen compares to some of the top safeties
Emery: "Brock, he is physical. He's a tough guy. He's a good athlete. He has good instincts for the game. What we really liked about him in terms of the person was the fact that he has been a captain. That he's a true leader. His knowledge of the game because of the multiple positions he has played will only help carry over in terms of handling all of the complexities of the offensive schemes that he's going to face in the NFL. We are going to keep him at one position. I mean, obviously your safeties have to have versatility in terms of dropping down in the box and into coverage and covering different types of athletes. But in terms of where he is going to line up is safety and we feel like the fact that he is going to be able to concentrate in one area is going to help accelerate his improvement as a football player."

On if a punter can easily adjust from college to the NFL
Emery: "He can if he can mentally handle it. The pressure is a little different. The athletes are a little bit different. So, you know, it becomes more of a mental game in the carry over for the pro level than it is in the college level."

On how you measure that in a player
Emery: "Performance. That's why you see so many guys – there's a large incidence of kickers and punters in the NFL make it after being cut multiple times. What stands out about Patrick and the reason we were willing to spend a sixth round draft pick on him is the physical upside is huge and at two different universities he has shown production. High-level production."

On if he ever drafted a punter with prior teams or if this is his first
Emery: "Yeah, it is. First punter."

On where the depth chart stands right now with kick returner/punt returner
Emery: "You know, there's a lot of different players involved in that. Obviously we brought in Chris Williams from New Orleans at the end of the season and we see him as a potential punt and kick returner. We've had several on our squad that have kick return experience and a few that have punt return experience and we'll let them battle it out and see who does best during the preseason."

On if they reached agreement with Jordan Lynch as an undrafted free agent
Emery: "In that process until we receive signatures it's not anything we can comment on. As soon as we do, we'll put it out as fast as we get them."

On Lynch tweeting "BEARDOWN"
Emery: "Well that's good. That's a good sign. We certainly enjoyed him when he came here for his visit that's for sure."

On his comments about drafting quarterbacks late last week
Emery: "What I said, I said in earnest. I don't see any since Jay's (Cutler) class – I specifically used Jay's class I didn't look beyond that. Obviously there was a few in that '05 class but I'm not one that's going to wait around every nine years and think that I'm drafting a starter from the fourth round down. Don't see that we're a starter. I see we are drafting a player that is going to compete for a roster spot and think it's important to have competition as backup. Obviously, in our situation we have a seven-year contract player (Cutler). This will be the start of that contract. I'm going to love it when he finishes it. In the meantime, those players are going to be backups. So again to restate what I said last week, if you think you're drafting a starter, a developmental starter, from the fourth round down, well then you're going to be the one that rarely hits the big, rare strike."

On the benefits of grooming a backup from the beginning of his career versus signing a veteran
Trestman: "You've got an example of that just up north of us, right? A guy who stood behind a great player like Brett Favre and learned the system, had consistency and continuity with the coaching staff, was able to learn the system and then go out and perform at a level that was very good. That's the fun part of it, having a player like David, who's raw as a young player, comes out of a very good offensive system, has a skill set that we think is relevant to what we've got going on here within our system. As Phil said, to come in and to compete for a role on our roster. We think he's that kind of guy."

On if the comparison to Rodgers is valid since Rodgers was a first-round pick
Trestman: "No, I think from that standpoint it's not. But the value of a quarterback waiting his time and being developed, as I always say, every quarterback's journey is different. David Fales is coming in here, drafted in the round he has, we're going to come in and put in as much time with him as any player on our football team and try to create an environment for him to become the best player he can be each and every day and we'll see where that takes us."

On what type of feedback Cavanaugh gave him that gave extra comfort
Trestman: "Pretty good feedback, certainly because he's a member of our team today. We were very excited about him. The biggest thing about going to see David was two things: You've got to see a quarterback throw in person. You've got to be able to feel his arm strength, that he has an inventory of passes; that he can make all the throws and Matt was satisfied. It showed up on tape but it was good to see out there. And then, he had a chance to sit down with him and put him on the board and talk about our system, see his ability to think on his feet and his understanding of coverages and protections. And he came back feeling very good about that. And then the tape told us the rest; that he's a guy who's been very accurate, has shown an inventory of passes, shown toughness, shown courage, shown the ability to make quick decisions with a compact throwing motion and we're excited about having him with us."

On if Trestman talked to Jordan Palmer about Fales
Trestman: "I did today. I didn't up until today. Jordan had spent some time with him and some other people had called me about David to reassure me that had worked with him. But at the end of the day, Matt spent a lot of time with him and did a very, very good job, along with our personnel department to evaluate him. And then again, looking at the tape was consistent with what they found in person."

On how Emery would assess Brock Vereen's length and how it affects his game
Emery: "Well, he's just under 6-foot, about 200 pounds. You know, in terms of being the optimal safety, he's not, but it's not uncommon anymore. I mentioned last week about Devin McCourty. Brandon Meriweather and that gentleman that was drafted by Baltimore last year are about that size range. That's not unusual because the game has changed. It's important that those players can cover athletes in space, and that helps a lot. I don't see it as a negative. He's very strong. I think he had 25 reps at 225 and he shows that on tape. He's a good tackler, a strong tackler. So, I don't see his size as a deterrent."

On if his size shows up in contesting throws
Emery: "Yeah, you know, if you're in the middle of the field and you get a jump ball, that may show up, but he's got good vertical explosion. I saw one of the most amazing transformations of a player that you would never suspect could play in an NFL game – Brent Grimes. He was an undrafted rookie free agent, zero dollar guy when I was in Atlanta. And I actually told the area scout that we were a fool. And he kept working me to get a plane ticket. Finally, I went to Rich McKay and got a plane ticket for him. We cut him three times, he didn't start in Europe and he came back. In reality, Brent is probably well under 5-8 but incredible explosion and he can contest those tall receivers. So, it's a lot about ball skills and your vertical ability to play bigger than your size."

On if it was important to draft a safety to push Chris Conte, Ryan Mundy and M.D. Jennings
Emery: "It's always important to draft players to provide competition, and has physical upside to be a potential starter."

On Vereen's steadiness and his ability to understand what's going on showing up on tape
Emery: "Well, he's good in centerfield, in terms of his reactive anticipation, kind of like a centerfielder, in terms of breaking on the crack of the bat. He's good in coverage in terms of anticipating cuts and mirroring receivers, staying with receivers through their cuts. Good in terms of angles and his fits against the run and supporting the run."

On if not taking a linebacker was a statement of how the draft went or if he's happy with current players as is
Emery: "Well, I think I spoke about this yesterday in terms of meeting your most important needs first. And that's what we did in the first two days. And we had additional needs and obviously we went through this draft with an effort to meet those needs and get good players in the process. We weren't going to reach on the player. And as long as we were getting good players that had good upside who continued to improve we were going to feel good about the pick. So, that's what we went through. Obviously, we have a number of young players at the position that we feel that the competitive level of fighting for a starting job is going to be very high. In terms of who comes out that end as far as the starters, best players win. And again, Lance is the only one that's been told he has a job and the rest of them are fighting for it. We'll definitely gain some players through college free agency and we'll see how that goes."

On if Jordan Lynch signed with the Bears
Emery: "I think [someone] had asked that. We're not allowed to comment until they're signed. So I'll just say that. Jordan had a really good visit here and he expressed a strong desire to be a Chicago Bear."

On the report that Chicago was one of four teams that would have pursued Michael Sam if he hadn't been drafted, if it's true and where we projected him to play
Emery: "Yeah, we would have put him at defensive end and we might have given him a shot at SAM backer, but I think his skill set is more defensive end. And obviously, when somebody has that number of sacks, you've got to pay attention to that and you give him a chance to come in and compete for a job. So, yes, had he made through, we would have been competitive in terms of college free agency."

On if he would have tried Michael Sam as a hand on the ground rusher before SAM linebacker
Emery: "Yes. Absolutely. And again, that's his strong suit."

On if they weighed the perceived heightened media presence that would go along with having Michael Sam as a part of your team against his productivity or is it just about his productivity
Emery: "Yeah, and that's what the conversation was about. That's why we were calling. It's about his production and his productivity as a football player. No, we've never had that conversation because I don't think it was necessary. Because what we want is good football players and he certainly has a skill set and production to warrant that conversation in terms of bringing him in. Obviously all of the work that we did on d-end, not only this offseason but with having David Bass, having Cornelius (Washington) here, bringing in Austen Lane, the mix of players that we have brought in - right now we're one over on that roster spot. So had he made it through the draft, we were more than willing to be competitive in terms of free agency and hope to sign him and to beat one of those guys out because of his production. But in terms of drafting for a spot that you are already over with veteran and young players, doesn't make a lot of sense in terms of your resources."

On if Trestman has an early vision for Ka'Deem and the way he wants to mix him in as a complement to Forte
Trestman: "I don't know we're that far along. I just know what we got ourselves a heck of a football player. He loves football. He's passionate about it. He's tough. He's been extremely productive. He's all purpose. We view him as a 3-down back who can play in any situation and run routes out of the backfield. Certainly running inside and outside. So, we're excited about him. We watched him on tape as a staff. Our scouts and our personnel department did a great job with him. Mark Sadowski, our national scout, as Phil said, went down there and they came back very excited about Ka'Deem and the love he has for the game, his football intelligence and his ability to play. So he'll come in and compete. And compete behind Matt (Forte). We're excited about what he brings. He's a violent runner. He's a tough runner. And he's been very productive. We're looking forward to seeing him with a Bear helmet on. And with that, it just brings up one more thing. I think that this has been quite a journey through the end of the season, evaluating our team from inside out. And our staff, and Phil leading the way with our personnel department, our scouts, everybody really working together to complete the task all the way through the draft and now into free agency. I think really everybody should be congratulated for working together on this and certainly that starts with Phil."

On how the University of Arizona's offensive system that Carey played in translates to what the Bears do
Trestman: "Well I just watched him carrying the football and catching the football and the tenacity. Just the violent way and the quickness with which he runs with the football. Everyone is talking about his speed but he plays fast. He's tough to take down. His pads are down. He's short but he's strong. He just fits in. He can run inside and outside. He can catch the ball. He's got good hands. And he's going to be a very willing, tough, physical blocker when Skip (Peete) gets his hands on him and starts working with him. We don't see that to be an issue. And we're looking for a 3-down backup to back up Matt and we feel very good about Ka'Deem."

On if the late start for running backs getting drafted is a reflection of the game or this particular draft class
Emery: "I think it's somewhat reflective on not only the draft class as a whole but there were a number of good, quality backs in this class. Some of it is just the depth of the draft class, particularly for this class with wideouts. Once they did start coming off the board, a lot of them came off the board. I think that pushed the backs down overall as a group. I know we were very happy to find Ka'Deem where we found him. Like I said, we started the day with the … let's get a running back in this round or a safety. And whatever one we don't get, let's get back into this round because we're not going to get that second player if we don't. We were happy that he was pushed down. Certainly running back is a big part of our offense. We have to have quality players like Matt and Ka'Deem to be able to compete and run what we do efficiently."

On if Emery is confident the defensive issues have been rectified following the draft
Emery: "I don't think you can be confident on anything, no matter how many people that you bring in the building and put a roster together and put it all down on paper. Right now that's paper. What's going to be important is how our players come together and fit with one another and fit with our staff and take to instruction and bring our system together and through the OTAs and through the preseason – the preseason games – and then we will have an idea of where we are at after that ball is kicked off on that first game vs. Buffalo."

On if any of the draft picks will miss camp because of their graduation dates
Emery: "Yeah, to my knowledge, we are 100% clean. I'm hoping that's true all the way through the college free agency class because it's very difficult for a college free agent to start off not being here. So we make a lot of effort - we actually put their graduation dates on their wall cards. Obviously we wouldn't not take a player. Obviously with Kyle Long last year that was the situation but it's to their advantage and to everybody's advantage that they're in here as soon as they can be. So we're aware of those graduation dates."

On if the draft picks will arrive Thursday
Emery: "Yeah, they'll get here Thursday, but by rule they are allowed to come to minicamp regardless of their graduation date. They're allowed to attend one minicamp. So it's post that minicamp is what's important as far as that graduation date."

On if drafting players that were team captains was a point of emphasis
Emery: "I think number one, you want a talented player that can help you win. Number two, you have to understand the dynamics of the player and his fit into your locker and what his skills are and his personality, what uniqueness that he has as a person that is going to help you grow as a group and the fact that we've had a number of these guys that are high energy guys, there are some vocal leaders in the group, there's several captains; that all helps the mesh because you want goal-oriented people that are willing to work with others towards a common goal."

On if Emery attempts to get verbal commits from college free agents prior to the end of the draft
Emery: "Well, by rule you're not allowed to have any type of commit towards a contract, but you definitely you are allowed to call and express your interest and get their information and let them know if things don't work out in the draft you would have an interest."

On if teams and players are allowed to say they have interest in each other
Emery: "Yeah, you definitely have those types of exchanges, like we did with Jordan (Lynch). We both let each other know that if things didn't work out in the draft and he was still there, we would love for him to be here."

On if the college free agent pool is deep this year
Emery: "Yeah, it will be. We had talked about just in terms of the pure number of juniors, which increased the overall quality of it. There definitely were still a lot of quality players on the board at the end of the draft. We spent a lot of time between that second 4th round pick and before this first 6th re-working the board. And then as soon as our second 6th pick was done – because there were a lot of picks between that one and the seventh – reorganizing ourselves; making sure we were on the right players post draft. That we had all arrows pointing in the same direction and ready to recruit and ready to sign players. Like I said, when we were walking downstairs I know we had a couple of commitments before we did."

On where Emery saw Jordan Lynch playing going through the pre-draft process
Emery: "You know, I think he's a really fine runner. I think the fact that he can throw and throw with accuracy in a short area is good too. I think you want as many athletes that can do as many things as possible and he certainly presents options that way. But the thing that I was really impressed with, I saw him live against Western Michigan, I think he re-set his record that night. I'm thinking he had about 330 yards, 326 yards; just his skill as a runner. I mean he's got a great set of eyes, very instinctive, especially for a quarterback between the tackles. He just knows where to find the soft spots and take that little sidestep and keep grinding forward and keep working forward while he's making those moves. Has really good contact balance. He doesn't go down easy. I like all those things."

On if Trestman feels he is behind in getting the rookies up to speed since the draft was pushed back
Trestman: "No, we're just excited to get going. We're preparing for the weekend. We got a big week with our players right here in the building which we've got to be prepared each and every day. We've got to create a sense of urgency and our players do to get their work done because we've got a limited amount of time. And at the same time we're preparing for the weekend and we're certainly excited to see these guys and to meet them and to begin the process of growing them in all the different ways we want to here; which is to create an environment for them to be the best players and people they can be and I'm excited for them to meet their teammates as well, because we have a great locker room here, guys. I think that they are going to be welcomed and we've got a lot of great mentors in the locker room to help these guys move along very quickly. I know the coaches are excited to get together with them as well. "

On how easy it was for Emery to trade back into the 4th round
Emery: "Not. Ryan Kessenich, it was his first deal. It was a sight to behold. It was a lot of fun for me to watch him work that deal. The way we're organized, our trade desk is run by Cliff Stein and Kevin Turks, our Pro Director, supervises the phone calls so we have a scout…Dwayne Joseph our Associate Director of Pro Scouting has one side of the League and Ryan has the other, so they're constantly calling teams and working parameters so we talked about prior to the start of the bell of the 4th round that we need to get in so start calling and start working deals. Well, he found a deal with Denver and they committed to it as long as our player was on the clock and it was just fun watching him work that and how excited he was that it got done and it was really good deal for both teams because there's only two points – actually 1.9 points difference in value when it all worked out so he created a great deal and had a team to commit to it and it worked out for both sides."

So Kessenich had to pin down Denver and Vereen had to be there when Denver picked
"Yes. You bet."

On if Emery uses the draft pick value chart
Emery: "Oh yeah, we use the chart and we have another version of the chart that we know some of the League uses and then we have couple other versions of the chart that sometimes you get some dead silence like ‘are you kidding? We just realized that we're on different charts'. I will tell you this: we are not an easy team to trade with. I'm not big on giving up value. I really feel that trades should be fair. If you're going to trade it should be close in terms of perceived value, so we get a lot of turn downs because I'm not willing to give up 50, 60, 70, 80, 400 points – one deal last year – I'm just not willing to do that. I don't think that's the best way to help this football team win games."

On if Vereen was the top safety Emery was targeting today
Emery: "Yes. On our board, yes at that time. Yes he was."

On what gave Emery the most satisfaction during this year's draft
Emery: "Very satisfied that the way people came together in this building. I think this was my 16th draft - it's come in all varieties. And with how people work with one another, this was awesome. The level of communication going on between coaches and scouts is just fantastic. We're all on the same page. We're all working to get the best players available. We're all working our tails off to get the best college free agents that we can get. That's number one. Number two is that I see that we got good football players at positions that we had need for more competitive players. And that the third thing was that in the process of doing that, we followed the plan that we had laid out and finalized over two weeks ago and I showed Marc my notes and I said ‘look Marc, look where we are at' and we were dead on. Now it takes a little luck. Especially when it came to that safety/running back situation, and on our plan we had running back first in the 4th round. It could have easily worked the other way and if people had taken the players that we were moving towards it could have all fallen apart right then. It would have been trying to pull back and finding value and finding other players and that's what you plan for. You plan for those ‘hey we're out, what are we doing next?' You plan for the next spot. ‘What are your options if things don't work out according to plan and you've got to move back?' You have to find where the value is. That happened a year ago with Jordan Mills. We hit a spot where we didn't have player that we were all saying was a good player so we were fortunate enough we traded back and found Jordan."

On if this draft was different for Emery because he had stability on the coaching staff
Emery: "Anytime you're with a group of people together and you're all willing to continue to work together towards a common goal, you're going to get better at it and that's what's happened in this building. We're all moving in the same direction, so if you're all willing to help one another and, more than any one skill, we're all willing to listen to one another. We've had some great conversations during the course of our meetings. We split our meetings up. We have all scouts meetings and all coaches meetings and then it's just the matter of conversations that Marc and I have on both sides with individual scouts and coaches, so there's a lot of communication going on. We divide them that way so people can speak their minds, that way you're not recruiting each other, you're just simply stating how you see the player and I think if you're willing to sit down and really have a good conversation, instead of just reading reports, if you're really willing to talk about players and really express your opinion and you're allowed to, then you have good communication. You're going to find a way to your goals. That's what I've seen happen in this last year, in terms of being comfortable with everybody and everybody understanding how the process works."

On if familiarity factors into the draft process
Emery: "It certainly does. And it's certainly been a positive."


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