There have been rumors swirling that the Chicago Bears are on the verge of signing Phil Emery, director of college scouting for the Kansas City Chiefs, as the team’s next general manager.
In the words of ESPN College Gameday’s Lee Corso: “Not so fast my friend!”
The Bears said today that they have not made a final decision on the new GM. In fact, they are planning on soon conducting a second round of interviews.
While they haven’t made a final decision, they have narrowed the list. The original crop of potential replacements for Jerry Angelo included: Marc Ross, director of college scouting for the New York Giants; Jimmy Raye III, director of player personnel for the San Diego Chargers; Jason Licht, director of pro personnel for the New England Patriots; Tim Ruskell, Chicago’s current director of player personnel and interim GM; and Emery.
According to reports, the Bears have removed three names from that list: Ruskell, Ross and Raye will not be invited for a second interview.
That leaves just Licht and Emery as the two finalists for the position.
Emery served as an area scout for the Bears from 1998-2004, before becoming director of college scouting for the Atlanta Falcons, a post he held for five seasons (2004-2008). He then moved on to his current position with the Chiefs.
Emery’s first pick for Atlanta in 2004 was CB DeAngelo Hall, a three-time Pro Bowler. His third pick was current Texans QB Matt Schaub, another Pro Bowler. Other notable picks by Emery: WR Roddy White (1st round, 2005); Jonathan Babineaux (2nd, 2005); G Justin Blalock (2nd, 2007); CB Chris Houston (3rd, 2007); WR Laurent Robinson (4th, 2007); and QB Matt Ryan (1st, 2008).
With the Chiefs, he selected S Eric Berry in the first round of 2010. Berry became just the first Kansas City rookie to make the Pro Bowl since Derrick Thomas in 1989.
Yet Emery is not without his mistakes as well – he drafted Frank Omiyale in the fifth round in 2005.
Within the Bears organization, Emery is highly respected and considered a consummate professional. His familiarity within the walls of Halas Hall gives him added leverage over the other candidates.
Before coming to the NFL, Emery was director of strength and conditioning services and as an associate professor at the U.S. Naval Academy from 1991-1998.
Licht (pronounced LIGHT) has 16 years experience in NFL personnel and scouting departments. He is in his second stint with the Patriots, after previously serving as a scout and then assistant director of player personnel (1998-2001). He’s also worked in various capacities for the Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals.
The 40-year-old has plenty of experience in the talent-evaluation department. When he served as VP of player personnel for the Eagles (2006-2007), the team did well in the top rounds, selecting DT Broderick Bunkley (1st, 2006), QB Kevin Kolb (2nd, 2007) and LB Stewart Bradley (3rd, 2007), as well as TE Brent Celek (5th, 2007).
The negatives on Licht are that he’s bounced around a lot in the league and has never been “in charge” of a draft with any of the organizations for which he’s worked.
Expect the Bears to bring both candidates back to Halas Hall within the next few days and, hopefully, to make a decision by the end of the week.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.