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Roundtable: Draft The Best Football Player Or Best Athlete?

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Devin Hester.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Devin Hester. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

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(WSCR) When drafting in the NFL, what’s more important: selecting the best football player or selecting the best athlete who you can develop into a football player?

The Bears have most certainly had both successes and failures in drafting from both types of players, but what will new GM Phil Emery look for?

“We talked about that with (Phil Emery) yesterday a little bit,” Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune said in yesterday’s Bears Roundtable Discussion. “We asked, ‘Late in the draft, what are you going to do? Are you going to go after the guy who is more of an over-achiever, who is more of a great football player or are you going to try to find a guy with athleticism?’ He said he’s looking for traits late in the draft. He’s looking for the same kinds of things that Lovie Smith looks for – either speed or size or athleticism. Emery believes players with those kinds of traits can develop, even if they don’t have everything you’re looking for.”


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Bears expert Zach Zaidman agreed, but said he would give the edge the to most athletic player.

“You cannot play this defense unless you’re athletic,” Zaidman said. “It’s tough to play in the NFL, but specifically in this defense unless you have those measurables. I think what the Bears have to do is… You can’t just take a guy who has these great measurables and throw him out there. You have to have instincts. Someone may not be the smartest player in the world, but, if you don’t have the instincts to play, because it’s such a disciplined defense, if you don’t have those instincts, you’re not going to survive.”

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