Phil ins and outs: Which Emery picks fit with current Bears?

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Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (AP).

Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and right guard Kyle Long aren’t going anywhere, but other draft picks from the short-lived Phil Emery era could be shown the door. And soon.

Eleven of the 20 draft picks Emery made remain under second-year general manager Ryan Pace and coach John Fox.

With the Bears’ third exhibition game Saturday against the Chiefs, here’s a look at what’s ahead for the Emery leftovers:


WR Alshon Jeffery 2nd round, No. 45

Status: Starter

Jeffery is one of Emery’s best picks — and the last player remaining from his first class. When healthy, Jeffery is a top-tier receiver. He proved last year that he could excel without Brandon Marshall.

But Jeffery’s durability concerns made the Bears timid about a lucrative long-term extension. This is a prove-it year for Jeffery, who is playing under his $14.6 million franchise tag.

“I like where we are with Alshon,” receivers coach Curtis Johnson said.


RG Kyle Long 1st round, No. 20

Status: Starter

Long is Emery’s best selection — an athletic freak who quickly overcame questions about his limited college experience to become a three-time Pro Bowl player.

“I got as good of a right guard as there is in this league,” offensive line coach Dave Magazu said.

Picking Long’s fifth-year option was an easy decision for Pace. He is a franchise player who checks off every box for a Fox player: smart, tough and unselfish.

DL Cornelius Washington 6th round, No. 188

Status: Reserve

Washington has an important fan in defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who sees untapped potential. He was part of the second group of defensive linemen used in the preseason opener against the Broncos.

Washington’s biggest concern appears to be his health. He had a sack, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit before leaving the Broncos game with ankle and knee injuries. His ailments were minor, but Washington sat out the week with the Patriots. He also appeared in only one game last season because of a quadriceps injury.

Feeling more comfortable in Fangio’s scheme, Washington thinks he can be a formidable player, particularly on passing downs.

“But I don’t look too bad on the run, either,” Washington said. “I’m feeling good about what the future holds.”

WR Marquess Wilson 7th round, No. 236

Status: To be determined

The Bears have time to make a decision on Wilson, who remains on the physically unable-to-perform list after breaking his foot in minicamp.

But Pace feels good about the competition and results from his healthy receivers.


CB Kyle Fuller 1st round, No. 14

Status: On the bubble

This can’t be a make-or-break season for Fuller if he’s not on the field. Or can it be?

Arthroscopic knee surgery has sidelined Fuller, who has been described as an inconsistent player by his coaches.

It’s apparent Fuller still needs to prove that he fits, on and off the field. Deiondre’ Hall was drafted for a reason.

DL Ego Ferguson 2nd round, No. 51

Status: On the bubble

It wasn’t long ago that Pace and Fox were commending Ferguson for his rehab efforts this offseason after he tore a tendon in his right knee last season.

And now? Crickets.

When asked about Ferguson, Fox didn’t offer a glowing assessment Thursday. Instead, Fox seemed to suggest that Ferguson isn’t in the mix to start.

Before Washington was injured against the Broncos, Ferguson was part of the third defensive-line rotation.

DL Will Sutton 3rd round, No. 82

Status: On the bubble

A roster spot might come down to Sutton or Ferguson, and Sutton seems to have the edge right now. He’s listed behind Eddie Goldman at nose tackle.

Keith Browner, though, isn’t going away without a fight. Washington and Browner could possibly push out Sutton and Ferguson.

“I don’t pick the team; they do,” Fox said when asked about Sutton and Ferguson. “But I’d say they’re definitely in the fight.”

RB Ka’Deem Carey 4th round, No. 117

Status: Roster lock

Fox loves Carey’s head-down, come-get-some running style, and the Bears want to be a physical running team.

Carey has a concussion history to be mindful of, but he’s the top reserve behind Jeremy Langford. Carey’s style fits with the Bears’ zone running scheme.

QB David Fales 6th round, No. 183

Status: On the bubble

Fales’ days appear numbered.

The Bears protected Fales late last season, promoting him from the practice squad to the active roster when the Ravens tried to sign him.

But at that point, it made sense to keep an unproven quarterback in his early 20s over veteran Jimmy Clausen, who is now a free agent.

Veteran Brian Hoyer hasn’t played well in the preseason, but he has offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains’ backing.

Fales, meanwhile, didn’t play in the preseason game against the Patriots. Connor Shaw did.

P Pat O’Donnell 6th round, No. 191

Status: Starter

O’Donnell’s competition at camp, undrafted rookie Ben LeCompte, didn’t last past July. O’Donnell’s leg strength is special, but he’s working toward being more consistent when punting directionally.

LT Charles Leno Jr. 7th round, No. 246

Status: Starter

Leno is the hidden gem of Emery’s drafts. Pace and Fox’s Bears strongly believe in him, so much so that they opted to add competition elsewhere in the offseason. “He’s so underrated that it’s scary,” Magazu said. “The next step is just being consistent and being the same guy every day. The way he works, that’s going to come.”

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