Last week, Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery made positive comments about the much-maligned safety Chris Conte at the NFL Combine. In all reality, Emery was just saving face with Conte. Emery knows that he and the Bears cannot go into the 2014 season with Conte as one of the two starting safeties. Conte’s play was historically bad, and there is absolutely no doubt that Emery will look to replace both Conte and Major Wright on the 2014 Bears defense.
Free agency promises to have a plentiful group of safeties for the Bears to look at. Specifically, T.J. Ward of the Cleveland Browns and Jairus Byrd of the Buffalo Bills could be game-changers. Both could be franchise-tagged by their respective teams, but if they hit the open market, I would expect Emery to do his due diligence.
The 2014 NFL Draft is very talented at the top, but has considerable depth into the later rounds. As you may have read, I feel Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would be a worthy pick at No. 14 for Chicago, but he is not the only talented safety in this group. Some middle-to-late round prospects that could make an impact for the Bears defense are Dion Bailey out of USC, Kenny Ladler from Vanderbilt and Ahmad Dixon of Baylor.
Given Emery’s track record of fulfilling team needs via free agency and the draft, I have total confidence in his ability to shore up the safety position. So please Bears fans, have faith in Emery and be patient. Remember, March 11 is just around the corner.