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Timmy Jernigan could be there for Bears in Round 2

Updated: May 9, 2014 2:43PM



In the end, the Bears chose the Kyle Fuller Plan — and the ensuing picks attached to him.

As part of the team’s preparation for the NFL draft, the Bears gamed out their entire draft strategy based on each of the six potential first-rounders they were likely to choose.

When Fuller, a cornerback from Virginia Tech was chosen, then, the Bears’ wish list looked similar to what it did before Thursday’s first round. They still need a safety — and most are gone.

They still need a defensive tackle — and have Timmy Jernigan, a first-round talent with a failed drug test, still on the board. So too are Notre Dame’s Louis Nix III, with whom the Bears have met, and Minnesota’s Ra’Shede Hageman.

“Obviously we have a list of players that we feel warrant the pick at the positions that are important to us,” general manager Phil Emery said.

Was Thursday’s pick a case of not drafting for need, such as safety, but for a player the Bears loved the most?

“This is an example,” Emery said, “of taking a player we really liked.”

The safeties they like are ­almost all gone.

All four of the draft’s top safeties were chosen in the first round: Louisville’s Calvin Pryor (Jets), Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Packers), Washington State’s Deone Bucannon (Cardinals) and Northern Illinois’ Jimmie Ward (49ers).

Florida State’s Terrence Brooks could entice the Bears, though perhaps not in the second round.

Emery has talked of trying to convert tall corners, though that seems like a reach until Day 3.

The Bears’ draft plan tried to take into account which second- and third-day players would be available, the GM said.

“Obviously, you’re doing a lot of projection,” Emery said, “because you don’t know exactly when those players are going to be taken.

“You have to do a really good job in terms of educated guesses on who’s going to be available when, and run those scenarios based on your needs and the quality of the player and the value.”

Defensive tackle is deeper than safety.

Late Thursday night, the Patriots selected Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley, whom the Bears scouted in Gainesville last month. Easley was only the second tackle taken. the Bears barely missed Pitt’s Aaron Donald, who went at No. 13.

That leaves Jernigan, whose stock fell after reports of a failed drug test at the combine. The 6-2, 299-pounder from Florida State was most closely linked with the Bears’ first-round selection for weeks. To snag him in Round 2, provided they were comfortable with his past, could be a coup.

Hageman and Nix are available, too, though Nix is considered more of a 3-4 nose tackle. The Bears have talked to Arizona State’s Will Sutton and Princeton’s Caraun Reid. Both could be picked Friday.

Emery was sly when asked about tackles — “We’ll let it unfold,” he said — but it’s no secret the Bears need one.

Players at positions of need are important.

“But most important,” Emery said, “are the ones that we desire.”

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @patrickfinley



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