Bears WR Season Preview: Darnell Mooney, N'Keal Harry, Velus Jones, more
|Friday, July 15, 2022, 12:10 PM- -|
We continue our season preview series by staying with the offensive side of the ball. Today it is about the wide receiver position, as this position has gone through the biggest makeover this offseason. A big reason for that was bringing in a new regime that wants to maximize Justin Fields and his talents.
Granted, most of the faces in the WR room look different; many of them will play similar roles from what the Bears saw last season, and that all starts with Darnell Mooney.
The 2020 fifth-round pick showed a ton of promise during his rookie season, which helped him land the No.2 WR spot last season.
Although listed as the No. 2 WR, he was Fields No. 1 and most trusted option as he came away with a 1000-yard season, proving to be a steal when he was selected as low as he was. Now entering his third season with the team, Mooney is the team's No. 1 option, and he and Fields will have that connection you are looking for. There is no reason why he shouldn't have another 1000-yard showing this year.
Outside of Mooney, the Bears next four top receivers are gone, which will be something to watch this season. Allen Robinson is one of those guys as he signed with the Rams this offseason. An annual 1000-yard receiver his first three years with the team, Robinson not only fell off last year, but had the worst year of his career.
He was the perfect compliment to Mooney as he brought size and possession to the table. Needing to replace his size, the Bears pulled off a trade earlier in the week by adding former first-rounder N'Keal Harry into the mix.
A bust through his first three seasons when you consider where he was drafted, there is plenty of talent surrounding Harry. Now it is time he shows people that skill, and perhaps a change of scenery is what he needs to get that done.
Also moving on this offseason was Marquise Goodwin, the Bears primary deep ball option. Goodwin was the burner in the WR room, which was looked at to take the top of the defense off. Knowing that he would be gone, Chicago needed to replace him and did that by drafting Velus Jones in round five.
Listed as a slot receiver, Jones is much bigger than that so expect him to play a more versatile role. He is the fastest WR the Bears have, and with a body build similar to Goodwin's, look for him to take on the same role.
Demiere Byrd was another free agent pick-up last season that saw time on the field as he is no longer with the team. Byrd didn't see much action earlier in the season, but his production significantly increased as the year went on. He was someone I thought the Bears would extend, but instead, they brought in two better options in Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown.
Byron Pringle and others
Pringle spent the last few seasons with the Chiefs as the team's third and fourth option, but can be used as a gadget player if needed. Conversely, Brown has a boatload of untapped potential, but was never given the opportunity to show that talent in Green Bay. These guys are unknown right now, but they will be given a fair shot this season to make something happen on the field.
While these five will be the primary targets for Fields, there are more options the Bears will have to consider, especially when there may be limited roster space available. Free agent pickups David Moore, Dante Pettis, and Tajae Sharpe are all options and come with NFL experience.
Second-year man Dazz Newsome is looking for more reps this season, especially after missing a ton of time with injuries last year. Then you have the undrafted rookies in Isaiah Coulter and Nsimba Walker, who are eagerly awaiting an opportunity to show what they can do.
This WR room has plenty of potential, but outside of a few guys, you don't have a great idea of what they can turn into. Regardless, Fields is going to have weapons a plenty to throw, too, and that is all you can ask for if you are a young QB.