This year marks the tenth anniversary of the last time a Chicago Bears receiver reached the Pro Bowl. That honour belongs to Marty Booker back in 2002. That’s 10 years of mediocrity.
For Bears fans, it’s been painfully clear that the team lacks an elite receiver. Former General Manager Jerry Angelo tried to fool us with the acquisition of Roy Williams last year.
Nobody was fooled. Head Coach Lovie Smith tried to fool us into thinking Devin Hester could be a number one receiver.
Nobody was fooled.
Former Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz tried to fool us into thinking that his offense didn’t need a number one receiver.
Once again, nobody was fooled.
In comes new GM Phil Emery. He was credited with persuading the Atlanta draft room to take Roddy White with the 27th pick in the 2005 draft. He was also part of the draft team who decided to draft Jonathan Baldwin with the 26th pick in last year’s draft.
To summarise, Phil Emery isn’t afraid to draft a receiver in the first round.
With the likes of Vincent Jackson, Dwayne Bowe and Marques Colston all potentially hitting free agency, it’s conceivable that Chicago may look here to fill their need. With cap space of around $20 million, they have plenty of room to manoeuvre and pay the big money to get the proven go to guy.
But as Emery said in his introductory press conference, he wants to build through the draft, rather than free agency. Should that give any indications to their activity next week, we can expect a pretty quiet few weeks from Chicago, outside of placing the franchise tag on Matt Forte.
This puts Chicago in the position to draft their new number one receiver of the future. And this year’s draft isn’t short on receivers with first-round potential.
Justin Blackmon looks set to go inside the top 10, Alshon Jeffrey has been predicted from anywhere between Jacksonville at seven to San Francisco at 31, Mohammad Sanu had a stellar season at Rutgers and could be a fringe first rounder, and Kendall Wright, with the assistance of RG3, has given himself a great chance of being one of the top receivers selected.
And then there is Michael Floyd. From nearby Notre Dame, he caught 100 balls (eighth in the nation) for 1147 yards and 9 TD’s. He’s got the frame which Chicago desperately need, standing at 6-3 and 225lbs. His combine showing shouldn't yield amazing results outside of his vertical leap, so his draft position could fluctuate massively.
Be aware, every team will change up their big board after the combine, some players will shine, some will be unimpressive. If you need an example, just research Mike Mamula. Eagles fans will be all too familiar with the workout warrior.
Of the receivers, I would take Kendall Wright out of the running. He’s a great player, but at 5-10, he’s not got the frame to be the big receiver the Bears need.
Mohammad Sanu could be great player in the NFL and has the height the Bears need, but the 19th pick is a bit of reach for a player with a grade of late 1st- early 2nd round pick.
Alshon Jeffrey is an interesting prospect, with many writers claiming he has ‘boom or bust potential’. The Bears replaced Jerry Angelo for many reasons, one of which was failure to get talent with the first pick in the draft. many reports have been flying around about Jeffrey’s weight so the combine will be important for him to set the record straight. But with too much risk surrounding him, I can’t see the Bears taking a gamble.
Assuming Justin Blackmon is off the board, which receiver would you like the Bears to draft?
We assume Blackmon will be long gone before Chicago picks at 19, leaving Michael Floyd as the most sensible selection. Of all the receivers in the draft, many believe he is the most NFL ready. With a team with an aging defense and a closing window at winning it all, the Bears can’t afford to miss with this pick or draft a developmental project.
Floyd can start and produce from day one.
Jay Cutler recently said in an interview with The Waddle and Silvy show on ESPN 1000 that he would welcome a taller receiver to Chicago, like a Brandon Marshall who he had in Denver. To quote the man: “Anyone really over 6-2 at this point is going to look good”
Michael Floyd can be that guy.
I’m not saying he’ll be a perennial 100-catch-a-season receiver but he’s got the height to give corner backs nightmares and the leap to go up and make a catch in double coverage.
In a league where quarterbacks like John Skelton can look good when throwing to Larry Fitzgerald, imagine how good Cutler would look if he had that kind of target?
The Bears desperately need their Calvin Johnson or their Greg Jennings if they want to challenge for the NFC North this year. Though offensive line, defensive end and cornerback are all in need of an upgrade, the Bears can’t go much longer without a true #1 receiver.
With the trading of Greg Olsen in the previous offseason for a 3rd round pick, the Bears have the picks to move up if they deem it necessary. The likes of Jacksonville, New York and Philadelphia could all be in the position to draft a receiver so the Bears must be prepared to package a deal together should they need to move up for Floyd.