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Brandon Marshall is a lock to start out wide for the Chicago Bears, but who lines up on the other side remains a mystery.
Rookie Alshon Jeffery may not be there in Week 1, but he will eventually play his way into that role.
Like Marshall, Earl Bennett can claim chemistry with Jay Cutler as a former teammate. The Vanderbilt product is a versatile receiver who can play any receiver position. He signed a big four-year contract in December worth $18 million as the Bears committed $9 million of guaranteed money.
Chicago clearly views him as an important piece of the offense moving forward. But Bennett is most effective in the slot. It remains to be seen if he can hold down a starting gig out wide.
The Chicago Bears seem to promise to expand Devin Hester's role as a wide receiver every year. They have tried on numerous occasions with varied returns to develop the speedster beyond being limited to a dynamic kick returning weapon.
Hester will continue to line up out wide, but that role will likely be limited to select packages.
That leaves us with Jeffery. The Bears clearly think highly of him, too, as they traded up to land the South Carolina stud early in the second round. He only slipped out of the first round because of character concerns.
Jeffery's talent is obvious—at least to the writers of Pro Football Weekly's draft guide:
Outstanding size and arm length to climb the ladder and outmuscle defensive backs. Attacks the ball in the air and can pluck it away from a crowd. Offers a big target and wide catching radius and snatches the ball out of the air. Takes long, sneaky strides once he gets going and eats ground downfield. Good body control. Can separate with body length at the last second. Makes difficult catches look easy and excels making one-handed snags. Makes some subtle cuts and plays faster with the ball in his hands. Good run strength. Is physically tough and will play through injuries. Outstanding career production. Came through in the clutch and was a go-to guy. Strong red-zone producer.
The draft guide goes on to list plenty of "negatives" about Jeffery's game as well. He has a lot to learn as a rookie. Most first-year receivers don't start right away, but they can make a major impact quickly.
Look for Jeffery to earn a starting job midway through the season as he learns what it takes to be an NFL receiver, picks up the offense and becomes a better route runner.