The Bears missed Johnny Knox more than they realized last season.
The loss of his combination of speed and quickness left a major void in the offense. With Knox retiring due to a back injury, could the team replace him with another lightning-fast prospect out of Texas?
For those who don't know Marquise Goodwin, the best way to describe him is fast. As a matter of fact, Goodwin is very fast. He also has tremendous leaping skills that earned him a spot on the 2012 USA Olympic team.
Goodwin was a sprinter and jumper on the University of Texas track team and was a wide receiver for the Longhorns' football team. He was the 2012 Alamo Bowl MVP during which he had four receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown against Oregon State. He also had a 64-yard rushing touchdown in the game.
At 5'9'', 170 pounds, Goodwin does not have great size. He is even smaller than Knox, who is 6'0'', and was 190 pounds when he played with the Bears. This greatly limits the plays and range Goodwin can provide, but with guys like Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, size is not at a premium.
Right now Devin Hester is expendable. He is a below-average receiver who seems to have lost a step and some confidence in the return game. Fresh blood is needed and can come in the form of Goodwin.
The Bears would have to bring him in as a specialist in the return game who can give you about 7-10 plays per game on offense. As he gets comfortable in the NFL that number could increase as he grows into a valuable contributor.
One glaring problem with the Bears last season was their lack of speed on the outside. Knox was missed and Hester was just too unreliable. Having a guy like Brandon Marshall is great, but with a quarterback like Jay Cutler you need a receiver who can just flat out run past everybody.
What Goodwin does in the combine will help decide where he goes in the draft. Goodwin has already gone on record saying he wants to break records at this year's combine.
Combine week! Most important interview of my life...— MARQUISE GOODWIN (@FlashGoodwin) February 19, 2013
The Bears need to take a long look at Goodwin. His style is similar to Mike Wallace's, who will be in the free-agent class this year. Wallace's dynamic speed and athleticism could earn him upward of $60 million, but Goodwin can be a similar guy that only costs a day-two pick.
When you do the math, it just makes sense where to go.