2011 NFL Draft: Are the Chicago Bears Comfortable with WR Corps?."
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Georgia's A.J. Green and Alabama's Julio Jones headline a wide receiver class short on star quality but long on depth and capable performers who could contribute immediately. The Chicago Bears will look to add talent in the middle rounds to bolster a wide receiver unit that lacks a big, strong physical playmaker for Jay Cutler to target.
Besides Green and Jones, a handful of players possess intriguing combinations of athletic ability, run after the catch skills and pass reception prowess.
From a tight end standpoint, Notre Dame's Kyle Rudolph and Arkansas' D. J. Williams are the top prospects in a shallow pool.
Below are some names to watch:
-A.J. Green, Georgia
Didn't perform as well as expected at the combine but Green is a top notch player who will shine when the games begin. Tall, strong and physical, he demonstrates an appetite for the ball and comes up with key catches at crucial times. Plays faster than timed and displays the soft hands, release skills and route running ability needed to become a premier wideout. Should make an immediate impact. Missed time in 2010 with suspension for selling jersey but that shouldn't affect draft status.
-Julio Jones, Alabama
Knocked it out of the park at the combine and intrigues evaluators with his combo of size, speed and strength. Dependable catcher who can be counted on for big plays. Good hands, willing blocker, improved routes. Will still get distracted at times and drop an occasional ball but should have a long NFL career.
-Titus Young, Boise State
Good route runner with soft hands and exceptional run after the catch skills. Versed in a pro style offense, Young finished as Boise State's all-time career reception leader. Outstanding athlete who combines agility and a quick first step to gain release off the line of scrimmage. Possesses the deep speed needed for a big-time playmaker.
-Jerrel Jernigan, Troy
Small and slender but demonstrates game-breaking ability with his receiving and return skills. Plucks the ball effortlessly with his hands and once in control, has the explosiveness to take it all the way. Good burst and quickness. Nicked up during and after team's bowl appearance and could be fragile. Should contribute as return man quickly.
-Leonard Hankerson, Miami (FL)
Hankerson made money at the Senior Bowl, where he was the best receiver on the field. Strong and physical with good size, he displayed toughness and nice hands. Could improve route running skills but has the talent and ability to make a impact quickly.
-Torrey Smith, Maryland
Potentially explosive athlete who will make the great catch one moment, yet drop an easy one moments later. Smith came out early as an underclassmen and needs further refinement. Productive in college and has the necessary blend of speed, hands and separation skills to entice a NFL club.
-Randall Cobb, Kentucky
Early entry candidate who possesses the speed and hands to become a vertical threat. Still rough around the edges and will need better focus, concentration and improved route running to become a starter in the league. Good return man and athlete who played at various spots during his collegiate career.
Tandon Doss, Indiana
Left a year early but demonstrates natural playmaking ability. Doss can be a threat as a receiver or return man. Outstanding run after the catch skills. Solid pass catcher, though route running and concentration can be improved. His ability to stay healthy may drop his draft value. Nicked up alot with nagging injuries and couldn't participate during the combine. Solid mid-round value pick who could pay dividends.
-Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame
Rudolph is injury prone, but well-sized and has the natural receiving skills most clubs covet in their tight end. Good hands and speed to get down the seam. His quickness allows him to get off the line of scrimmage, a trait that will gain more importance in the NFL. Blocking is adequate but not a strong suit. May be drafted higher than warranted if clubs have a need at the position.
-D.J. Williams, Arkansas
A classic boom or bust type, Williams is an intriguing athlete with rare size, speed and playmaking abilities. Better athlete than football player at this point, so team drafting him will need to be patient. Soft, natural hand catcher. Good run after the catch skill. Blocking is hit or miss.
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