When the Chicago Bears square off against the Minnesota Vikings, the biggest threat for the defense, besides Adrian Peterson, is Percy Harvin. Harvin is a versatile athlete who is just as likely to beat you deep as he is to make you miss in the open field. His breakaway speed is top-tier, making him a homerun threat every time he touches the ball.
Since the Vikings drafted him in 2009, I've often wondered what Chicago's offense would look like if they had a player like Harvin on the roster. In this year's draft, there's a player that could provide the Bears with the same type of threat that Minnesota has in Harvin.
Baylor's Kendall Wright is arguably the most talented and versatile player in the 2012 class. His biggest asset is his speed. Many assume his 40-yard dash time at the combine will fall in the 4.3 range. That speed translates well to the football field, where he was absolutely dominant last season.
WR Kendall Wright
Peter G. Aiken/Getty
In his senior year in 2011, Wright caught 108 balls for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdowns, earning him first-team Big 12 and second-team All-American honors.
On film, Wright shows unparalleled acceleration. It takes him just two steps from the line of scrimmage before he's at full speed. This allows him to easily create separation out of his breaks. Defenders didn't typically press him due to his ability to fly down the field, yet even when given a large cushion, Wright consistently blew past opposing cornerbacks. At the NFL level, his pace will keep defenses honest and now allow teams to stack the box.
Wright has a reported 42-inch vertical jump. Combine that with his amazing agility and solid hands, and you get a player that can adjust to any pass thrown his way. He tracks the deep ball well and has enough athleticism to lay out and make the diving grab over his shoulder.
Yet where Wright truly excels is after the catch. His open-field ability is unmatched in this year's draft. Baylor used numerous screens and quick-hit patterns just to allow him room to operate. With Wright, slants and hitches are just as dangerous as fly patterns, as his ability to make defenders miss can turn a five-yard pass into a 60-yard touchdown on any given play.
He shows great balance and body control, and by all accounts, he's a fiery competitor. In essence, he's an ideal athlete with all the physical tools to be an All Pro at the next level, except for one: his size.
Wright is listed at 5-10, 190 pounds. During the last decade, 41 receivers have been selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Just six of those were under six-feet tall. There is an infatuation with size in regard to wideouts in the NFL, which typically pushes the players of smaller stature into the mid-to-late rounds.
Yet Harvin is just 5-11, 184 pounds, and that didn't stop him from being Rookie of the Year, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl and being named an All Pro in 2009. Players like Harvin and Wright produce despite their size. Considering Wright's leaping ability, his slight frame shouldn't be an issue.
The only other knock on Wright is his blocking ability. He wasn't asked to be a blocker all that often at Baylor, so the jury is still out on that aspect of his game. But if that's his only negative, 32 NFL teams will be able to overlook it.
There is no other player in the 2012 draft class as intriguing to me as Wright. He's the type of player who could add an extra dimension to Chicago's offense. Game plans can be built around him. Opposing defenses won't be able to bring an eighth man in the box to stop Matt Forte, otherwise Wright will burn them deep. His burst will allow him to create the separation that no Bears receiver could accomplish on a consistent basis last season.
Fans and media alike have clamored for Chicago to find a big target for Jay Cutler, similar to what he had with Brandon Marshall in Denver. Yet that can be found in free agency, with guys like Dwayne Bowe, Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston and Robert Meachem, just to name a few, set to hit the open market. If the Bears add one of those players and pair him with Wright, and Earl Bennett out of the slot, Chicago's passing attack immediately becomes a team strength, not a weakness.
If the Bears call his name at 19 overall, fans will need only to sit back and enjoy the ride. Wright is the real deal.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.