Full of Promise and Production

The Chicago Bears had a solid draft, grabbing starting running back Anthony Thomas in the second round and a quality third receiver and budding star in David Terrell in the first round.

Unlike some of his fellow rookie receivers, Terrell is not starting. He will be, though. Terrell has flashed some of his potential by making 23 catches. Sixteen of those catches came during a recent four-game stretch that included a seven-catch day against Cincinnati and a two-touchdown outing against San Francisco. He's been a godsend with the team's most dangerous receiver, Marcus Robinson, out for the season.

"Terrell was a kid that could be the biggest impact player in the draft if in the right situation," said Frank Coyle of NFL Draft Insiders Digest (draftinsiders.com). "Obviously he doesn't have the best quarterback situation, but he's starting to step up."

While Terrell lacks Robinson's big-play ability, he makes up for it with his polish and ability to run so many routes. He has been compared to San Francisco's Terrell Owens and Tampa Bay's Keyshawn Johnson, who are regarded as two of the league's elite receivers. "He's the type of guy I watch on film when I come in on Tuesdays and Wednesdays early and watch film," Terrell said of Johnson.

Terrell has some flaws, though. First off all he talks, complains and whines too much.

"Receivers always think they are open and then you go back and watch the tape and they are not so open," Jim Miller, one of the Bears quarterbacks, said with a laugh.

Terrell missed a large chunk of training camp due to a contract holdout, and that put him behind the learning curve. He is No. 2 on the depth chart behind leading receiver Marty Booker. Eventually it will be Terrell and Booker starting at receiver, but the holdout robbed Terrell of the ability to learn both receiver positions. His practice habits have come under fire from some coaches, as well.

Thomas fell in the Bears' lap in the second round of the draft. A proven runner at a big-time college program, Michigan's Thomas fell to the second round because of questions about his speed. While he's not a breakaway threat, he had plenty of quickness to pair with his power to knock incumbent starter James Allen, a 1,000-yard rusher, out of the starting lineup. Thomas has 638 yards and four touchdowns. About 500 of those yards came during his five starts. Among rookie rushers, Thomas trails only San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson, the fifth pick in the draft. But Thomas' rushing average of 4.3 yards is significantly better (Tomlinson has 794 yards and a 3.7 average).

"Anthony Thomas did everything well (at the combine) but he didn't run well enough from a speed perspective to be a first-round pick," Coyle said. "But he's a tough inside runner. He's got size and he produced in some big games in college. He kind of came in ready to play."

Of the Bears' other rookies, Coyle says they are "mostly backups." Third-rounder Mike Gandy, a guard from Notre Dame, could become a starter with more seasoning. Five of their six picks made the final roster.


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