Positional Overview: Wide Receivers

The Bears are expecting more punch from a group of receivers that produced just three touchdowns last season. Thanks to a key free agent addition and two draft choices on the position the team is looking for instant returns.

Muhsin Muhammad brings something the Bears haven't had since Marty Booker was traded, a reliable target for Rex Grossman.

The 10-year veteran is coming off a career high 16 touchdowns, which is three less than the entire Bears offense had in 2004.

At six-foot-2, 217-pounds Muhammad lacks blazing speed, but makes up for it with precise route running and strength.

Muhammad, 31, will anchor a group of receivers that without him averages 24.1 years in age.

The biggest question is who among the youngsters will step up and start opposite Muhammad.

Justin Gage will get the first crack because of his size and ability to stretch the defense. After showing flashes of being a playmaker as a rookie, he was a non-factor in Terry Shea's offense.

Ron Turner plans to utilize Gage, who is coming off a season in which he had just 12 receptions.

Bernard Berrian will push Gage for a starting role. While he's faster than Gage, Berrian could struggle with the discipline needed for the west coast offense.

Bobby Wade started 14 games last season and tied for the most receptions among receivers. In many ways he's become the forgotten man because he doesn't have the speed of Berrian or Gage's size.

There is still a place for Wade as a possession receiver that is a dependable third down target. If R.W. McQuarters isn't part of the team, Wade will be considered for the punt return duties.

Eddie Berlin inked a one-year deal with the Bears and is primarily known as a special teams performer, a fact that will be important when it comes down to picking six receivers for the 53-man roster.

The Bears used two of their six draft choices on receivers.

Second round pick Mark Bradley has the potential to grow into a star because of his athletic ability, but how quickly he will be able to be a factor is in doubt because he started just ten games in college.

Airese Curry has track speed and put up better numbers in college than Bradley. However, at 186 pounds he could have trouble getting off the line of scrimmage, which would limit the effectiveness of his speed.

The Bears carried four wideouts last year. With off-season additions it will be difficult to trim the number down to six.

Muhammad, Gage, Berrian and Bradley are locks to make the squad. Wade, Currie and Berlin will compete for the two remaining spots.

The most likely scenario will be Wade and Berlin making the team and the Bears try to hide Currie on the practice squad.

If the decision makers feel Currie will be snatched up immediately, look for Berlin to be the odd man out.

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