Bears Show Interest in Junior Wideout

Even though the week in Mobile is about scouting the seniors headed for the draft, the Bears took time on Monday evening to speak at length with a junior receiver that could be a potential first round selection.

A scout from the Bears was spotted talking with Florida WR Chad Jackson for at least 20 minutes on Monday. The interesting part of the story is that Jackson declared for the draft a year early. He would not have bolted if the NFL Draft Advisory Committee hadn't led him to believe he would be a first or second round pick.

Jackson had a breakout junior season, earning All-SEC recognition after catching 88 passes for 900 yards and 9 touchdowns.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder is projected to run the forty in under 4.4-seconds. Jackson will compete to be the first receiver selected in the draft. He's currently ranked as the fifth best prospect at the position on the draft board.

While Jackson averaged 22.3 yards per reception and reached the end zone 6 times as a sophomore, he only caught 29 passes and is considered by some to be a one-year wonder.

There are questions about his NFL readiness and ability to make an immediate impact. According to those that have watched Jackson during his time at Florida, he has as much room for improvement as he has talent.

Jackson is not great at getting open on his own, relying more on Urban Meyer's spread scheme to get him free. He has yet to develop a sense of timing on long passes, thus he failed to reach 1,000 yards receiving even though he caught 88 balls. His blocking needs improvement and nobody with his speed should average 10.2 yards a catch. He doesn't have experience in the return game either.

Still, this is a weak draft at receiver. The combine and pre-draft workouts will have a lot to say about how many wideouts are taken in the first round.

The Bears have a crop of young receivers that have yet to make an impact in the NFL. Bernard Berrian came on strong at the end of 2005, but his 180-pound frame seems to open him up to injury. Mark Bradley became a playmaker before a knee injury ended his rookie season. He's expected to be ready by training camp, but coming off an ACL tear in his right knee there are no guarantees he'll be running at 100 percent by August.

Adding a veteran threat through free agency would seem to make more sense because it would immediately give the offense a compliment to veteran WR Muhsin Muhammad. It would also buy time for Bradley and Berrian to develop. However, if Jackson is available with the 25th selection, GM Jerry Angelo may find his combination of speed and size too hard to pass up.

Bear Report Top Stories