Positional Analysis

The tight end is always mentioned as important position. However, in the Bears recent scheme of things that philosophy hasn't come to fruition. Fans have memories of Mike Ditka, but the team has struggled to find a balanced tight end since the playing days of "Iron Mike."

This season is no different. The Bears have plenty of candidates at tight end, but quantity doesn't equate to quality. Returning players are Fred Baxter, John Davis and Dustin Lyman. While, new names include free agent acquisition Luther Broughton and sixth-round draft choice Bryan Fletcher. Each of the tight ends has their strengths, but the problem is they're one-dimensional players.

Baxter is good inline blocker and can catch the ball if it's within his reach. At this point he's the best the Bears have in terms of being an every down player, yet he lacks speed and isn't a threat past 10-15 yards downfield. Baxter finished the season with 22 receptions for 148 yards and two touchdowns.

Lyman's 6-4, 249 pound frame gives him the strength and speed to be a formidable blocker and receiving target. However, the potential has yet to turn into production. Lyman has made just one reception in two injury plagued seasons with the Bears.

Broughton, who spent time in Carolina with Bears offensive coordinator John Shoop, could prove to be more of a fullback then a tight end. At 6-0, 248 pounds he doesn't have the height or vertical leap needed to go up for balls over opposing linebackers or safeties.

At 6-5, 235 pounds Fletcher needs to add some pounds in order to become a sufficient blocker, but his athletic body should allow him to be a viable receiving target.

Davis could be the odd man out, as the Bears will likely take three veterans into the season with Fletcher ending up on the practice squad. He had 11 catches for 68 yards, but did not find the endzone.

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