Chicago Bears wide receiver Mark Bradley was already perhaps the best pass-catcher on the team less than halfway through his rookie season back in 2005, but he tore his ACL in Week 7 at Detroit and simply hasn't been the same since.
In and out of the lineup for most of 2006 as he came back from the knee injury and various other ailments along the way, 2007 was when he was supposed to regain his old form. However, he didn't get very many snaps due to the presence of starters Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammad, plus getting the ball to converted corner Devin Hester kept Bradley on the bench more often than not. And even with both Berrian and Muhammad sporting different addresses these days, the Monsters of the Midway felt the need to bring back former Bear Marty Booker and take a chance on talented-but-troubled Brandon Lloyd during the offseason.
The fact that general manager Jerry Angelo has entertained all kinds of receiving options leading up to the NFL Draft also does not bode well for Bradley, and one more prospect has been added to the list recently.
WR Donnie Avery
Bob Levey/AP Images
BearReport.com has confirmed that the Bears showed considerable interest in Donnie Avery of Houston at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, a second- or third-rounder according to most experts.
Avery (5-11, 192) is usually the fastest player on the field in pads even if his 40-yard dash time of 4.49 seconds doesn't necessarily reflect that, and he seems to be at full speed in just a few steps. He's a serious weapon after the catch because of his shiftiness and agility, and he's shown the ability to adjust to the ball in flight under control. He isn't the biggest of receivers and might have trouble getting off the jam at the line of scrimmage facing NFL cornerbacks, but he was very productive for the Cougars and is a threat to score every time he gets his hands on the pigskin.
According to Avery in an interview with Ed Thompson of Scout.com, other teams that have shown the most interest in him include the Browns, Chiefs, Colts, Jaguars, Jets, Patriots, Rams, Ravens, Saints, and Vikings.
Bradley will most likely be given the first shot at starting opposite the veteran Booker, although the former Oklahoma Sooner appeared to be in the doghouse this past season and has had his work ethic called into question at times.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.