General manager Jerry Angelo can pound his fist about finally getting the quarterback position right, but until he surrounds that quarterback with adequate playmakers, it's going to be difficult for the Bears to score points consistently.
The Monsters of the Midway have a laughable crops of receivers at their disposal presently, with Devin Hester disguising himself as a primary weapon, Rashied Davis dropping passes at a record pace, and Earl Bennett failing to catch one ball his rookie season. Veteran additions Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd will most likely not be back, as neither one of them did enough in 2008 to warrant a return invitation for '09. And we don't know if training camp heroes Mike Hass and Brandon Rideau can actually play in this league because they're never given an opportunity despite all the mediocrity in front of them on the depth chart.
More and more franchises are avoiding wideouts in the first round of the NFL Draft because of a high bust factor at that position and a steep learning curve from college to the pros, which means there are late-round gems out there waiting to be unearthed – perhaps Chicago has found one.
Scout.com is reporting that officials from the Bears spent a great deal of time in Houston at the East-West Shrine Game with Taurus Johnson of South Florida.
Johnson (6-1, 205) started to come on as a sophomore, as the Bulls burst on the national pigskin scene for the first time, although his numbers never really improved over the course of his career in Tampa. But while his receptions pretty much stayed flat, from 37 in 2006 to 34 in '07 to 38 in '08, he did find the end zone more often as he matured – from two to four to six in that same span. He has the size and strength to succeed on Sunday, although he's only expected to time somewhere in the 4.5 to 4.6 range in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine later this month.
Johnson is not listed among the top 30 wide receivers available for the draft this April, meaning the best he could probably hope for would be a selection in Round 7 unless he has a tremendous showing in Indianapolis.
The Bears thought they had a seventh-round steal at wideout in last year's draft with Marcus Monk, but he was cut in training camp and returned to Arkansas to finish his basketball eligibility – he's averaging 4.5 points per game for the Razorbacks.
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.
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