The Bears need to find at least one wide receiver in the 2009 NFL Draft, and it's not beyond the realm of possibility that they select two.
Devin Hester and Earl Bennett are really the only players at the position assured of returning to Chicago next season. Marty Booker doesn't appear to have anything left in the tank, Brandon Lloyd was nothing but a tease as usual, and Rashied Davis looks to be just a special-teams contributor. It would be great to land a blue-chipper like Jeremy Maclin of Missouri at No. 18 overall, but it also wouldn't hurt to scour the prospect list for a potential diamond in the rough on Day 2.
Team officials took a close look at USF receiver Taurus Johnson at the East-West Shrine Game in Houston, a player with an array of physical tools that didn't produce much in terms of numbers at the collegiate level.
But according to Larry Weisbaum, the Publisher of USFNation.com on the Scout.com network, the Bulls didn't use Johnson enough in the offense and his best football may still be in front of him.
Strengths: TJ's best attributes are his size, speed, and work ethic. For a receiver he's very strong, benching 340, squatting 475, and doing a 300 power clean. He can run with the ball and plays very physical, a dynamic playmaker with very good hands that uses his physicality to make the hard catches in a crowd of defenders. He's a tough receiver that is good on the edge blocking people downfield, and he plays with a lot of passion. A multi-talented receiver that was a bit underused in the Bulls' spread offense, and his best playing years are still to come.
Weaknesses: He's a passionate competitor that plays with a lot of emotion and wears his heart on his sleeve. But sometimes his emotions can get the best of him, and if he's not involved early can sometimes be taken out of his game. His emotions can also be used as a strength, as he's maturing and learning from NFL mentors on how to keep his composure and harness those emotions that he's used in the past to drive him to excel.
Weisbaum Says: TJ is a tough and dynamic playmaker and even a game changer that has the ability to take over. It's hard to project where he'll go in the draft only because his numbers weren't staggering, but scouts saw what type of a player he is during the Shrine practice and was invited to the NFL Combine. He has very good measurable statistics and should post very good numbers, which he'll need to increase his draft stock. He has all the skills to excel at the next level and could have a very productive career with whoever gets him.
JC's Take: If the Bears don't make a play for a veteran free agent that can step in immediately and contribute, and I'm not talking about another addition off the scrap heap like Booker or Lloyd, then they could be looking at not one but two wideouts in the draft.
It would behoove them to use one of their picks in the first two rounds on a premier player, like the aforementioned Maclin in Round 1 or maybe Darrius Heyward-Bey of Maryland in Round 2. Either of the two is talented enough to make an impact as a rookie and give Kyle Orton another weapon in the passing game. Assuming Hester continues to make strides and Bennett is given a chance to compete, that's a better group than what the Midway Monsters featured on the outside this past season.
Johnson is certainly big and strong enough to get the job done on Sunday, so his value in the draft could be decided soley by how fast he runs the 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Insider Analysis: WR Taurus Johnson
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