There are plenty of NFL experts out there that believe the Bears are still in desperate need of a play-making wide receiver, although the coaching staff appears content with the pass catchers currently on the roster.
While a bona fide No. 1 is nowhere to be found and the depth chart as a whole is largely absent of household names, there are a bunch of 2s and 3s currently in the fold that quietly enjoyed strong seasons in 2009 and should only get better in 2010. Devin Hester may have cracked the 1,000-yard barrier if not for a calf injury down the stretch. Earl Bennett picked up right where he and signal caller Jay Cutler left off back at Vanderbilt. Devin Aromashodu came on strong the final month and flashed primary-target skills. Throw in a respectable rookie year from Johnny Knox and Juaquin Iglesias now ready to contribute after the proverbial "redshirt" campaign, and that's five wideouts right there all but guaranteed a roster spot.
That doesn't even include veteran Rashied Davis, who was not a part of the rotation last season and only caught five passes, but he remains a key cog in the wheel on special teams.
Nevertheless, according to research compiled by BearReport.com, the Monsters of the Midway have shown the most amount of interest in these three WR prospects leading up to this month's NFL Draft:
"Gilyard is a lanky, explosive playmaker who's dangerous in space. He's quick off the line, uses his hands well to fight off a jam and will challenge a defender over the middle and downfield. He has good hands and vision and consistently finds openings within a defense. He sets up defenders nicely after the catch and is elusive in the open field. He shows good awareness after the catch and follows his blockers to pick up positive yards. He has a knack for the acrobatic and makes highlight-reel plays. He's also a tremendous return specialist."
– Chris Steuber, Scout.com
"Ohio University receiver Taylor Price has been told he's a dead ringer for Johnny Knox, and he's not shying away from the comparisons. Price is one of the more buzz-worthy players at the draft, considering how few reporters monitor the Bobcats. 'I trained at the same spot Johnny did,' said Price, who came out of a wing-T offense in high school in suburban Columbus. 'A lot of people say I remind them of Johnny, so I hope I can put up the numbers he did. He ran fast, and I'm looking forward to doing the same thing.' Price, who had a great Senior Bowl week and is ranked as the 11th-best receiver by Scouts Inc., is considered one of the fastest players in the draft. Knox's 4.34 40-yard dash last year boosted his draft stock, and he wound up being one of the Bears' few bright spots in 2009."
– Jon Greenberg, ESPNChicago.com
"Ford is a pure deep threat who combined with running back C.J. Spiller to give the Tigers one of the most dynamic big-play duos in the country in 2009. Despite starting only 27 career games, Ford had seven touchdowns of 50-plus yards. Used as a receiver, running back, returner and even at quarterback, Ford posted 4,083 all-purpose yards on 297 touches – averaging an eye-popping 13.75 yards per touch – and 21 career touchdowns (15 receiving, two rushing, one throwing, two as a kick returner, one as a punt returner). Any questions about Ford's pure speed subsided when he won the 60-meter dash (6.52 seconds) in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in March 2009. Due to his dynamic speed, Ford is often miscast as merely a deep threat. He showed improved toughness across the middle and attention to detail as a route runner in 2009, emerging for the first time in his career as Clemson's leading receiver. His 56 receptions for 779 yards and six touchdowns earned him second-team All-ACC honors."
– Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
Conclusion: As we all know, the Bears are not on the clock until No. 75 overall in Round 3 and have no chance to get one of the elite wide receivers in this draft, like Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State or Arrelious Benn of Illinois.
Purely playing the numbers game, it doesn't make a lot of sense for general manager Jerry Angelo to add another pass catcher to the mix since at least five of the six available roster spots – and that's assuming Chicago even keeps six, of course – are spoken for already. Nobody in the current crop would generate much in terms of trade interest around the league, so moving one of them for another draft pick isn't going to happen either. Gilyard might max out as a No. 1 down the road since he showed that kind of ability in college, but both Price and Ford look a lot like what the Bears already have: another 2 or 3.
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz is on record saying he likes what he has already at receiver, so the Midway Monsters would be best served addressing other positions in the draft, especially since they only have five picks.
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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.
Draft Decisions: Add Another WR?
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