Two years ago, the Chicago Bears had arguably the worst receiving group in the NFL. Fast forward to the start of the 2013 training camp, new head coach Marc Trestman finds himself with an above average top three to their depth chart. With Devin Hester now a fulltime return-man only, the Bears now have a hole at their vertical (Y) receiving position.
The bears will have nine receivers set to battle for two possible spots.
After a 7-1 start, the Bears finished 10-6 and missed the playoffs mainly due to the inconsistent offense. Emery showed that his focus moved to the offensive side of the ball after signing tight end Martellus Bennett, left tackle Jermon Bushrod and left guard Matt Slauson. Offensive line coach guru Aaron Kromer comes in as offensive coordinator and lines coach, and with Trestman being known as an offensive juggernaut throughout his football career, it is hard not to get excited. Most recently, he led his former CFL team, the Montreal Alouettes, to three Grey Cup appearances, taking the cup twice, while leading his quarterback to back to back MVP awards in 2009 and 2010. With a West Coast offense in place, look to see multiple receivers involved in this potential high powered offense.
Depth at WR:
In this pass heavy offense, the Bears feature some good weapons in the passing game and also a few young players set to develop. Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Earl Bennett are all locks to make the roster. With two return aces Devin Hester and Eric Weems possibly battling for the ONLY the return-man job, cutting one saves money and creates an extra roster spot.
My forcast: Devin Hester stays and Eric Weems gets cut. That would saves $0.4 million after dead money.
Joe Anderson, as a second year player at 6’1 has the experience of being on both the practice squad and a brief stint on the 53 man roster. He is a top candidate to win one of the two spots especially with possessing good speed and being a solid special teams contributor.
Devin Aromashodu a 6 year vet with good size; Aromashodu is entering his second stint with the Bears. He spent the last two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, catching 37 passes for a total of 650 yards and a single touchdown. The two questions holding Aromashodu back are his hands and special teams ability.
Marqess Wilson is not your typical late round pick. Wilson was a star at in college setting a new all-time school record for receiving yards. At 20 years old, 6’3 and 200 pounds, his size and age blended with his raw talent and abilities leave the staff excited and hopeful. Wilson has great body control and his 4.4 speed leaves him as a possible vertical (Y receiver).
Brittan Golden is coming into his second year and did not make the cut last year. He has been compared to a lesser version of Earl Bennett. Solid hands will help his case but his size and speed and contribution on special teams may hurt him.
Terrence Toliver is a second year player that has failed to stick on a roster. Good size at 6’5, but questionable speed. Will take a great camp to make an impression.
Marcus Rucker is an undrafted free agent. If Wilson does not show enough, Rucker could be a dark horse to become the new vertical threat.
Josh Lenz has a small frame at 5’11, but sub 4.4 speed. Could possibly be a Dane Sanzenbacher with speed (don’t hold your breath). Could be a good slot if Earl Bennett fails to impress.
Jarrell Jackson is in his second year and can’t seem to stick on a team. He is above average size and speed but chances are he is a camp body who probably won’t see more than a preseason game or two.
There are four players who fit the bill. Critical players are Wilson, Anderson and Aromashodu.
Wilson has too much potential to take a chance of putting him through waivers in attempts of placing him on the practice squad. What will end up separating Anderson and Aromashodu apart from each other is contribution on special teams and age. Aromashodu may have the offensive edge on Anderson at the moment, but Anderson is the better special teams contributor and the younger player by five years.
Final Prediction: Marquess Wilson and Joe Anderson.