Bears WR Breakdown [#1 Need]
Heading into last off-season one of the biggest weaknesses on the Bears was the WR play. Heading into this off-season the Bears biggest weakness is again the WR position. The position has been underwhelming and has not allowed the Bears to get the most our of a franchise caliber QB in Jay Cutler.
Came in with big expectations, fueled by Martz and Angelo, and has done everything in his power to disappoint. From doing nothing for the first few weeks of the season to the key drops culminating with a goal line drop where he gave us the quote of the year "the big brown thing".
2012 Outlook: Gone and Good Riddance
Again proved that he is not an NFL receiver as he provided little to the offense. Hester is still a lethal kick returner, but poor routes, drops and a lack of big plays have limited his ability to help Jay Cutler. It is time for Jerry Angelo and the Bears admit that they failed to turn Hester into a NFL WR.
2012 Outlook: Full Time Returner and #5 WR [5-7 plays]
Bennett's season was ruined by injury to a degree, but he showed more than enough chemistry with Jay Cutler and the ability to convert 3rd downs. Bennett's value to the team will only be increased when true receivers are working on the outside. Bennett was rewarded with a contract to stay with the Bears and his chemistry with Cutler makes him worth the money.
Grade: B [Injuries]
2012 Outlook: #3 Slot WR.
Knox confirmed what he is this season, which is a #4 WR and a kick returning deep threat. Knox continues to run poor routes, just ask Cutler's thumb, have too many drops. Knox is also held back by the fact that he cannot run the entire route tree as Knox's effectiveness on slants and crossing routes disappears. Knox is now dealing with a back injury that could make him even more hesitant to go across the middle. Knox does have some big play ability.
2012 Outlook: #4 WR Deep Threat [10-15 plays a game], #2 Returner
Sanzenbacher was a nice story coming out of training camp and the Sanzenwaddle references were fun, but since that time and early in the season he has been inconsistent. Sanzenbacher at one point before he was lost on the bench lead the NFL in drops. If he cannot consistently catch the ball he provides very little as he has no size or speed.
2012 Outlook: Gone
I saved the best for last. Hurd was a valuable special teams player and showed enough as a receiver to be brought back because of his 6'3" size. That was before he embarrassed the team by being arrested on federal drug charges. I know that Angelo could not really be expected to know that this was going on, but it still was more embarrassing to the team than Roy's quotes. Add this to a list of Angelo 2012 failures.
2012 Outlook: Witness Protection
Moving into 2012
The Bears move int the off-season with the following depth chart.
3. Earl Bennet
4. Johnny Knox
5. Devin Hester
The Bears need a #1 WR and a #2 WR and a big bodied WR that can play on special teams.
This means that they will need to both use the draft and free agency to address the position. What concerns me about this is that if Jerry Angelo is around he has proven to be an incompetent evaluator of WR talent and it may be a risk.
Free Agent WRs
1. Vincent Jackson, Franchised or Resigned
2. Dwayne Bowe, Franchised or Resigned
3. Mike Wallace, Restricted and Will get a 1st and 3rd tender.
4. Marques Colston, Injuries
5. Stevie Johnson, Franchised or Resigned
6. DeSean Jackson, Size and Attitude Problems
7. Reggie Wayne, Age and Injuries
8. Pierre Garcon, solid #2 WR.
9. Mario Manningham, solid #2 with good hands.
10.Wes Welker, a slot guy with NO size.
1. Justin Blackmon [Oklahoma St] 6'1" 210lbs.
2. Michael Floyd [Notre Dame] 6'3" 225lbs.
3. Kendall Wright [Baylor] 5'10" 200lbs.
4. Alshon Jeffery [South Carolina] 6'4" 232lbs.
5. Dwight Jones [North Carolina] 6'4" 225lbs.
6. Marvin McNutt [Iowa] 6'2" 215lbs.
7. Tommy Streeter [Miami] 6'5" 215lbs.
8. Ruben Randle [LSU] 6'3" 220lbs.
9. Nick Toon [Wisconsin] 6'2" 220lbs.
10. Jordan White [Central Michigan] 6' 215lbs.