Sure, it was the most obvious thing that needed to be done after last season, but credit Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace for overhauling a crew of wide receivers that desperately needed a makeover.
But even though that part of the depth chart is essentially receiving a clean slate entering the 2018 season, there is still a sense of unease regarding the new-look Bears in this particular area.
Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report circles the Bears’ wide receiver corps as the team’s “fatal flaw” entering the 2018 season. That’s a bold stance considering the sweeping changes that have occurred throughout the position group. But let’s dive into some of Davenport’s pertinent concerns for the sake of this post and the depth chart moving forward.
After a considerable face-lift, the Bears’ receiving corps certainly has its fair share of upside, but what it doesn’t have is a ton of proven commodities.
Anthony Miller arrives as a second-round pick who earned All-American status at Memphis after turning himself into a self-made star, but is unproven at the NFL level. Something similar can be said about fellow 2018 NFL Draft class member Javon Wims, who looks the part with NFL size and speed … but is a sixth-round flier.
Free agent Taylor Gabriel signed on to be the team’s speed threat in the Zebra role in Matt Nagy’s offense. Gabriel figures to be some kind of X-factor in the Bears offense because he can line up inside and out, can be used on jet sweeps and other speed runs, and has often been at is best when running vertical routes beyond the secondary. Unfortunately, Gabriel has yet to find consistency in his NFL career, which is one reason he is already on his third NFL team.
There is even concern regarding the team’s most proven receiver, which tells you everything you know about why Davenport sees this group as a fatal flaw. Allen Robinson signed as a free agent to be the big-play target Mitch Trubisky needs to make this offense go. And while he earned WR1 status with a breakout season in 2015, his numbers took a step back in 2016, and his 2017 season was limited to three snaps because of an ACL injury. Robinson still needs to get out on the field and prove it all over again.
To be clear, this isn’t the same old Bears receiving corps. There is talent. There is upside. There is talented upside. There are reasons to worry if you’re the type who likes to worry. But there are also reasons to be optimistic about what could be coming in the pipeline.