We’re just about a little over a week out from the start of mini-camp down at Halas Hall. With that in mind I’m starting my mini-camp preview of each position headed into camp. There won’t be a lot that can be learned in the short few days of this mini camp, but there will be enough learned to know further what needs to be tackled heading into the draft.
The first and foremost thing we’re going to focus on is the wide receiver position. Which at this point may not have enough players to really field much of an offense during the first mini-camp. Rashied Davis, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, are the only legitimate WRs on the roster that will likely be around past training camp.
Devin Hester: Not really much needs to see about one of the most popular players on the team right now. Hester started slow but came on strong at WR last year. He needs continue to improve and develop in all aspects of his game. It’s doubtful that Hester will ever be much more than a #2 receiver but he is always a threat to score when he has the ball in his hands. He is equally deadly going deep and off-sets the idea of drafting a WR who is in his same mold. Thereby likely taking the need of drafting Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin or Darius Heyward-Bey.
The Bears need a more complete receiver than what the previous three aforementioned draft prospects offer so it would make more sense to target such prospects in the draft that have more size, ability, and the cliche induced skill set. Hester makes for a nice cheap replacement for Bernard Berrian. While not yet as complete as Berrian he is the deep threat and play maker threat the Berrian became. Hester should develop along the same lines as Berrian did and be successful moving forward.
Rashied Davis Somehow someway on an annual basis Davis manages to make enough plays to keep his spot on an NFL roster. As maddeningly inconsistent as he is, he does just enough to keep a job. He’ll likely contribute the same this year as he did last year. Certainly you don’t want him in his current role as the number two man on this team, or even the number three man, but he always seems to make one play a year that helps put this team into position for a win. It’s remarkable that he literally has made a career out of one play a year helping the Bears win in a big game situation. Whether it’s snagging a crucial third down catch to put the Bears in position to win in overtime against the Seahawks in 2006 during the playoffs or catching a 6-yard touchdown pass to help the Bears comeback against the hapless Lions Davis always does something to help keep his job.
What is there to expect out of Davis this mini-camp? Not much other than reason to keep him on the roster. You’d like to say better consistency, but that doesn’t appear likely to happen as he hasn’t ever been consistent. Hope for the best and we’ll see what happens.
Earl Bennettis an anomaly he was drafted in the third round of 2008 7th overall in that round. He didn’t even play a down or catch a pass and we’re supposed to accept the premise that he’ll be ready to step in and be a contributor as one of the top four or five receivers on day one. For the purpose of this mini-camp Bennett will be the third WR on the roster. It’s a scary thought given that all we know about Bennett is stories from training camp. Bennett is not very tall, not very fast and not overly consistent from what we here. He is likely one of those make or break prospects that could lead to Jerry Angelo’s demise. Along the same lines as Dan Bazuin from 2007.
So really there is a need to draft one or two WRs possibly on day one of the draft. Mini-Camp is where we’ll have some pretty scary horror stories from that prospective of it will hurt both Orton’s progression and Hanie’s as well. There are other receivers on the roster that will be around to fill out the depth chart, but none really seem to likely stick around on the active 53-man roster. Our hope here at MMI is that the receivers do in fact perform so horribly that Angelo actually address the situation in the draft, arguably even before the draft.
This will be one to monitor for updates if the Bears sign someone before the start of mini-camp.
Tags: 2009 NFL, 2009 NFL Draft, Caleb Hanie, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bears Draft, Chicago Sports, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, football, Jeremy Maclin, Kyle Orton, Monsters of the Midway, NFL, NFL Draft, NFL Scouting Combine, Percy Harvin, Rashied Davis, Rod Marinelli