Kyler Murray's Cousin Has Top-End Speed Bears Need
The abundance of wide receiver talent in this year's draft makes it possible for the Bears to be picking in Round 2 and still come away with the speed receiver they feel they need to complete their corps.
The talent glut can let them find someone who plays outside or can move to the slot and can run an Olympic class time. The receiver ideally would be able to go up for a deep ball, and it has to be someone they can choose without being forced to pay a ransom in draft picks to climb up for into Round 1.
The ideal Bears pick in Round 2 would have been Denzel Mims of Baylor, who is tall at 6-foot-3, but isn't necessarily an X receiver like Allen Robinson. Unfortunately for the Bears, Mims probably vaulted himself into the later first round with his combine effort—the third-fastest 40-yard time at 4.35 and fastest three-cone drill among receivers at 6.66 seconds. The next fastest receiver time in the cone was well in back of him, .28 seconds slower.
Still, there are several receivers who turned in outstanding 40 times or three-cone drill times and have been productive in their careers.
Texas receiver Devin Duvernay is one of the most proven of this group. Making 106 receptions for 1,386 yards and averaging 13.1 yards a catch in a college season is enough to show you're more than the track athlete some thought Duvernay was before his senior year.
Duvernay, who is a cousin to Kyler Murray, won the Texas Class 6A 100 meters in high school track in 10.27 seconds and in college made a huge jump in football production as a senior after switching to the slot.
"The position change helped," Duvernay told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine. "We were in a slot-heavy, a slot-friendly offense. I would say that contributed and just being a better player, maturing and developing and being a better receiver."
The variety involved with playing the slot appeals to him.
"You can go deep, you can go short, you can get in the screen game," Duvernay said. "You can be the backfield, things like that. I like doing things that can get the ball in your hands and make play, run after the catch."
His strength is something the Bears couldn't get in their offense the last two years.
"Running after the catch," Duvernay said.
At 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, Duvernay is built more like a running back than the average wide receiver and it's not hard to see why Duvernay was a fan as a youth of one particular player.
"I was a real big Steve Smith fan growing up," he said.
He's actually a bit bigger than Smith, who played at 5-9, 195.
The role he would fill if drafted by the Bears might be ideal for him. Gabriel wasn't just a slot receiver. He played both outside and in the slot.
The Bears' goal with their receiver positions is to create matchup problems and someone with Duvernay's raw speed and hands can take advantage of matchups all over the field running routes, or even running a jet sweep.
The best match for the Bears and Duvernay is he isn't projected to go until later in the draft. Sports Illustrated's mock draft doesn't have Duvernay being drafted in the first three rounds and CBSsports.com has him going early in Round 3.
Moving down or using a later pick to select a speed receiver would be an ideal situation for the Bears in this draft when they have four glaring needs—receiver, guard, cornerback and safety—but only two picks in the first 139, both in the second round.