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Draft Will Hold Receiver Answer for Bears

The perceived drastic need for free agent wide receiver assistance by the Bears is silly considering they can get what they need in the draft to complement their No. 1 receiver, Darnell Mooney.

The great hysteria about how few receivers the Bears have on their roster and the need to sign another higher priced unrestricted free agent is nothing more than misdirected energy over nothing.

The Bears have their No. 1 receiver and do need to add more receivers. They will no doubt draft one or two, most likely one on Day 2 or possibly even two then.

They already have Darnell Mooney, Byron Pringle, Equanimeous St. Brown, Dazz Newsome, Nsimba Webster and Isaiah Coulter under contract now.

They need one good receiver. That's what the draft will supply and he'll need to play extensively, but that's why they are drafting him. He won't be brought to Chicago to watch someone else catch passes.

The Bears have nowhere near the number of receivers they will take to training camp but this doesn't mean they fill out their list with the highest-priced free agents they can find available.

They usually take 11 to 13 receivers to training camp, but only six or seven will make the roster anyway. Sometimes they've carried five.

The rest of the players from the 13 coming to camp are just camp bodies who take up some reps, challenge for the bottom of the roster or practice squad and then get thanked by the coaching staff for their efforts before receiving a hand shake as a parting gift.

Only one time in the last decade have the Bears had more than four receivers make 20 catches or more and that was 2015 when injuries forced a group of lower quality players onto the field. Alshon Jeffery had only 54 receptions and led the team. Eddie Royal (37), Marquess Wilson (28) and Marc Mariani (22) were the others. For posterity's sake, Josh Bellamy also made 19 catches that year. But no one is saying, "ah for the good old days of 2015 when six receivers had between 19 and 54 catches."

Most of the time three receivers and maybe four will get the bulk of the catches. Last year was a bad year for Allen Robinson and his 38 catches was second among wide receivers. Only 26 cathes were made by Damiere Byrd and just 20 by Marquise Goodwin.

It's not too difficult to come up with a street free agent or two at minimium NFL wage who is capable of catching 20 passes. The Bears already might have those guys in St. Brown or Newsome.

Now, it's easy to look at the Bears and consider them the exception to the rule as a team that doesn't understand the passing game. So maybe those totals don't mean much?

Remember Muhsin Muhammad's quote to Sports Illustrated: "Chicago is where receivers go to die."

Ah, but no one is going to debate Green Bay's ability to pass, and even with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback and big passing yardage all the time, the Packers haven't had more than four wide receivers hit 36 catches in a year for the last decade.

Since Matt LaFleur became coach, the Packers have had no more than three wide receivers reach 33 catches in a season. And the new Bears offensive coordinator is a former Packers coach.

When you only need three or four receivers capable of making a couple dozen catches a year, there isn't a drastic need to rush out and pad the ranks of wide receivers.

The Bears need to draft a few, add some street free agent types and undrafted free agents to fill out their camp roster and be done with it.

The resistance to Darnell Mooney as the top receiver is rather ridiculous and it's probably the main reason for the demand they sign more expensive free agent recievers.

Mooney made more receptions as a rookie than any wide receiver in team history with 61. He did this despite a receiver corps that had Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Javon Wims, Cordarrelle Patterson and Riley Ridley all wanting the ball or just to get on the field. 

Then he led in receptions with 81 last year when he couldn't tell who the quarterback would be from week to week with five changes at starter and a rookie making most of the throws.

Last year 17 NFL teams didn't have a top wide receiver who caught as many passes as Mooney, or more than half the league.

The Bears have their No. 1 and they need to make sure they have a No. 2 capable of being a No. 1 if something happened to Mooney. Pringle has already been that guy as he had 42 catches last year and didn't begin to show drastic improvement until the second half of last season. Certainly he could be a No. 3.  As history has shown, all he needs to be a No. 3 receiver is between 35 and 50 catches.

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So receiving isn't the area the Bears need to sweat in the remainder of free agency.

They'll be fine if they just add one good one in the draft and some spare parts. They really need a second tight end as much as they need more wide receivers.

Free Agency 

Top Wide Receiver Pool

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Jarvis Landry

Will Fuller

T.Y. Hilton

Cole Beasley

Emmanuel Sanders

A.J. Green

Keelan Cole

Allen Hurns

Albert Wilson

Sammy Watkins

DeSean Jackson

Auden Tate

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