Training camp is open! And there’s a certain buzz surrounding the Chicago Bears as they prepare for the 2021 season with workouts and practices at Halas Hall. So with camp in full swing and the preseason approaching, let’s take an early look at who’s on the team right now.
Allen Robinson II
• 2020 stats: 102 catches (151 targets), 1,250 yards, 6 TD in 16 games; 88.3 grade from Pro Football Focus (5th of 127 WRs)
• 2020 stats: 61 catches (98 targets), 631 yards, 4 TD in 16 games; 68.7 grade from PFF (69th of 127 WRs)
The New Guys:
Watching the Bears constantly re-shaping the receivers room feels like being witness to one of those slow-turning semi-trucks making a right turn at a city intersection. Gone is Anthony Miller and Cordarrelle Patterson. In are Dazz Newsome, Marquise Goodwin, and Damiere Byrd.
Don’t Forget About:
Here’s a list of receivers currently on Chicago’s training camp roster: Rodney Adams, Justin Hardy, Thomas Ives, Jon’Vea Johnson, Chris Lacy, Jester Weah.
What to Watch For:
Because I know what the Bears have in Robinson and already feel good about Mooney, I’ll be tracking Javon Wims and Riley Ridley this summer, seeing if either can emerge from the shadows.
Wims, 26, was a sixth-round pick in 2018 who many thought was a steal. He has yet to play to his potential. And what’s worse is that Wims is more known for a punch and a drop than he is for anything else right now. Receivers are known for their hands, but it’s not supposed to be like this. Ridley, 25, was a fourth-round pick one year after Chicago chose Wims. There were thoughts this was a steal, too, but it hasn’t shown to be true just yet. In part, because Ridley has played just 149 offensive snaps over the last two seasons.
We Really Like:
Darnell Mooney brings the juice and has the potential to be the late-round draft find who other GMs are kicking themselves over not drafting.
We Might Be Worried About:
I like the makeup of this group, but the depth is questionable. If anything were to keep Robinson or Mooney out for an extended period of time, I’m curious as to how the Bears would fill that void. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
I’m wary of making predictions, mostly because I don’t want to end up on that Freezing Cold Takes Exposed Twitter account. But I predict Allen Robinson II comes away with his third consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season. And for good measure, his second straight 100-catch campaign in Chicago. One more for good measure? Sure, I’m in a mood. In December, we’ll start hearing about the Bears having an interest in extending Robinson. Because if push comes to shove, Justin Fields will take over at some point. And if Fields and Robinson form a bond, it’ll be tough to break them up. How serious conversations will be is out of my realm of expertise. But if the Fields-Robinson connection becomes a thing, you better believe there will be chatter about bringing Robinson back again.