Bears Draft Preview: Open competition behind elite receivers

Bears Draft Preview: Open competition behind elite receivers
April 29, 2014, 9:00 am
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CSNChicago.com Bears Insider John "Moon" Mullin will be going position-by-position as the Bears approach the 2014 Draft, taking a look at what the Bears have, what they might need and what draft day could have in store. Next, he takes a look at wide receiver/tight end.

Bears pre-draft situation

Marquess Wilson from the 2013 draft and veteran free agent Joshua Morgan are the lead contenders for the No. 3 wide receiver spot vacated with the release of Earl Bennett. Domenik Hixon is on his fourth team but will play special teams, and the Bears thought enough of Josh Bellamy to claim him off waivers from Washington. Bellamy also has contributed on special teams.

The Bears got 65 receptions, 759 yards and five touchdowns from Martellus Bennett without really running the offense through him much of the time. Tackle Eben Britton served as a second tight end in a jumbo package and started one game, but Britton was in play partly because of early season shoulder concerns with Bennett.

While not a marquee signing, the Bears signed journeyman tight end Matthew Mulligan, who started four games for New England. Mulligan joins Bennett, Zach Miller, Fendi Onobun and Dante Rosario in a crowded depth chart that will see some intense competition through the offseason.

[MORE: Bears Draft Preview: QB situation fluid after Cutler at No. 1]

Bears draft priority: low

Another couple of position groups where the Bears will take a gem that falls to them, particularly if it is someone who can be a game-day special teamer.

General manager Phil Emery took Evan Rodriguez in the 2012 fourth round, and Kellen Davis was a fifth-rounder in 2008. Neither distinguished themselves. Emery is not going to spend even a mid-round pick on a position already set with its starter.

Emery has taken a wideout in each of his first two Bears drafts, trading up for Alshon Jeffery in 2012 and adding Wilson with the 236th pick in the 2013 selection process. With Wilson and the offseason signings, the Bears project to go to camp with enough to build the depth chart behind Jeffery and Brandon Marshall.

[RELATED: Bears Draft Preview: The quest for Matt Forte's backup]

Keep an eye on ...

— Ryan Lankford, Illinois. Speed receiver with returner capabilities.

— Tellef Lundevall, Brown. Halas Hall workout, 6-foot-4, seventh all-time Ivy League pass catcher.

— Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin. Undersized tight end with time in nearly every TE role.