Wednesday, April 27, 2011Posted: 2:00 AM
By John Mullin
Fourth in a series
The Bears have not had significant consistent success addressing receiver positions early in drafts, and GM Jerry Angelo is on record as disliking the bust factor that plagues too many high picks at receiver.
A bigger, veteran wide receiver was going to be a priority in free agency, and that still may be once a resolution is reached in the owners-players impasse. Braylon Edwards, Roy Williams and several others may yet wind up in a Bears uniform, although dropping someone into the Mike Martz offense too close to the season may prove problematic.
The best Bears receiver pick did come via a No. 1, in the person of Greg Olsen, a wideout in a tight-end body and who already ranks 17th in franchise receptions (194) and 13th in receiving TDs (20). Earl Bennett in the 2008 third round is playing to a solid level and Johnny Knox from the 2009 fifth round was a steal. Devin Hester remains serviceable but his trajectory can no longer be seen as winding up at the level of elite receiver.
Need: The Bears had five players with 40 or more catches last season but none with more than the 51 of Knox and Matt Forte. It is a group that works but needs another level up.
The 2011 draft
Just like running back, there is a premium talent (in this case, two) and then. No tight ends are projected for round one and the wide receivers project to be solid but generally unspectacular.
There may be a long wait from after the first two receivers are selected and when a thirds name is called, more likely on day two. If you want a receiver, you can get one, said ESPNs Todd McShay.
Few expect an elite receiver with immediate impact unless someone is willing to get into the top 10, which is the draft range in which the top two talents should go. Both A.J. Green and Julio Jones were freshman starters in the SEC and both are projected to be freshman starters in the NFL as well.
The Bears had a private workout with Austin Pettis of Boise State, projected as a mid-round pick but at 6-2, 205 pounds with a quality program, Pettis caught 229 passes in a four-year career.
The Best Bets:
1. A.J. Green, Georgia If you were to design a wideout, this is him. Green is 6-3, 211 pounds, runs 4.49 in the 40, and consistently caught 50 passes while averaging 15.8 yards per catch.
2. Julio Jones, Alabama The only debate is whether Jones or Green goes first, but both will be gone before the middle of the first round. Jones is slightly bigger than Green but the margin between the two is very slight.
3. Randall Cobb, Kentucky Wes Bunting of National Football Post considers Cobb a safe pick, which is prized at a position of draft risk. A slightly faster version of Earl Bennett who is a full-service receiver with the ability to pass and run for a Wildcat team.
John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.