7th round (#221) – WR Mack Hollins, NC (6’4 | 221 | 4.53)
The Bears added some deep speed in free agency with the signing of Markus Wheaton, but Hollins would give them a long-term deep option with the elite size that Wheaton lacks. Big things were expected of Hollins in 2016 but a broken collarbone that required surgery limited him to just seven games.
Even with his lack of playing time and production (16 rec, 309 yards, 4 TDs) last season, Hollins is being projected way too low by most draft sites. Plenty of sites have him being undrafted, but guys that are 6’4, 221 pounds with 4.53 speed and proven deep skills don’t come around that often.
In addition to Hollins’ deep threat potential, the former walk-on was a special teams captain at UNC for four straight years. Worst case, he’s going to be an above-average asset in kick and punt coverage, which to me locks up his status as a draftable prospect.
The fact that Hollins has played less than half the offensive snaps during his college career is troubling, but when he played he was productive. Hollins scored 20 touchdowns over the last three seasons on just 71 catches with an impressive average of 20.6 yards per catch.
He gets to top speed very quickly with long, smooth strides and seems to have an extra gear when chasing down deep throws. Hollins has shown the ability to run after the catch as well with that same extra gear kicking in with the ball in his hands in the open field. He’s a dangerous home run option, which the Bears don’t have on their roster right now.
While Hollins excels as a deep threat, he doesn’t have much experience with the rest of the route tree. He’s not going to contribute much on underneath routes and has had issues with drops at times throughout his career. With a little coaching, Hollins has the talent to become a more adept route runner but already has the go route down which is where he’ll provide the most value for the Bears in the short-term.
Hollins ability to take the top of defenses, his size to potentially be a red zone threat, and his above-average special teams contributions should make him a good value this late in the draft. He would also give Bears new quarterback, Mike Glennon, a legitimate down field threat that they have lacked the last few seasons.