Should the Chicago Bears draft Darnell Mooney from Tulane?
The Chicago Bears receiving core is lacking a true deep speed threat. After releasing Taylor Gabriel they still have not necessarily replaced him. Darnell Mooney from Tulane presents an interesting option.
He got on the field as a true freshman and has averaged 16.7 yards per reception in his college career. He is going to be a later round pick from a smaller school, but could Mooney be the perfect fit to replace Gabriel?
His measurable chart below exactly what you are getting from Darnell Mooney. He is shorter and smaller, but he sure is fast and explosive. You certainly have to think of a player such as Taylor Gabriel when you look at those measurements. Does he have the video to match?
Darnell Mooney does a really good job of beating press coverage with quickness. His first step is instant and can usually surprise cornerbacks. His initial quickness gives him a chance to cut inside and outside. When he cuts outside, with his speed, he can take the top off, but he also has the speed to take a slant all the way, too. He does a really sound job of tracking the football and is a leaper with the ball in the air, as shown by his 37″ vertical jump.
He can beat press with quickness, but when bigger, longer cornerbacks get their hands on him, they can re-direct him. He is lightning quick, but can almost too jittery in his releases at times as well. Drops are not a huge concern but have shown at times.
However, one of the more interesting questions with Mooney is his lack of special teams production. He is electric with the ball in his hands and was a prime time receiver for Tulane. Most colleges make the most of their athletes and put them at returner as well. However, Tulane kept him off of special teams. Perhaps with his size and usage on offense they did not want to wear him down.
Unfortunately, Taylor Gabriel was not invited to the combine so we do not have his athletic tests. However, he is listed at 5’8″, 167 pounds. That is a similar size, and with Mooney running under 4.4 in the 40-yard dash, you can assume a similar speed. Here is a list of players below 180 pounds to run under 4.43 in the 40. There are 18 similar players to Mooney, in size and speed, including Tarik Cohen.
Travis Benjamin and Paul Richardson stand out as great on the field comparisons. Richardson is a bit taller, but the two are thinner, and can win the jump ball down the field. Benjamin shows a similar quickness in his releases off of the football and won in similar manners down the field.
Nonetheless, these comparisons give you an idea of what type of player you are dealing with. A player who can stretch the field with speed, but lacks a complete skill set due to size.
Fit with Chicago Bears
The basis of the article was that he would be great to fill the void of Taylor Gabriel. Many fans will want a second-round pick on a speedster, but the Bears have plenty of needs on the roster. Would it be a surprise if the Bears replaced Gabriel with a day 3 pick? This would be the classic Ryan Pace small-school pick.
Mooney is going to be a late-round find for some team. He would fit the hole on the roster. Will the Chicago Bears take Darnell Mooney?