Finding NFL comparisons for Chicago Bears WR Darnell Mooney

Who are the NFL players most comparable to draft pick Darnell Mooney?

We have been looking at each of the Chicago Bears drafts picks to find some of the most comparable players to each one. We have found some pretty interesting comparisons when sorting through athletic, physical, production, and draft position history.

Cole Kmet had some strong comparable including Martellus Bennett. We found Kyle Fuller to be a potential career outcome for Jaylon Johnson, showing that Ryan Pace may have a type on the outside. We even found some upside in Trevis Gipson, as well as likely depth options.

So, how about Darnell Mooney.

Mooney checked in at 5’10”, 176 pounds, We looked into players under 6′ and under 180 pounds. With a 4.38 40-yard dash he posted a 95 speed-score. We looked at speed scores from 90-100. He also had a 37″ vertical, 124″ broad, and  9 bench press. His explosion score came to 170. We looked at any from 160-180 in explosion.

The list came to 13 names. From the most productive outcome:

DeSean Jackson, Dennis Northcutt, Travis Benjamin, Tarik Cohen, Roscoe Parrish, Paul Richardson, Samie Parker, Titus Young, De’Anthony Thomas, Isaiah McKenzie, Trindon Holiday. 

You can see from Tarik Cohen that the explosion and speed are clearly what Pace values in both. Still, these are completely different players. Mooney is a deep threat wide receiver, who lines up on the outside primarily.

Fortunately for wide receiver, we have production metrics. College Dominator, yards per target, target share, and breakout age are some of the most predictive college metrics to churning out NFL success. This is no surprise as players who succeed early in college, are the heart of their offense, are making big plays despite all of the attention are good players. Nonetheless, we can sort these players by their college production.

Mooney had a 37% Dominator rating and a 28% target share. He averaged 17.8 yards per catch and broke out at age 18.9.

Of this list above, the only players to post above 25% in each, with over 12 yards per catch and a breakout age under 20 are:

DeSean Jackson, Dennis Northcutt, Travis Benjamin, Paul Richardson, and Samie Parker

It is worth noting that Jackson was much more dynamic on special teams, and he was an earlier pick. Nonetheless, the similar speed, college production at a young age, and explosion is intriguing and presents a high ceiling.

Parker presents the floor as he produced well in a college offense, but failed to cap 600 yards in the NFL. Parker was a fourth-round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Northcutt had a long career as a complementary deep threat wide receiver, and is a strong comparison.

However, the best two names that stand out as likely NFL comparisons for Darnell Mooney are Travis Benjamin and Paul Richardson. The two have had similar careers as complimentary deep threats who add splash plays into the mix. They can both win with the ball in the air, but with their slender frame, struggle to win over the middle or off of press. Still, if you give them a runway, it is take off.

Here is NFL.com draft profile on Travis Benjamin.

He is undersized but shows speed to get past safeties, and the route-running savvy to outwork corners and separate from them to make plays on the ball. He will be somewhat limited in his transition to the NFL due to his size, but there are many receivers of his stature that have shown the ability to overcome this at the next level. Benjamin has third- to fourth-round value due to his speed,

Here is what NFL.com had to say about Paul Richardson coming out

Very lean, narrow-framed, measurables will go a long way in determining, his success at the next level and is dependent upon his ability to make plays in the vertical passing game. Has a boom-or-bust element. Size and durability are question marks.

And lastly here is Darnell Mooney

Limber and explosive, he has the makings of a mismatch slot with the ability to stretch and attack speed-deficient coverages. He’s sudden underneath and should fit right in, but he won’t be able to outrun NFL coverage and needs to tighten up the routes. He definitely has a puncher’s shot at finding an NFL home, but the slender frame is big challenge to overcome.

Slender, limber, undersized show they all have similar questions, but explosive, vertical, and plays on the ball come from all as well. They all were drafted in a similar range, all have the same athletic traits and all have the same production in college. This is the type of player the Bears should be looking for from Darnell Mooney.