5 comparisons to Darnell Mooney rookie season with Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Overall Darnell Mooney had a very successful rookie season. It is even more impressive when you put into perspective his draft slot. It is not like gems do not pop up from anywhere, but rookies drafted on day three of the NFL Draft are prone to fewer opportunities, specifically in their rookie season as they adjust. So, for the Chicago Bears to get over 600 yards from their fifth-round rookie is pretty rare territory.

With that in mind, who are some of the other similar players who have been able to catch on like that as rookies. Maybe they did not hit 1,000 receiving yards, but they were not drafted in round one or two and made a legitimate impact right away. These five players could paint a picture for Darnell Mooney as they had similar rookie seasons.

5. Robby Anderson

Robby Anderson is even a step further than Darnell Mooney in that he was a UDFA. Still, despite not being drafted Anderson not only made the New York Jets, but he contributed to the team with 587 yards. Take a look at the comparison to Darnell Mooney below.

Totals Table
1Robby Anderson20162016442587214.052
2Darnell Mooney20202020661631410.353

Robby Anderson is a good comparison for Darnell Mooney because both win in the same ways. Anderson is taller than Mooney, but both have slender frames that prevent them from dominating in contested catches and beating the press to get open over the middle.

However, both have elite speed and can change speeds in their routes which causes them to get open deep. From there, both are playmakers. Anderson has been a hit in the NFL and is currently the number two wideout in Carolina beside D.J. Moore. Seeing Mooney turn into a deep threat like Anderson would be a nice win.

4. John Brown

John Brown went a bit earlier than Mooney as he was drafted in late round three. However, this is another player where you can see the stylistic comparison and you cannot be shocked that the comparison is thereafter one year.

Totals Table
1John Brown2014201451648696514.5
2Darnell Mooney2020202061661631410.3

In this case, Brown did have more yards on fewer catches. It has to be discussed because Anderson also had more yards per catch. It is easy to say that Carson Palmer helped John Brown more than Nick Foles, but Anderson was a bit more productive on a per-catch basis as well.

Mooney was able to consistently get open, and 98 targets can speak to that. However, on the flip side, you have to hope that his efficiency does take a step forward next year. The change in QB can at least help us identify the problem.

Chicago Bears
Darius Slayton, New York Giants. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

3. Darius Slayton

This one makes a lot of sense as well whether you view them statistically or stylistically. Even more than Anderson and Brown we see that Slayton broke out from a fifth-round pick. Check out their stats below.

Totals Table
1Darnell Mooney2020202061661631410.353
2Darius Slayton2019201961448740815.455

Darius Slayton is a bit taller than Mooney but both have a slender frame as well. Once again, both are winning deep down the field with their ball tracking ability and speed.

Slayton is now set to enter his third year with the New York Giants. However, while they do like his play-making ability, they would like to have an Allen Robinson-type player to line up across from him in Kenny Golladay. That is where he can be utilized best and his deep presence opens the middle for Golladay and Robinson.

2. Kenny Stills

The big difference below would be the yards per catch. However, with very similar yardage totals as rookies, they do have to be mentioned together. Also, like Mooney, Kenny Stills was drafted in round five.

Totals Table
1Darnell Mooney2020202061661631410.3
2Kenny Stills2013201361632641520.0

This is a player like Slayton, Anderson, and John Brown, They are all complementary pieces that the offense does not center around. However, they all can take the top off and create big plays that flip the field and put points on the scoreboard. That is a fair representation of what Mooney did as a rookie and what he can do moving forward. Big splashes are his game, and if he can get more consistent, it could be more.

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1. Stefon Diggs

Below is what would happen if he finds a way to iron out his game. In most cases, he would be that Anderson, or Brown type of compliment. However, if Darnell Mooney can hit his peak, we already saw a fifth-round pick in Stefon Diggs thrive.

Totals Table
1Stefon Diggs2015201581352720413.8
2Darnell Mooney2020202061661631410.3

Diggs did not have much more success in his rookie year before breaking out with 84 catches for 903 yards the following season.

Diggs is certainly the ceiling but is a realistic view for a fifth-round pick to strive to. Mooney is behind Diggs as a rookie, but he is in the same ballpark after one year, and that is pretty good.