Setting expectations for Darnell Mooney with Chicago Bears in 2021

Chicago Bears (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Earlier we looked at five players who had rookie seasons that looked similar to the rookie season that Darnell Mooney produced. It was a good exercise, and gave us players that not only fit statistically, but also made a lot of sense stylistically. If the Chicago Bears saw a career arch for Mooney similar to Stefon Diggs, John Brown, Robby Anderson, Kenny Stills, or Darius Slayton they would probably be happy with the outcome, especially considering the draft cost.

So, considering these five had similar draft pedigree, skill sets, and rookie seasons, it is worth wondering what the next step would be. If Mooney wanted to keep pace with these receivers into his second year, two would be able to keep up.

Below we compare the stats of each of the five receivers in their second NFL season. You can see their full stats and their per game stats.

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We know that Stefon Diggs is the ceiling and would be the best outcome for someone on a trajectory such as Mooney. Still, it is interesting to note that we can see a bit of a rough guide for where Mooney could be next season from a production stand point.

The other WRs below Diggs produced between 50-65 catches for 751-1,0003 yards. Per game that comes out to 3.1-4.3 catches and 46.9-66.9 yards per game.

On average, including all five you would see about 65 catches, for 906 yards. Mooney had 61 catches for 661 yards last year. So, the big difference is not the catches, but the yards.

This makes a lot of sense. Last year Mooney was top 5 in unrealized air yards, meaning that he had the most deep target yards that did not turn into receiving yards. His QBs just did not hit him.

So, the idea would be that while his volume was high last year and will not change, the big difference is that he will catch a few more of the open passes that could not fall to him deep down the field. If that is to happen, we could easily 300 yards more despite only a few more catches.

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For what it is worth, ESPN has Darnell Mooney project for 63 catches which would result in 777 yards, so they do it similarly that more yards will come on similar catches.

If you are going to look for realistic expectations for Darnell it is 60-70 catches resulting in 700-900 yards.