Comparing Chicago Bears WR Darnell Mooney to 2020 WR draft class

Chicago Bears - Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2020 wide receiver draft class is going to go down as a special one. While there is plenty of top-end talent to get excited over, Darnell Mooney has to be recognized as the sleeper of the draft class right now. Can you believe that Mooney was the 22nd wide receiver drafted in his own class?

If many teams had a do-over, they surely would re-evaluate. So, knowing what we know now, where would Darnell Mooney rank amongst these wide receivers.

Below you can see the list of wide receivers selected in order, so we can see who exactly went over Darnell Mooney.

Query Results Table
1Henry Ruggs III211-1241312432645217.38234.860.5%10.51
2Jerry Jeudy211-15516141135285616.46353.546.0%7.58
3CeeDee Lamb211-17816141117493512.64558.466.7%8.42
4Jalen Reagor211-2141111543139612.77136.057.4%7.33
5Justin Jefferson211-2212161412588140015.91787.570.4%11.20
6Brandon Aiyuk221-2561211966074812.47562.362.5%7.79
7Tee Higgins212-33616141086790813.55656.862.0%8.41
8Michael Pittman Jr.232-344138614050312.58138.765.6%8.25
9Laviska Shenault Jr.222-4251412795860010.34542.973.4%7.59
10KJ Hamler212-463134563038112.70329.353.6%6.80
11Chase Claypool222-4971661096287314.08954.656.9%8.01
12Van Jefferson242-571160311922011.58113.861.3%7.10
13Denzel Mims232-59298442335715.52039.752.3%8.11
14Lynn Bowden Jr.233-80210437282117.54021.175.7%5.70
15Bryan Edwards223-812123151119317.55116.173.3%12.87
16Devin Duvernay233-924163262020110.05012.676.9%7.73
17Gabriel Davis214-12861611623559917.11737.456.5%9.66
18Tyler Johnson225-1612143171216914.08212.170.6%9.94
19Collin Johnson235-1652140311827215.11219.458.1%8.77
20Quintez Cephus225-1663132352034917.45226.857.1%9.97
21John Hightower245-1681134291016716.70012.834.5%5.76
22Darnell Mooney235-1736169986163110.34439.462.2%6.44
23Donovan Peoples-Jones216-1872122201430421.71225.370.0%15.20
24Quez Watkins226-20016013710615.14117.753.8%8.15
25Freddie Swain226-2142161211315912.2329.961.9%7.57

Raw Stats

Of the 25 receivers who had more than 10 targets, Mooney ranks fifth In the draft class in targets. He was behind Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, Tee Higgins, and Chase Claypool. The same group is ahead of him in receptions, but Mooney did fall to 7th in yards. Those four, plus Brandon Aiyuk and Jerry Jeudy rank ahead of Mooney in yards as a rookie.

Add in Laviska Shenault, and Mooney ranks 8th in touchdowns amongst this group.


Some of the issues come with his efficiency. You can see that three players had more TDs and yards despite fewer catches and targets. Mooney actually ranked 24th in yards per reception and yards per target of this group.

Some of that comes down to quarterback play, but Mooney needs to take more advantage of his catches.

Advanced Stats

Using PFF, we looked at some advanced stats including his yards per route run. Again, he ran a lot of routes, but others were more efficient per route. He ranked 20th with 1.2 yards per route run. That is behind names such as Gabriel Davis, Jalen Reagor, and Henry Ruggs.

Some of this is quarterback missing him, but he also ranks 18th in yards after the catch per receptions. We noticed this with his lack of special teams usage that he is much more linear and straight line and is not much of a lateral mover who can break ankles with quick cuts.

For what it is worth, he did rank 4th in drop rate and of all seven had the highest drop rate. Names higher than him include Bryan Edwards, Jalen Reagor, and Freddie Swain.

Lastly, he was 4-14 on contested catches, which was sixth-best. In this area, he was behind Shenault, Higgins, Jefferson, Jeudy, Claypool, and Lamb. AKA, the usual suspects.

Overall Ranking

When you consider where they were drafted, you will take Mooney over Henry Ruggs every time. Overall, Ruggs did have better efficiency, his issue was just far less volume than Mooney. Still, Mooney deserves credit for that volume.

Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Justin Jefferson, Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins, and Chase Claypool all had better rookie seasons and it is hard to deny that.

Laviska Shenault can argue his splash plays were bigger impacts as well, and it is not like he had a great QB.

We can say that seven receivers were deservedly drafted higher.

On the flip side, Bryan Edwards, John Hightower, Quintez Cephus, Collin Johnson, Tyler Johnson, Devin Duvernay, Lynn Bowden, KJ Hamler, and Van Jefferson did not have seasons that can have them comparing with Mooney quite yet. Those are eight he outperformed without a doubt.

Michael Pittman, Henry Ruggs, Jalen Reagor, Denzel Mims, and Gabriel Davis are players where it can go either way. Check out their comparisons below.

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Mooney had more volume but was less efficient than all of them. In fact, Mims had more yards per game, he just played fewer games. Davis had more touchdowns and yards per catch on two fewer yards per game. Pittman had just 0.7 fewer catches and 0.7 fewer yards per game.

It is also interesting to see how many of them had rushing attempts as rookies, including Mooney. It is clear this is the correct tier for him to be in, however you place him.

So, when we combine our pre-draft notions, their rookie season volume, and their efficiency, we see the rookies shake out something like this

Tier 1

1. Justin Jefferson 

2. CeeDee Lamb 

3. Tee Higgins

4. Chase Claypool 

5. Jerry Jeudy

6. Brandon Aiyuk 

7. Laviska Shenault 

Tier 2 

8. Denzel Mims

9. Michael Pittman 

10. Gabriel Davis 

11. Darnell Mooney

12. Henry Ruggs

13. Jalen Reagor 

Tier 3 

14. KJ Hamler

15. Bryan Edwards

16. Donovan Peoples-Jones

17. Quintez Cephus

18. Van Jefferson 

19. Colin Johnson 

20. Devin Duvernay 

At the lowest of lows, you would have to take him as the 13th or 14th wide receiver which is pretty good considering he was drafted as the 22nd overall wide receiver. Still, realistically he is right near the top 10 in this class. Now, that is a great pick as the 22nd overall WR.

Next. Expectations for Darnell Mooney year two. dark

It will be interesting to see if any of the other receivers taken behind him can find their feet in year two. Beyond that, with an improvement in quarterback play, we could be seeing a much better Mooney and one who shoots into that top seven that does look to be special.