Chicago Bears fans need to stop sleeping on Byron Pringle

Chicago Bears - Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle
Chicago Bears - Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle /
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Chicago Bears, Byron Pringle
Chicago Bears – Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bears are getting an underrated WR in Byron Pringle

Byron Pringle’s separation ability is not the only thing that sets him apart. He brings more to the table and is very underrated. Going back to my conversation with Matt Conner at Arrowhead Addict, he had this to say about Pringle:

"Pringle lost his entire freshman season stashed away on injured reserve, but he came back and slowly began to climb the depth chart. Not only did he find real offensive reps as a former UDFA in a Super Bowl offense, but last season he broke through as a trusted option by the coaches and Patrick Mahomes when the team had a real need for a WR2. Pringle was used in the slot two-thirds of the time, but can also line up outside as the X. He’s 6’2″ with 4.4 speed. He’s got a great physical package and has hands to make a tough catch while also being dangerous with the ball after the fact. He’s particularly tough with the ball in space. None of this includes the fact that he’s one of the better return options too. The only serious knock on him is his age, but he just keeps getting better and proving his doubters wrong. I can’t imagine the Chicago Bears will ever regret a dollar spent on him."

If we look at Pringle’s 2019 and 2020 performances, it’s not spectacular. He only had 16 targets in 2019 and only 17 more in 2020. That said, Pringle did everything he could with those targets. He averaged over 12 yards per reception and caught over 75% of his targets. For his career, he has a 72.0% catch rate. Those are some great hands and shows how well he gets open. Last year, Pringle had a breakout year and saw 60 targets. He still caught 70% of those targets and gained over 13 yards per reception. Pringle also caught five touchdowns last year.

His advanced stats are great too. he had four drops last year for a 6.7% drop rate. He gained nearly 200 yards after the catch and has an average depth of target (ADOT) score of over 10 throughout his career. What is even crazier is that of his 42 receptions, 32 of those went for first downs. This goes back to his first two years too as seven of his 12 catches went for first downs in 2019 and nine of his 13 catches went for first downs in 2020. This correlates with his ADOT, yards per reception (YPR) and yards after the catch (YAC) numbers.

Here is the thing. With Byron Pringle playing in the slot and Darnell Mooney as the Z-receiver, the Chicago Bears can focus on finding a true outside “X” receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft. Names like Christian Watson and George Pickens in the second round come to mind. I’m going to make a “bold” take and tell you Pringle will be better in 2022 than Allen Robinson was for the Bears in 2021 (injuries excluded of course).