History shows the Chicago Bears should draft a receiver by the third round

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Bears, Darnell Mooney
Chicago Bears – Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports /

How many quality receivers have fallen to where the Chicago Bears pick?

Finally, let’s now look at the quality of the players who have fallen to where the Chicago Bears are selecting and see just the type of player Ryan Poles can find should he draft a receiver with one of the team’s first three picks.

"Top WRs selected after pick No. 39 but before pick No. 48 (Year Drafted) Laviska Shenault, Jr. – Jaguars (2021) KJ Hamler – Broncos (2020) Courtland Sutton – Broncos (2018) Dante Pettis – 49ers (2018) Christian Kirk – Jaguars (2018) Curtis Samuel – Commanders (2017)"

As you can see, there are some solid names here, but outside of Courtland Sutton, none of them jump out at me as guys who have shown they can become stars in the NFL — even though the Jaguars just paid Christian Kirk as if he were one. Do not fret though, there are still some very solid names who were drafted after pick No. 48 in the NFL Draft over the last five years.

"Top WRs selected after pick No. 48 but before pick No. 71 (Year Drafted) Rondale Moore – Cardinals (2021) Terrace Marshall, Jr. – Panthers (2021) Chase Claypool – Steelers (2020) Van Jefferson – Rams (2020) Denzel Mims – Jets (2020) A.J. Brown – Titans (2019) Mecole Hardman – Chiefs (2019) D.K. Metcalf – Seahawks (2019) Dionte Johnson – Steelers (2019) Anthony Miller – Steelers (2018) DJ Chark – Lions (2018) JuJu Smith-Schuster – Chiefs (2017) Cooper Kupp – Rams (2017)"

Wow, there are some solid names in this range. Guys like A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf and Cooper Kupp are already WR1-type receivers. Dionte Johnson, Chase Claypool, and JuJu Smith-Schuster have shown they can be that guy at times too — they just lack the consistency. There are a few other names on the list who still have time to prove themselves too. It appears that pick No. 48 might be the best time for the Chicago Bears to strike at selecting a WR unless they trade back.

"Top WRs selected after pick No. 71 (Year Drafted)  Amon-Ra St. Brown – Lions (2021) / Pick No. 112 Gabriel Davis – Bills (2020) / Pick No. 128 Darnell Mooney – Bears (2020) / Pick No. 173 K.J. Osborn – Vikings (2020) / Pick No. 176 Donovan Peoples-Jones – Browns (2020) / Pick No. 187 Terry McLaurin – Commanders (2019) / Pick No. 76 Miles Boykin – Free Agent (2019) / Pick No. 93 Hunter Renfrow – Raiders (2019) Pick No. 149 Darius Slayton – Giants (2018) / Pick No. 171 Michael Gallup – Cowboys (2018) / Pick No. 81 Tre’Quan Smith – Saints (2018) / Pick No. 91 Russell Gage – Bucs (2018) / Pick No. 194 Cedrick Wilson, Jr. – Dolphins (2018) / Pick No. 208 Chris Godwin – Bucs (2017) / Pick No. 84 Kenny Golladay – Giants (2017) / Pick No. 96 Dede Westbrook – Jaguars (2017) / Pick No. 110 Josh Reynolds – Lions (2017) / Pick No. 117"

There are some really solid names on this list. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Darnell Mooney, Terry McLaurin, Hunter Renfrow, Michael Gallup, Darius Slayton, Tre’Quan Smith, Chris Godwin, and Kenny Golladay are all proving to be amazing wide receivers. Some are more established than others since they have been in the league longer, but most of the top names on this list were selected prior to pick No. 148, which is the Bears’ next pick after pick No. 71.

Unless Ryan Poles is able to make a trade back and stay within the first 100 picks, he is going to need to take a wide receiver with one of the first three picks in the 2022 NFL Draft to have a true shot at landing a difference-making weapon. It’s not often that you see a Darnell Mooney or Hunter Renfrow emerge.