3 Over/Unders for Darnell Mooney with Chicago Bears
Mike Clay of ESPN has created projections for every NFL team, including the Chicago Bears. He has a pretty good history of season-long projections, so this is worth looking into as a baseline of expectations for each player. Of course, each stat will likely see him going over or under his projected production.
We will look at each stat and see if Darnell Mooney will over or underperform these metrics.
3. Will Darnell Mooney Catch 77 passes for Chicago Bears in 2022?
ESPN has Darnell Mooney projected to catch 77 passes out of 133 targets. Last season he caught 81 balls on 140 targets, so it is a bit of a drop in this area. This is something that has been discussed often, and there are strong arguments on both sides.
While Mooney should be expected to produce more if Justin Fields takes a step forward, Fields also spread the football around more than Andy Dalton. With Fields, Mooney was actually on pace for only 120 targets over a 17-game sample.
Still, what that often meant was that Fields was throwing to Allen Robinson more than Andy Dalton. Without Robinson, Fields could lock into Mooney more than he did last season. Byron Pringle and Velus Jones should not take as much of the load, so 140 targets could be in reach again.
Of course, without Robinson, the case also is that defenses will swarm in on Mooney more often, and he may be less effective. If that is the case then he could still finish with four fewer catches despite the same number of targets.
Still, there are signs in his first two seasons that he is better than advertised. There is a history of a fifth-round receiver having two strong years to start his career before blowing up to become a star.
Without a significant threat to take targets away from Mooney, we should expect more than 140 targets, and thus more than 80 catches.