With the regular season around the corner, we are setting expectations for all of the Chicago Bears. Mike Clay of ESPN does a solid job of setting projections for every player. While they are typically close to correct, he will always miss by a bit. So, what does Mike Clay think of Darnell Mooney this season, and do we project him to do better or worse?
Over/Under 55 catches on 87 targets for Darnell Mooney with the Chicago Bears
This will be an interesting season for Darnell Mooney because he is expected to drop from the number one option to number two. However, last season was the biggest disappointment of them all. He went from 3.8 catches per game as a rookie to 4.8 in year two. Then, he dropped down to 3.3 last year as the top dog.
Perhaps he could get back to his better stats because the attention is off of him. For him to hit expectations for Clay, the Chicago Bears would need to see him average 3.7 catches per game. That would also be a 63.2% catch rate. For his career, he is at 60.9%, but his rate went up to 65.6% last season because of Luke Getsy.
With D.J. Moore being the number one, Mooney may be more productive and see the ball closer to the line of scrimmage. This is why we will go over on catches but under on targets due to the lack of passing in the offense and Moore's influence on the target share.
Over 55 catches, under 87 targets
Over/Under 696 yards for Darnell Mooney with the Chicago Bears
Darnell Mooney went from 39.4 yards per game to 62.1 in year two. However, he dropped down to 41.1 in 2022. Now, Clay has him down for 46.4 yards per game, a smooth medium. Actually, 48.4 is his career rate.
It is also eight yards per target and 12.6 yards per catch. His career rates are 7.3 and 12, so these numbers are right in line. The line makes pretty good sense, but as we noted, Moore may take his throne as the deep threat. With that, his yards per catch may drop a bit, and we will lean under.
Under 696 yards
Over/Under five touchdowns for Darnell Mooney with the Chicago Bears
Darnell Mooney has ten touchdowns in three seasons. It took him 299 targets, so it would take roughly 149 before he got to five touchdowns. Now, he is projected to hit five on 87 targets, or even fewer. Mooney is just not a red zone threat. There is a reason his career high is four. Now that he is moving down the passing game totem pole, it is hard to see him becoming a touchdown scorer. Maybe if he breaks a few big ones, but that is hard to project. We will go under once again.
Under five touchdowns