10 wide receivers Bears could pick in upcoming draft

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Even with the addition of Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown, the Bears need to add several more wideouts to the roster. Expect one or two of those additions to come in the upcoming draft. Without a big “X” receiver to play on the outside, and not many of those options left in free agency, Ryan Poles could address that area of need with one of his second-round picks. Fortunately for the Bears, this draft class is loaded with legit wide receiver talent, so there’s a good chance a difference maker could be available for them to select with the No. 39 pick. If the team opts to add a wide receiver later in the draft, we’ve got you covered with some Day 2 options as well.

JAMESON WILLIAMS - ALABAMA

Expert consensus: 1st - 2nd round

Williams is arguably the top home run threat in this year’s class. He averaged 19.9 yards per reception last season, which tied for sixth-highest in the NCAA. Williams translated that big play ability into 15 scores, and he emerged as Alabama’s top receiving threat in 2021. He would’ve been a surefire first-round pick, but Williams tore his ACL in the national championship game. Now experts are split on whether Williams will go in the back half of the first round, or if he’ll fall to the second. We also don’t yet know if Poles is the type of GM to take a chance on an injured prospect, like Ryan Pace did with Eddie Jackson, either.

TREYLON BURKS - ARKANSAS

Expert consensus: 1st - 2nd round

Coming in at 6’3”, 225 lbs, Burks would give Justin Fields a big body to target in the offense. He uses that size well to come down with 50/50 balls over would-be defenders, and has the speed to challenge vertically as well. The Razorbacks got creative with Burks’ speed, and used him effectively in the run game on end arounds, too. Burks has the skillset to demand the ball anytime he draws a one-on-one in man coverage, and could slot in as the Bears’ “X” receiver on Day 1. In 12 games last season, Burks gained 1,216 total yards from scrimmage, caught 11 touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown.

CHRISTIAN WATSON - NORTH DAKOTA STATE

Expert consensus: 1st - 3rd round

Watson became this year’s Combine darling after running the sixth-fastest 40 time (4.36) and the sixth-highest vertical jump (38.5”) among all wide receivers. Combine that with his imposing 6’4”, 208 lbs frame and you’ve got an impressive athlete. He’s also got the size and speed one looks for in a true No. 1 “X” receiver. But beware falling in love with athletes at what some call the “Underwear Olympics” when there are other red flags. According to PFF, Watson had 16 drops on 120 “catchable” balls, which is concerning.

DAVID BELL - PURDUE

Expert consensus: 2nd - 4th round

Fans who want a replacement for Allen Robinson should look to Bell. In an interview earlier this year, Bell said Robinson is his favorite wideout in the league, and he’s gone as far as to model his game after the former Bears receiver. It shows on the field too. Bell isn’t going to blow any defenders away with blazing speed. But he uses his 6’2”, 205 lbs frame to great effect and does a good job of winning contested catches. A shortened 2020 season kept Bell from notching three-straight 1,000 yard seasons, but it didn’t keep him out of the endzone. In 29 career games with the Boilermakers, Bell scored 21 touchdowns.

JOHN METCHIE III - ALABAMA

Expert consensus: 2nd - 4th round

The second Crimson Tide wideout who will be hard to project in the upcoming draft, due to a late-season ACL tear. Metchie suffered his injury in the SEC championship game, but told reporters at the NFL Combine that expects to be cleared for action this June, in time for training camp. When he is healthy, Metchie does a great job creating separation in a variety of ways. He can make space with excellent route running, putting defenders on their heels with double moves, or simply finding soft spots in opposing zones. Metchie also takes pride in his ability to block in the run game, which is something Matt Eberflus is sure to love.

KHALIL SHAKIR - BOISE STATE

Expert consensus: 3rd round

Heading into the season, Shakir wasn’t high up on many mock draft boards. But after a 77-catch, 1,117-yard, seven-touchdown season for the Broncos, Shakir has started drawing comps to Cooper Kupp, who also wasn’t highly-touted heading into the draft, and similarly flew up pundit rankings. There are some similarities on the field as well. Like Kupp, Shakir displays excellent quickness and elusiveness to generate yards after the catch, and to turn intermediate passes into home runs.

GEORGE PICKENS - GEORGIA

Expert consensus: 3rd - 4th round

Another big bodied receiver who could slot in as the team’s “X” receiver right away. Pickens can beat his defender at the line with his hands, or with his feet. He also boasts excellent ball tracking in traffic and body control in contested catch scenarios. Pickens has a nose for the end zone when he gets near the goal line, too. But like Jameson Williams, Pickens is coming off of an ACL injury and didn’t make much of an impact when he returned in 2021. Again, we’ll see if Ryan Poles wants to gamble on a wide receiver with that in his injury history.

JALEN TOLBERT - SOUTH ALABAMA

Expert consensus: 3rd - 4th round

Another man who’s a big play waiting to happen. Over the past two seasons, Tolbert has blossomed into a weapon who can win on the outside, or in the slot, and against various defensive coverages. Since 2020, he’s caught 146 balls for 2,559 yards and 16 touchdowns. Tolbert has great speed and can run past defenders for deep passes.

ROMEO DOUBS - NEVADA

Expert consensus: 3rd - 4th round

Doubs played all four years for the Wolfpack, and acted as their top option over the past two years. He managed to cross the 1,000-yard threshold in each of the last two seasons, despite the shortened 2020 campaign, and scored 20 touchdowns over that span. Works the boundary and the middle of the field equally effectively. If there’s a knock, it’s that he lets the ball come into his body too often, rather than making catches with his arms extended. Awarded All Mountain West First-Team in 2021.

ALEC PIERCE - CINCINNATI

Expert consensus: 3rd - 4th

Pierce’s numbers don’t jump off the page from his time with the Bearcats. In three seasons, his career high was 884 yards in 2021. Over 32 games, he only scored 13 touchdowns. But he has a unique skillset that could set him apart from other wideouts being drafted on Day 2. Pierce is tall, coming in at 6’3”, and put up the highest vertical jump at the Combine at 40.5”, too. In addition, he’s got 4.41 speed. At the line, Pierce can beat press coverage with his hands and sudden breaks. Put all that together and you’ve got a serious deep threat.

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