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ESPN ranks the Bears' skill position group below average in NFL

Where do the Bears rank in terms of their skill position group? ESPN has them below the NFL average heading into 2023

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The Bears made a lot of upgrades to their skill position groups this offseason. But where do they rank amongst the NFL's skill position areas?

ESPN ranked the Bears' skill players 17th in the NFL, one spot above the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here is the rationale from ESPN writer Bill Barnwell.

"The Bears beat out the Bucs because of what they offer at running back," Barnwell wrote. "Khalil Herbert benefited from Fields' gravity as a runner, but the second-year back generated 1.3 rushing yards over expected per carry last season, way ahead of then-teammate David Montgomery, who came in at -0.3 RYOE.

"General manager Ryan Poles upgraded by swapping out Montgomery for D'Onta Foreman, who has ably filled in for the likes of Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry over the past couple of seasons. Roschon Johnson's versatility should earn him a spot in the rotation as a rookie. Moore might be the only star in the mix, but the Bears are a tier ahead of the teams below them."

The Bears kicked off the offseason trading the No. 1 pick in exchange for a cornucopia of future draft picks, and wide receiver DJ Moore. He joins Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool and Equanimeous St. Brown among the receiver core.

Barnwell called Moore the "best wideout the Bears could have added this offseason." His production dipped to 888 yards last season. But over five NFL seasons under his belt, Moore is averaging over 1,000 yards per season. He recorded three straight seasons with over 1,100 yards per season.

General manager Ryan Poles added veteran tight end Robert Tonyan late in free agency, pairing him with Cole Kmet. Kmet caught an impressive seven touchdown passes last season, yet Barnwell expects a decline from the fourth-year tight end, writing "I doubt he'll keep scoring once every seven or so receptions."

The running back room experienced the most turnover. David Montgomery opted for a three-year deal with division rival Detroit Lions. In reciprocation, the Bears added veterans D'Onta Foreman and Travis Homer, while drafting Texas sleeper Roschon Johnson, who Barnwell expects to find the starting rotation as a rookie this season.

It's incumbent upon Justin Fields and the coaching staff to boost this offense into a new stratosphere. Last season, the Bears finished 23rd in the league on a predominantly rush-heavy offense. Expect that to change.

Fields said himself last season he's hopeful he doesn't have to run for over 1,000 yards every season. He and the Bears would prefer he rely on his arm more. Hence, the Bears went out and brought in Moore and Tonyan to bolster their pass-catching group, while freshening their running back room and offensive line, for what it's worth.

Still, do the Bears possess a below-average skill player group?

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