Players That Bear Watching: Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt

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Currently, the Bears have the second pick in the upcoming draft and a lot of organizational-defining decisions to make.

Conventional wisdom suggests Chicago will trade down in order to acquire additional draft capital. Regardless of what they do with the second pick, it’s likely the Bears will take an offensive player in the first round. Whether it’s an offensive tackle or a primary receiving target, the Bears need to focus on rebuilding an inept offense.

A player like Jalin Hyatt has increased value because of his ability to stretch defenses and create instant offense from anywhere on the field.

Name: Jalin Hyatt

Position: Wide reciever

School (Year): Tennessee (Jr.)

Measurables: 6’0”, 185 lbs / 4.29 40-time/ 34.5” vertical jump

Career Notes: [2022] Biletnikoff Award; [2022] All-American First Team (AP, FWAA, ESPN, Walter Camp, Sporting News, The Athletic, CBSSports.com/247Sports); [2022] All-SEC First Team (Coaches and AP); [2022] Maxwell Award Semifinalist; [2022] Walter Camp Player of the Year Semifinalist

Best Game: It was an autumn Saturday in October, in a valley of the Smoky Mountains, where falling leaves colorfully matched the jerseys on the field at venerable Neyland Stadium. On this day, long time rivals Alabama and Tennessee were both undefeated and battled for SEC positioning and college playoff implications. Entering the contest, Tennessee was without its star receiver, Cedric Tillman, who injured his ankle several weeks earlier. Before the evening was over, Volunteers fans and Crimson Tide foes alike would become aware of how explosive previously-little known wideout Jalin Hyatt could be. Amazingly, Hyatt set a school record for touchdowns in a single game (5) and torched the Alabama secondary for 207 receiving yards on six receptions. Hyatt's domination against the Crimson Tide defensive backs helped Tennessee triumph over its bitter rival by a score of 52-49.

RELATED: 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Georgia's Jalen Carter awaits as Bears' pick trends up

What they’re saying about him: “Wanting to be a great player versus working to be a great player. Man, he paid the price and he reaped the rewards. Really proud of him and what he accomplished all year long.” - Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel

Skill Set: Hyatt is an electrifying talent with a lightning quick burst off the line and an ability to accelerate from “zero to 60” in the blink of an eye. Hyatt reaches his top speed almost effortlessly, eating up any cushion defensive backs try to establish when defending him. A quick leaper, whose speed helps propel him quickly into the air when competing for contested passes, Hyatt does exceptionally well tracking downfield passes, utilizing his long arms to snatch errant passes and expand his catching radius. One of the better catch-and-go receivers in the country, Hyatt is a threat to score from anywhere on the gridiron. 

Why Chicago? In a word…explosiveness, that’s what Hyatt brings to any NFL organization interested in his particular skill set. Of his 108 collegiate receptions, 21 have gone for 30-plus yards, in addition to Hyatt's average of 16.4 yards per catch for his career. This past season Hyatt was tops in the SEC, leading the conference in yards (1,267) and catches per game (5.6). Hyatt is the first player in Tennessee’s rich receiver history (Stanley Morgan, TIm McGee, Willie Gault, Alvin Harper, Carl Pickens, Peerless Price, Cordarrelle Patterson, etc…) to win the Biletnikoff Award. Hyatt is versatile enough to align outside the numbers as a boundary receiver, or locate inside as a slot target. A finesse pass catcher, Hyatt still has room to grow physically and is presently considered more of a threat from the slot position. Wherever he lines up, Hyatt’s speed can completely destabilize defensive coverage and potentially expand a moribund Chicago offensive attack. The Bears’ incumbent quarterback, Justin Fields, throws a great deep ball, Hyatt would be an ideal new addition for him to go deep with.

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