To continue my preview of the Chicago Bears 2011 roster I take a look at the wide receiver situation for the upcoming season.
On a 53 man roster the Chicago Bears usually keep 5 or possibly 6 wide receivers for the final cut heading into the regular season. This season is no different from any in the past. The first four receivers are for the most part figured out. The Bears will be returning 3 of top 5 guys from last season Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, and Johnny Knox. With the additions of former Dallas receivers Roy Williams and Sam Hurd some might say that the receiving core is already assembled, but with the amount of wideouts still on the preseason roster it is hard to see the team taking less the six guys this season.*
Not including the five players that have already been mentioned the team has 6 more options at the wide receiver position. With Sam Hurd added in, here is a quick rundown of each individual player left on the roster.*
Kris Adams: (6’3,194)
Adams was added to the Bears roster after the draft as an undrafted free agent out of Utep. At 6’3” he has the size that the team was looking to add in the offseason. He caught 47 passes for over 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns. He had an average of 22.8 yards per catch, so it is easy to see why the Bears picked him up.
Travis Cobb: (6’0, 180)
To describe Travis Cobb one only needs to use one word, FAST. He was quoted as calling himself “the fastest cat.” That title is understandable considering Cobb reportedly ran a 40 yard dash in 4.31 seconds at Blinn Junior College before he transferred to Arizona. Although Cobb was mostly used as a return man last year, there is still a chance he could just wheel his way into a receiver spot.
Andy Fantuz: (6’4,220)
The acquisition of Andy Fantuz brought in some good hype, mostly due to the fact that he was imported from Canada and the CFL. Fantuz is a big target at 6 foot 4 inches and is known to have very good hands. Considered slow by most scouts Fantuz wasn’t as sought after as most players that rack up 1,380 yards on 87 catches usually would be. Some of that may be due to the league he played in, but never the less he caught the eyes of the Bears front office and inked his new NFL contract days after the end of last season.
Sam Hurd: (6’3, 200)
Chicago signed Hurd from the Cowboys directly after they signed his teammate Roy Williams. Hurd played in Dallas for 5 years after being drafted by the team in 2006. He had 120 yards on 14 catches last season and was a good bench guy in the Wade Phillips offense.
Onrea Jones: (6’0, 202)
Jones is a 27 year old wide receiver out of Hampton University. After leaving college in 2007 Jones has yet to find a spot on a team roster. Not much is known about this guy, but that only leaves room for surprise.
Dane Sanzenbacher: (5’11, 182)
Sanzenbacher was another signing for the Bears that brought in some hype. 5’11” receiver was team captain of the Ohio State Buckeyes this previous college football season and gained 948 yards with 55 catches in 2010. Although he was an undrafted free agent Sanzenbacher has proven that he has the talent to overcome his small stature in college. We will have to wait until the pre-season to see if that same fact applies in the NFL.
Jimmy Young: (6’1, 204)
In his four years at TCU, Young was one of Andy Daltons favorite receivers collecting 147 passes for a total of 2,316 yards over the course of his career as a Hornedfrog. The Bears are looking for Young to be a hidden gem considering his lackluster performance in this year’s NFL combine. Young posted a 4.50 forty time, the worst was a 4.71. All facts aside Young helped take his team to 3 bowl games in the last 4 years and a win against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl this past season.
With all these options at wide receiver Mike Martz and Lovie Smith should be able to find a diamond in the rough out of this list of guys.*
The only question left to ask is, who will make the cut? Only time will tell.