Stats: Marquess Wilson, who turned 21 during the season, appeared in 10 games and caught two passes for 13 yards. He was inactive for five games. Wilson got an extended look with the first team in the preseason, when he had five receptions for 96 yards.
2013 Role: Wilson, the Chicago Bears' 2013 seventh-round draft choice out of Washington State, spent the majority of the season as the team’s fourth wide receiver. The 6-foot-4, 184 pound wideout fell to the Bears in the seventh round because he quit his college team, Washington State, nine games into his junior season. Wilson finished his collegiate career with 189 catches for 3,207 and 23 touchdowns, despite playing only 33 games. Wilson’s production at Washington State, coupled with his age and height, convinced the Bears to keep Wilson on the 53-man roster for all of 2013, instead of attempting to stash him on the practice squad where he would have been forced to clear waivers in order to return.
The good: Wilson is talented. He hauled in 82 passes for 1,388 yards and 12 touchdowns during his sophomore year at Washington State. His height (6-foot-4) fits the mold of what the Bears are looking for at wide receiver alongside Brandon Marshall (6-foot-4) and Alshon Jeffery (6-foot-3). The coaching staff’s willingness to sprinkle him into the offense as a rookie signals the organization likely has big plans for Wilson.
The bad: Wilson needs to bulk up. It’s difficult to envision him holding up for an entire season at under 200 pounds, much less be effective. Jeffery weighs 216 pounds. Marshall tips the scales at 230. Wilson won’t reach that weight overnight, but he needs to commit to the offseason strength program. Wilson hasn’t proven anything yet at the NFL level. He is still an unknown, albeit a potentially talented one.
Looking ahead: No. 3 wide receiver Earl Bennett plays winning football. His issue is staying healthy, but Bennett did play in 15 games last season until he had to miss the regular-season finale to deal with a family matter. Unless Bennett’s contract gets in the way (he had to take a pay cut in 2013), Wilson is going to have to light it up in the offseason/preseason to unseat Bennett in the slot, or slide past him on the depth chart. However, Bears general manager Phil Emery clearly envisions a role for Wilson in the offense moving forward. The belief is that Wilson will be given an opportunity to earn increased playing time in his second season. What he does with those opportunities is entirely up to him.