Bears' weakness: Wide receiver

May, 18, 2009
5/18/09
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Posted by Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson

Scouts Inc.: Weaknesses
• AFC: South | East
• NFC: North | South
The Chicago Bears paid a huge ransom to get themselves an ultra-talented, big-armed quarterback in Jay Cutler. This is a guy who can make every throw in the playbook and create the velocity to pierce the elements at Soldier Field. Chicago also invested in veteran offensive linemen such as Orlando Pace to enhance the running game and to keep Cutler upright. But what did the Bears do to improve a very mediocre group of wide receivers from a year ago? Not very much.

 
  G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images
  Devin Hester is the most dangerous option in an otherwise ho-hum receiver corps.

The most interesting -- and electric -- member of Chicago's receiver corps is clearly Devin Hester. Hester was basically a non-position player coming out of the University of Miami and while he remains very much a work in progress as a wide receiver, he has steadily improved and showed glimpses last year of developing into an extremely dangerous offensive playmaker. He needs to become more consistent on a week-to-week basis, but few are as lethal with the ball in his hands. Personally, I like what I saw last year from Hester and he could really be primed to take the next step with Cutler behind center.

The Bears pretty much know what they have in incumbents Brandon Lloyd and Rashied Davis. They combined for 61 receptions and four receiving touchdowns. To me, this is pretty much what we can expect this season as well. If these two are the Bears' third and fourth wide receivers, they will be in decent shape, but neither is what you want in a starter.

Chicago also has two very young wideouts of interest in Earl Bennett (Cutler's former teammate at Vanderbilt) and this year's draft pick, Juaquin Iglesias. Bennett did little last year as a rookie, but was extremely productive in the Southeastern Conference. Both players have fine possession skills and there should be hope that one or both can become a suitable intermediate target as soon as this year.

While the wide receiver position is foggy right now, Chicago does have a few excellent peripheral pass-catchers in Matt Forte, Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark to supplement what is required from their wideouts. Olsen in particular could be primed for a breakout season with the arrival of Cutler.

The arrival of Cutler should make those around him better. But still, I see this football team as a one go-to wide receiver away from being among the best teams in the league. That final piece may have to wait until next year.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.

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