With Wide Receiver Kevin White on Injured Reserved for the foreseeable future, we look to our roster to fill the gap left by him.
Considering we haven’t seen much of Kevin White due to his previous injuries in his career, the hole he is leaving is much smaller than that of Jerrell Freeman’s (also on injured reserve with a pectoral tear.) White has only played 5 out of a potential 33 regular season games and even in those games he never really showed up. Totaling 21 receptions on 40 targets, 193 receiving yards and zero touchdowns. There just hasn’t been enough tape or proof that he can live up to the hype coming out of college. So, even when White was healthy the question mark remained for the Chicago Bears, who can step up and be the number one wide receiver in Cam Meredith’s stead. The obvious answer is to look at the depth chart and pick the next guy up. Kendall Wright.
Wide Receiver, Kendall Wright:
Kendall Wright was also a first round draft pick in 2012. The Tennessee Titans took him number twenty overall because they were enticed by his quickness and ability to get off the line fast. Kendall Wright coming out of college is no different than Kendall Wright now. The 27 year old has shown flashes of that same draft analysis that was given to him so long ago. The biggest problem the now Chicago Bear wide out shows is rapport with his quarterback. Timing has seemed to have been off with Mike Glennon. Wright is consistently open but, Mike Glennon has had a tendency to look for his first read and panic, which leads to routes opening and closing before the read can be seen.
In Kendall Wright’s second year with the Tennessee Titans, Chicago Bear’s offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, was his offensive coordinator in Tennessee as well in 2013. This was statistically Wright’s most productive year at Tennessee. The takeaway from this is, Loggains knows Wright’s potential to succeed and how to use him appropriately. Kendall CAN be the the number one, he was drafted to be a number one but can Glennon get the ball to him? If Kendall Wright proves he can’t be the guy, there’s a dark horse that has just been elevated from the Bear’s practice squad that Bear’s fans are ecstatic with. Tanner Gentry.
Wide Receiver, Tanner Gentry:
Everyone loves the underdog story, but Chicago Bear’s fanbase seem to love it even more. With guys like running back Jordan Howard (5th round draft pick) and running back Tarik Cohen (4th round draft pick), Ryan Pace has found some shiny hidden gems further back in the draft. That being said, Tanner Gentry would be the steal of the century if he turns out to be what the fanbase wants him to be.
Gentry, an undrafted free agent out of Wyoming, has gotten used to being overlooked by school’s and team’s, but he’s never been overlooked by his quarterback out of Wyoming. Quarterback Josh Allen of The University of Wyoming is projected to be one of the top draft pick of the 2018 draft. Josh Allen repeatedly looked for Gentry when targeting the endzone. Gentry’s senior year he finished with 72 receptions, 1326 receiving yards and FOURTEEN touchdowns. Oh, with a 18.4 yards per reception average. That production is insane. But it is concerning that he went undrafted to begin with. Not only did he go undrafted, but the he completely cleared waivers after being cut by the Bears. Thirty-one other teams looked past him and didn’t even think he was worth a practice squad spot.
Gentry ran a 4.58 40 yard dash, 38’’ Vertical Jump, Bench Pressed 225 lbs 19 times and had 10’03’’ Broad Jump at his Pro Day. Ultimately this translates to power, strength and ability to get the jump ball. That’s what he was successful at in college and that’s what Bear’s coaches hope to exploit. He has talent locked into him, but The Chicago Bears know all about talented players who were unable to unlock their full potential. Bear’s fans have kept their expectations high for the kid and I’m sure he’s ready to prove the NFL wrong, but the mob is a fickle beast. If he can’t keep up with the expectations of the fans he’ll feel the heat soon enough.
Other Wide Receivers to Watch:
Deonte Thompson has proven he can run routes and get open in critical times. He also has the speed to take the top off the secondary. His struggle in the past has been drops in critical moments.
Marcus Wheaton’s speed is going to be a huge asset if he can ever stop being injured. Between offseason surgeries (appendix and finger), he has yet to see any true playing time. Even practice has been limited. Speed is a strength of this wide receiving core, but can he catch? That’s the question.
Tre McBride was picked up as a band-aid for the injuries that has plagued the receiving core this season. He has made SOME big plays with his previous team the Tennessee Titans, but Bears want him to step up and be more consistent.
Keep an eye on all of these wide receivers on Sunday. Who will step up? Who can be the leader? Who can give The Chicago Bear’s fanbase something to be excited about? Something to cheer for? Who can gives the Bears the wins that we have all been looking for? We find out Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bear Down.
Photo Credit: Chad Routh