Jerry Angelo: 'I don’t want to overrate the (receiver) position'
The Chicago Bears have not had a 1,000-yard wide receiver since Marty Booker reached the mark in 2002.
Booker is the only receiver in franchise history to be named to the Pro Bowl since Dick Gordon in 1972. And the Bears are seemingly interested in outfitting quarterback Jay Cutler with all the help he needs as he enters his third season with the franchise and the second playing for offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean the Bears are placing a high priority on the position heading into the draft that starts Thursday. Johnny Knox was the only wide receiver on the roster top 50 receptions last season. He had 51 for 960 yards. Consider that in the previous 10 Martz-directed offenses, the No. 1 wide receiver averaged 88.7 receptions and 1,256 yards. The No. 2 wide receiver averaged 68.6 receptions and 1,037 yards.
The Bears don’t have a prototypical big receiver on the roster, although tight end Greg Olsen fills that role on occasions. The big receiver hasn’t necessarily been a part of Martz offenses in the past, although he did team with Calvin Johnson briefly while in Detroit.
“We’re looking at the position,” Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said. “Yeah, we’d like to get the big receiver like everybody. So much has been made about the No. 1 receiver. Hard to find a No. 1 receiver. We’ve looked at the position hard this year. I don’t anticipate that we collectively as a group see anybody that is going to fit that definition, but we do like the receiver group given that how they complement what we have. We looked at it in-depth. It’s not a great group but there are some players there that we like and we feel can come in and help us.
“I’ll say this when I was with the Giants and we were down in Tampa, the one thing you look at, I don’t think the Giants have ever had a Pro Bowl receiver, at least in the last 20 years. They have always had a pretty good offense. I know when we were in Tampa, I know our offense wasn’t stellar but I just don’t want to overrate the position and we certainly like our receiver corps and we certainly want to build on it but that’s not the end all.”
It seems odd that Angelo would worry about overrating the position. After all, it’s clearly a passing league and that’s what drove the franchise to mortgage its past two drafts in order to acquire Cutler.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune