The Chicago Bears offense has changed considerably since last season. Jay Cutler was cut and then retired. He is currently in talks with the Miami Dolphins. Alshon Jeffery limped his way to the Eagles, where’s he’s already dealing with injury.
The quarterbacks are all new to Chicago. The Bears signed Mike Glennon as the starter and career back-up Mark Sanchez. They also drafted Mitch Trubisky in a move that surprised many analysts and fans alike, moving up in the draft to ensure they got him. While thus far Trubisky has shown some talent in camp, the Bears front office has been pretty vocal that he will not be starting in 2017.
Chicago Bears Training Camp Battle – Wide Receivers
That brings us to the wide receiver core. With Jeffery gone, there’s a lot of speculation about who’s going to get the majority share of the targets. Let’s take a look at the receivers, their potential, and the training camp battles up to this point.
Kevin White would be the projected number one target moving into 2017 if he could stay on the field. He was a first-round pick that has yet to materialize as the difference-maker he was thought to be. He’s got great size at 6’3″ and 210 pounds. White’s limited snaps at the NFL level are almost as problematic to predicting his ability as his lingering health issues.
Meredith is the leading candidate to be the top target on this offense in 2017. He led the Bears in targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns in 2016. He’s also got great size for the position at 6’3″ and 200 pounds. He almost evenly split his target share between lining up outside and from the slot, so there’s a versatility to how he will be utilized. If there’s a receiver to feel safe about drafting for fantasy, Meredith is it.
Cruz is by far the most accomplished receiver on the roster. It’s been a couple of rough seasons for the 30-year-old wide-out. There are plenty of questions on whether or not he can regain his old form and be a relevant piece to an offense that’s going through some rebuilding. He did play 15 games last season, and totalled 586 yards and one touchdown.
Wright is a receiver who’s had some decent seasons, but not recently. His only 1,000 yard receiving season was 2013. Since then, he’s never really been close. Last season he finished with 416 yards and three touchdowns.
Wheaton had five touchdowns and 749 yards in 2015. In 2016 he only played three games, and so far has been out of camp with an appendectomy. It’s hard to project how much he will contribute to this offense in 2017, especially with a small sample size of Glennon.
The safest draftable option of this receiving core is Meredith. There have been reports out of camp that there’s already a chemistry between Glennon and Meredith. If White can show he’s healthy through camp and through preseason, he may be in the mix. He’s still a raw player with a high injury risk. Victor Cruz may show some flash, but probably won’t be on the draft table. He could prove to have some flex play upside. Kendal Wright and Markus Wheaton are waiver wire fodder.
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