Justin Fields had a rough rookie season. Part of that was due to his own mistakes, but the lack of help around him was an even greater part. The coaching staff was a joke. His protection was lackluster, and his arsenal of weapons was subpar at best. Darnell Mooney was the only receiver to top 500 yards for the season. Allen Robinson checked out. Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd played like the cheap free agents they were.
This group needs an overhaul in the worst way. That is why many believe GM Ryan Poles will prioritize wide receiver in the upcoming NFL draft. The problem is the Bears don’t pick until the 2nd round. So landing a top-tier target could prove challenging without a bit of luck. Well, NFL.com draft expert Chad Reuter seems to think they’ll get it. He covered the first three rounds in his first mock draft of the offseason. His first choice for the Bears at the 39th pick was a considerable shock.
None other than Ohio State standout Chris Olave.
A considerable surprise since many believe he was a 1st round lock by the end of 2021. It seems some don’t agree with that assumption. The primary concerns with him center on size and strength. At 6’1, 188 lbs he isn’t the biggest guy on the field and many have concerns about how he couldn’t handle more physical cornerbacks at times. Yet Reuter’s colleague Lance Zierlein is a big fan of his game.
“The quiet storm of the Ohio State wide receiver corps, Olave is smooth, steady and makes things happen. His movements are fluid and easy from snap to the catch and all points between. He’s fast but efficient and plays with the bend and foot agility to uncover on all three levels. Olave possesses natural, well-rounded ball skills but needs to add play strength to ward off the physical challenges that are headed his way. His play traits should allow for success beyond the scheme and talent advantages surrounding him at Ohio State.”
One person that would be salivating at the idea of Olave coming to Chicago is Fields himself. They spent two years together at Ohio State in 2019 and 2020. During that stretch, the wide receiver posted 98 catches for 1,569 yards and 19 touchdowns in 20 games. Every time Fields seemed to deliver a dagger on opponents, Olave made that big catch. Their chemistry was obvious.
Justin Fields will be the focus over the next two months
Poles made that clear enough during his first appearances with the media. This regime understands how vital the young quarterback is to their initial success this coming season. If they can put a strong supporting cast in place, it isn’t crazy to think the Bears can compete for a playoff spot. That makes the agenda simple. Take the resources available and invest them in weapons and protection.
Olave ending up in Chicago would be a huge step in the right direction. His game would translate well to the NFL. The reservations about his strength are valid, but great route runners with speed always find success at this level. Combine that with his already proven chemistry with Justin Fields and it’d be a no-brainer.
As always, it feels like this is nothing more than wishful thinking.
The thought that Olave will somehow slip past the first 38 picks of the draft is difficult to see happening. Especially with so many other teams needing more weapons for their own quarterbacks. Then again, the NFL sees crazy stuff happen in April every year. If the receiver is on the board, Poles has every reason to pull the trigger.
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