Bears Draft Watch: Playmaker McLaurin Could Widen Offensive Possibilities

Our Chicago Bears reporter breaks down the team’s prospective prospects for the NFL draft, which takes place from April 25-27. Read the previous scouting reports here.

By Ryan Bukowiecki (@ryanbski)

Over these past three weeks, the draft features have highlighted potential areas of need if any on the Chicago Bears roster.

The Bears are a pretty complete team on paper but any fan knows that injuries and/or other factors prove paper wrong all the time. In any sport, a team can never have enough good players within roster limits. Any team is a moment away from having a huge player scandal or the numerous freak accidents a player can have.

It is because of the randomness of life that teams are told when drafting to pick best player available over drafting a position of need, especially if a team doesn’t have glaring holes.

The Bears are scheduled to pick at the 87th pick and the team will have the luxury of picking the best player available if they so choose. This means that the Bears could select a player from a position group to an already established group on the roster. For example, the Bears may be tempted to take a wide receiver, a wide receiver by the name of Terry McLaurin. McLaurin hails from the explosive offense at Ohio State who has a rich tradition of NFL receivers.

McLaurin posses speed and had an explosive 40 yard dash at The Combine amongst a good showing overall. McLaurin was inconsistent in his college tape which hurt him in the eyes of scouts, but he responded by having a terrific Senior Bowl with a more refined overall game.

Had McLaurin been more consistent with his play then he likely would be looked at more highly in the draft but he fits the mold of a sleeper mid round playmaker. McLaurin would be a great fit for the Bears wide open offense and he projects to come off the board in the mid to late third round.

Lets take a deeper dive into the blur that is Terry McLaurin.

Combine results:

  • 40 yard dash – 4.35 (Third out of all wide receivers)
  • Bench press – 18 (Tied sixth out of all wide receivers)
  • Vert Jump – 37.5” (Tied seventh out of all wide receivers)
  • Broad Jump – 10’5” (Tied eighth out of all wide receivers)
  • 3 cone drill – 7.01 (Tied tenth out of all wide receivers)
  • 20 yard shuttle – 4.15 (Tied fifth out of all wide receivers)
  • 60 yard shuttle – DNP

Strengths:

  • Has size and speed to play on the outside
  • Good release and hands to beat the press
  • Physical at the top of his routes
  • Crisp in breaks out of cuts
  • Special teams ability as a gunner

Weaknesses:

  • Average at high pointing the football
  • Too much body catching, has to use his hands more
  • Has speed but average quickness
  • Can struggle separating from tight man to man coverage

Fit With the Bears:

McLaurin would fit easily with the Bears and the mix the team already has at wide receiver. First off, he is a special teams player as a gunner. That means even if he is fourth or fifth on the depth chart, he can still contribute on special teams which is what a team needs from a fourth or fifth receiver.

Second, McLaurin has downfield speed even if he lacks the quickness seen from Gabriel or slot receiver Anthony Miller. That downfield speed is an important element to coach Matt Nagy’s offense because it forces teams to dedicate downfield help for their corners.

Safeties that have to play deep will not be able to help stop medium and underneath throws. Thats the area of the field that forces teams to adjust to either leave their corners on an island which makes them susceptible to the deep ball or play more zone. In that sense, McLaurin can be used as a decoy or as a major downfield target.

Another other positive to McLaurin’s placement on the Bears offense is it would add another way to pressure a defense with their speed. Gabriel and Miller are already speedy players at receiver then add running back Tarik Cohen who is lightning. Also add in tight end Trey Burton who is a fast player at the tight end position.

If a defense has to account for four or five fast players on the field at one time, it becomes nearly impossible to expect coverage to hold up downfield. This is a good receiver group in this draft and there is a lot of depth at the position.

The Bears could elect to select a receiver late in the draft or not even draft one at all. If they do select a receiver, expect that player to be a factor on offense and special teams, McLaurin could be a dangerous weapon for an up and coming Bears offense.

Ryan Bukowiecki covers the Chicago Bears and professional football for WARR

One response to “Bears Draft Watch: Playmaker McLaurin Could Widen Offensive Possibilities

  1. Pingback: NFL Draft: A Way-Too-Early Evaluation of the Best Draft Hauls | WARR - We Are Regal Radio·

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