The Monsters of the Midway didn't exactly conjure up images of Air Coryell in 2007 through the air, and things might get worse before they get better. Two-time leading receiver Muhsin Muhammad was released Feb. 18, while Bernard Berrian, who paced the team in catches this past season with 71, will become an unrestricted free agent for the first time Friday. The team is in pretty good shape at tight end with veteran Desmond Clark and youngster Greg Olsen, but the wideout position is currently in a state of disrepair.
With very little available on the free agent market aside from Berrian, GM Jerry Angelo simply must target at least one pass-catcher in this April's NFL Draft – and he's already eyeballed a potential prospect.
WR Earl Bennett
Mark Humphrey/AP Images
Bear Report has confirmed that Bears officials have spent considerable time in Indianapolis scouting Earl Bennett of Vanderbilt, the leading receiver in the storied history of the SEC.
Highly productive for the Commodores right out of high school, Bennett set a SEC freshman record with 79 receptions playing with eventual first-round signal-caller Jay Cutler. But he proved that he didn't need Cutler in order to succeed in Nashville, reeling in 82 passes as a sophomore and another 75 as a junior after Cutler left – Bennett chose to forego his senior season. Known as a great route-runner with good hands, he's sturdy enough at 205 pounds to handle the punishment over the middle and has a reputation for being a tough player.
Bennett will most likely work out of the slot at the next level, but scouts have still given him a second- or third-round grade in what is considered a deep class of receivers.
The Bears have only three wideouts currently under contract who were on the roster in 2007, and the triumvirate of Mark Bradley, Devin Hester, and Mike Hass caught just 26 balls combined – including none for Hass.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.