Prospect Watch: NFL Combine WR

WR Johnny Knox (AP: Nam Y. Huh)

The Chicago Bears found themselves a bargain last season with Abilene Christian's Johnny Knox in the fifth round. At the Scouting Combine, the team held a formal interview with another small-school WR.

The second of two wide receivers selected by the Midway Monsters in the 2009 NFL Draft, Johnny Knox burst onto the scene as a rookie and ended up participating in the Pro Bowl as a return man.

While third-round selection Juaquin Iglesias spent almost the entire season as a game-day inactive and is yet to catch his first pass, fifth rounder Knox became a part of the receiver rotation when Devin Aromashodu pulled up lame with a minor quad injury before Week 1. The speedster from Abilene Christian did not disappoint, ending the campaign with 45 catches for 527 yards and five touchdowns. Also a dangerous return man on special teams, the 6-0, 180-pounder averaged 29.0 yards on 32 kickoff returns – highlighted by a 102-yard TD that helped beat the Lions in Week 4.

Perhaps Chicago is trying to catch lightning in a bottle again this year, as another small-school pass catcher has popped up on their radar.

Scout.com senior NFL analyst Ed Thompson has confirmed that the Bears held a formal interview at the Scouting Combine with Ohio receiver Taylor Price.


WR Taylor Price
AP Images: Darron Cummings

As a senior, Price led the Bobcats with 56 receptions and 784 receiving yards while reeling in five TDs through the air. Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com said Price reminded him of Knox at the Senior Bowl, mostly because of "his explosive speed and body control to adjust to poorly thrown passes." According to Michael Schottey, who put together his pool report at the combine, he walked away from the workout believing Price to be "a tough, fluid receiver" and was impressed by his ability "to make plays on several poorly thrown balls from the quarterbacks in the group."

The 6-0, 198-pound Price is currently the No. 20 receiver available for the 2010 NFL Draft according to Scout.com, but he seems to be on the rise.

JC's Take: The Monsters of the Midway have focused their efforts on these three wideouts at this point leading up to the draft: Price, Clemson's Jacoby Ford and Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard.

Even though most everyone believes the Bears are in desperate need of a legitimate No. 1 to pair with quarterback Jay Cutler, all three of these guys are expected to be complementary offensive weapons and special-teams performers at the next level. Price and Ford certainly helped themselves in Indianapolis, but Gilyard had a sloppy workout and gave the impression he had never run a route before. Maybe it's just a sign of the times since general manager Jerry Angelo won't be on the clock until Round 3, as he is yet to target any pass-catching prospect that figures to develop into a primary target on Sunday.

But remember, teams are only allowed 60 formal interviews at the Scouting Combine, so the fact that Angelo and Co. spent one of them on Price means there must be some genuine interest in him.

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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.

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