Alright, I figured I'd take the time to do a quick breakdown of what I think should be the true offensive battle in training camp, the battle for the sixth WR spot. Rank the rest of the wide receivers however you please, but of all the news actually coming out of the Bears camp points to the Bears being fairly happy with all of their rookies so far. There is also a lot being made about the older "rookie" Rideau for the first time since he joined the team.
With Hester guaranteed the WR1 position, and Bennett's 2nd year status, combined with his history with Cutler, that leaves three or four WR slots open. Between Rideau/ Igleasis/ Knox who have all received rave reviews so far; that likely takes care of three more slots. To me that leaves us at a battle between the much maligned veteran and the blank slate rookie, and today I'm going to try to let us take a better look at this match up and what I think would be the more beneficial option for our team.
Tale of the Tape: There is a little bit of difficulty here getting a straight across comparison due to the lack of 40 times I've been able to find on Rashied coming out of college. However Peterman's 40 time at his pro day averaged a 4.46 with a three cone time of 6.58, which was one of the best in the draft. Peterman stands at 6-1, and weighs in at a solid 200lb. Rashied measures out at 5-9 and weighs in at a compact 187.
Special Teams Prowess: Both players are capable special teams players, and able to play all four phases to one extent or another. Rashied Davis's stand out ST contribution is usually seen as his above average return skills and usually sure tackling. Peterman is a four tier special teamer out of Northwestern who fielded returns as well, but his best contribution was as a gunner.
Ability at WR: Both players have had success in one form or another prior to joining the Bears. Davis led the AFL champion Sabercats in all purpose yards in '04, and caught 46 passes for 484 yards and 4 TD. Since then, he's been really hit and miss with a few outstanding plays and a lot of dropped balls. Here is his statline since 2006.
2008 CHI 16 35 445 12.7 36 2 1 10.0 2007 CHI 16 17 165 9.7 36 0 12 14.0 2006 CHI 16 22 303 13.8 31 2 32 23.5
Peterman was a productive player for Northwestern since his Freshman year starting on ST, and after some experimentation his sophmore year at DB, he began playing WR fulltime. Over his four years he became seventh on the all time receptions list and TD list, and fourth on the all time yardage list at NU. Ended up as a starting inside WR and ended his college career with 29 straight games with a reception. His stats at WR were as follows.
YEAR REC YDS AVG LNG TD ATT YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST 2005 12 181 15.1 67 2 1 -1 -1.0 0 0 0 0 2006 23 349 15.2 52 1 3 8 2.7 4 0 0 0 2007 66 744 11.3 70 3 13 58 4.5 21 0 0 0 2008 59 737 12.5 53 6 5 4 0.8 15 0 0 0
For Your Viewing Pleasure: Here are a couple of YouTube highlight reels so that everyone can get some Peterman and Davis fresh on their minds before we dig into the Droppapotamus vs The Great Unknown grudge match. Sadly, I know Davis has more highlights than this but even after scouring I couldn't find hardly anything for him. Poor guy.
Conclusion: I'm going to get straight to the point and then explain why. I think Peterman is a much better choice for the final WR spot than Davis. Davis's claim to fame on ST is returns, which we're pretty much set at with Hester and Manning stepping up last year. The rest of his ST game is average to above average, and as most of this board and others agree, his issue with drops at the WR position almost entirely negate some of the clutch catches he has had. I've never seen anything spectacular carry over from his return game, like elusiveness, to the slot position.
I'm not saying that Peterman is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but he does offer some of the same things that Davis does. He's above average to average in all aspects of ST, while excelling as a gunner instead of returns. He has more size and bulk than Rashied making for a bit more powerful receiver, and likely better on the goal line as well. He also doesn't seem to have the same history of drops as Davis in anything I could find. Another small thing to note is that Davis would be making somewhere along the lines of eight times what Peterman would be making for the same backup role.
Considering how little a third string WR is going to see the field, having a good sized four phase STer in that position would be a huge boon allowing us to develop him while contributing. On the flip side of this argument, it doesn't help us much having Davis sitting around playing nothing but ST if the entire point is for him to be teaching our young players. Speaking of that, I'm not so sure I want him teaching them much of anything. I really fear his level of the dropsies is contagious. However, there was already a nice long Davis bashing article that was very informative a few days ago.
So what does everyone else think? Is Peterman the right call, or should we stick with the guy we know in Davis?