"As they speed through the finish, the flags go down. The fans get up and they get out of town. The arena is empty except for one man. Still driving and striving as fast as he can"
It's almost all said and done, our starting six have all been chosen by the fans in the following order as the guys they wanted to see on the Bears this season. Devin Aromashodu, Johnny Knox, and Devin Hester got nods as the first three off the board, and the final trio consisted of Earl Bennett, Juaquin Igleasis, and Freddie Barnes. Not a bad player in the bunch in my opinion, and we'll take a quite look at the ones we've already mentioned, as well as the final additions below the fold. However, first things first, who is going to fill that mythical seventh wide receiver slot? Which special teams focused player is going to be something special for the Bears this year?
It's time for the final showdown between Eric Peterman, and Rashied Davis. Two men enter, and one Bear remains standing. Choose your sides folks, and join us in the comments to offer your feelings about the Bears receiver group this year.
First to bring us up to speed, we'll throw a few links to the previous breakdowns on the first three before we talk about the last three that made the team.
Devin Aromashodu - Tall receiver, with good hands. Known chemistry with franchise quarterback. Has spent a lot of time learning different playbooks over the years with various teams, so should be able to make a quick study of the new Martzfence.
Johnny Knox - An absolute burner at receiver with not only amazing straight-line speed, but well above-average quickness as well. Good vision, good hands, and has the drive to fight for the ball and be a scrapper despite his size disadvantage at times. Makes good use of his natural athleticism.
Devin Hester - The man, the myth, the Windy City Flyer. Hester is essentially a faster, quicker version of Johnny Knox, but without the polish or fire that Knox seems to have. Hester seemed to find a bit of that grit toward the middle of last season, but it remains to be seen if he can carry it over. If he can, look to see that spark stoked into an inferno and burning down defenses in the league this coming season.
With 62% of the vote, and almost 600 votes in total Earl Bennett comes in as a solid number 4.
Earl Bennett - This guy is the real deal when it comes what he does well, and he'll either be a name by the end of the year, or he'll be fighting to remain on the team next season. Earl Bennett is a route-running phenom, known very well for his extremely crisp routes, and ability to change directions on a dime. A distinct lack of elite-level speed, but his velvet hands, and high-level awareness make him a monster in traffic. Well-versed in using his body to protect the ball and make the catch, and has shown the knack to shake the defender loose if the make the mistake of trying to do anything but bring this workhorse down immediately. If there was a wide-receiver on this team made for Martzfence it's Earl Bennett, so here is hoping he shines.
With 16% and 14% of the vote respectively, Juaquin Igleasis, and Freddie Barnes are very much the developmental players you would expect, but there are known unknowns, and unknown unknowns, and Juaquin Igleasis is a known unknown.
Juaquin Igleasis - In my opinion a very similar player to Earl Bennett, just with a slightly different focus. Earl Bennett is a bit more of a possession guy and his routes are quite a bit more exacting, whereas Juaquin Igleasis wouldn't look out of place as a KR or PR in the stylings of Daniel Manning. You might see Earl Bennett fight out a yard or two on just about every play, but Igleasis has the ability to break one for an extra ten or twelve every now and then. Very similar players, and since I really like Earl Bennett, I definitely have room for Juaquin Igleasis on our team.
Freddie Barnes - And here he is, an award winning wide receiver with amazing hands, not to mention tough as nails, but is downplayed more often than not because he just doesn't have that NFL #1 WR speed. He runs his routes well, and again has hands many quarterbacks would give a couple of million to throw to because if you can get it anywhere near him, he's probably going to end up with the ball. This guy is definitely a developmental guy, because while you can't develop speed, you can develop the ability to create separation which is going to a must if Barnes wants to stick on the roster as a back up, or eventually even getting some in-game playing time.
So with all of that said, I'm really excited about our group of wide receivers. I think we've got the exact kind of skill sets across the various guys that can make a Martz offense run like a well oiled machine. A lot of good route runners, as long as they know their routes, a lot of guys that can make those hard catches over the middle, and some guys with all world speed that can just burn you to a crisp. Throw in some very talented tight ends, and a pair of running backs with fantastic hands and there is a 95% chance of it raining touchdowns in Soldier Field this year.