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Chicago Bears 2019 Roster Turnover: Will a number one wide receiver emerge?

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In this 13 part series we’ll take an in depth look at each position group for the Chicago Bears with an eye towards the 2019 season. We’ll speculate on who stays, who goes, and some potential additions we’d like to see general manager Ryan Pace make.

NFL: Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Allen Robinson II - Signed through 2020 - Robinson showed flashes of being the Pro Bowl player he was in Jacksonville before the knee injury, and he was the most targeted Chicago Bears player despite missing three games with injuries. He ended up with 94 targets, 55 receptions, a team leading 754 receiving yards, and 4 touchdowns. The chemistry between Robinson and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky seemed off early due to Robinson recovering from his 2017 knee injury, and I expect the two of them to connect more often next year.

Robinson’s best game of the season came in the wild card game against the Philadelphia Eagles when he went off for 10 catches, 143 yards and a TD. He showed he was the most talented receiver on the roster last year and I expect him to show that again in 2019.

Taylor Gabriel - Signed through 2021 - For a guy as fast has Gabriel is, his 10.3 yards per reception was disappointing. That low average is partly on Trubisky for not always hitting Gabriel in stride so he can rack up the yards after catch, but he also wasn’t utilized in space much. He was only one target behind Robinson (93), but his 67 receptions led all the wide outs on the team. He had 688 yards receiving and 2 TDs. He was third on the team in offensive touches with 76.

I think all the pass catchers on the roster will benefit from the experience of spending a year in the Matt Nagy system. I think Gabriel may see his targets drop in 2019, but I see his production increasing.

Anthony Miller - Signed through 2021 - Miller probably has the potential to be a legit #1WR at some point, but I see him spending next year scratching the surface before blowing up in 2020. Offseason shoulder surgery might slow his development slightly, but he did just lead the Bears in receiving TDs (7). Miller’s role will grow next year and I think he’ll be used all over the offense.

Kevin White - Free agent - After several injuries made it hard to trust him, general manager Ryan Pace had no choice but to add wide outs Robinson, Gabriel, and Miller in one offseason. White’s inability to play special teams and learn all the receiver positions on the offense led to him being inactive for half the season. It’s unfortunate that Pace’s first draft pick spent three years on IR, but there’s no way he returns to the team. He’ll have to revitalize his career somewhere else in 2019.

Josh Bellamy - Free agent - Bellamy is the anti-White. He was undrafted, he had to learn to play every receiver spot on the offense, and he has excelled as a special teamer. All that, plus he’s one of the more popular players on the team. I think the Bears try and bring him back unless another team comes by and offers him starter money.

Javon Wims - Signed through 2021 - Wims flashed in preseason and I expect him to crack the lineup on occasion in 2019. He needed practice reps and time to get better with his technique, so this will be a big offseason for him.

Jordan Williams-Lambert - Signed a reserve/futures contract - The big (6’3”, 228) wide out had a good year in the CFL, and will try and earn a place on the practice squad.

Cyril Grayson - Signed a reserve/futures contract - Grayson is a speedster that didn’t play football in college. The Bears are his fourth team, but if they can unlock his athletic potential there could be something surprising there.

Tanner Gentry - Signed a reserve/futures contract - I think the Gentry experience may be nearing a close in Chicago. But don’t be surprised if he latches on with another team and works his way onto a roster.

2019 OUTLOOK - I think the Bears are set at wide out from one through five (if Bellamy returns), and I can’t see the Bears adding any receivers in the draft. They’ll bring on an undrafted free agent or two, and maybe a couple young veterans for camp, but all those guys will be battling it out for a few spots on the practice squad.

How do you guys like the depth at the position in 2019?