Rookie wide receivers take time to develop in the NFL. Even though we’ve seen more and more wide outs drafted in the early rounds, having a guy step in and consistently play at a high level isn’t always feasible. The professional game has more intricacies than the college game, and pro offenses usually expect more from their receivers. The fact that Anthony Miller was able to step in and contribute as a rookie in the Chicago Bears’ revamped receiving corps speaks to his talent. He led the team in receiving touchdowns (7) and flashed big play potential all year long. While I’m not expecting him to morph into the Bears number one receiver as a second year pro, I think his development is critical to Chicago’s offense taking a big step in production.
He has #1WR talent and I’m excited to see him play in 2019. If he takes the step that many of us expect him to this season, the Bears could have one of the better overall receiving corps in the league, and their 2019 receivers could rival the best ever in franchise history.
The offense will be improved in year two of the Matt Nagy system with Allen Robinson II, Taylor Gabriel, the new running back committee, and the tight ends all catching passes from Mitchell Trubisky, but the confident Miller will bring some swagger to the team. His skill set meshes with the other wide outs as he can play the slot, but also has the strength to play outside. His understanding of the offense will allow him to line up in any WR position, and being healthy will allow him to improve on his 576 offensive snaps (53.6%) from a year ago.
Top to bottom this may be the most talented wide receiving room the Bears have ever had.
As the season wore on Robinson started to show the Pro Bowl talent that he had in Jacksonville. In his last eight games (including the wildcard game) he had 40 catches and 612 yards.
Gabriel has the talent to play outside or in the slot — although he’s mostly used on the outside — and he set career highs in receptions and yards in 2018. We may see Nagy scheme him around the formation a bit more to take advantage of his incredible deep speed up the seam.
Newly signed Cordarrelle Patterson will fill in some gaps at receiver and in the backfield, and rookie Riley Ridley has had an outstanding set of OTAs and will look to keep his momentum going through training camp.
But the key to the group surpassing Chicago’s 2013 or even the 1995 receiving corps is Anthony Miller flourishing in his sophomore season.
I think he’ll up second behind Robinson in targets, receptions and yards in 2019. Where do you think Miller’s stat line ends up this year?