The third round may be a tad early for the Bears to consider drafting a wide receiver given their needs at safety and along the offensive line. However a prospect to keep an eye on that has garnered attention from the Bears’ coaching staff is wide receiver from Ohio University Taylor Price. He was one of three receivers the Bears singled at during the Senior Bowl week and since then has only continued to rise up the draft boards.
Price comes from a small school, small conference but shouldn’t be overlooked based on the level of competition he’s faced. At 6-foot- 204-pounds with a 40-yard dash time in the low 4.4s Price is a decent consideration given his strength and vertical leap. At the NFL combine he was one of the top performers amongst the receivers in both vertical jump and bench press.
Beyond those combine numbers Price has shown all the important intangibles you look for in a receiver, good hands, excellent body control and the ability go get separation in and out of his breaks. Price is a good route runner which combined with his speed makes him a desirable prospect at the next level.
Possibly the only thing keeping Price out of the first round is his ideal lack of height for a true number one receiver and his lack of superb production during his career at Ohio. His career numbers are respectable but not on the same level of production as other small school success stories. Career numbers of 149 receptions for 2,019 yards 14 touchdowns aren’t quite the level of production you’d like to see, it’s not a sign of dominating that level of competition.
However the fact that he shows the abilities is why is so high up on the draft boards, rated amongst the Top-7 receivers in this year’s draft. Price has drawn a lot of comparisons to current Chicago Bear player Johnny Knox showing a lot of the same abilities that Knox showed during his rookie year. Price also has the same measurables as Torry Holt did coming out of college as well.
The likelihood that the Bears bring aboard another receiver, this early in the draft who doesn’t project as a true number one receiver remains iffy. Even with Mike Martz having a strong desire to have lots of solid pass catchers within his offense plus the fact that Martz has had success within his offense without a true tall go getter, it seems only a remote possibility they would draft Price.
More surprising things have happened however, and usually in the third level of the draft teams draft based on potential rather than need. That’s what Price offers is a boat load of untapped potential that could give Jay Cutler yet another down the field threat with the ability to make plays anywhere else on the field because he gets off of press coverage well and runs crisp routes. As equally as important to speed is having the ability to get open and Price shows time and again the ability to get open, catch the pass get YAC or make difficult catches in traffic.
Only time will tell if his solid work out numbers from the Senior Bowl on through to his pro day will be enticing enough for the Bears to call his number in the early part of the third round.