The Chicago Bears are in desperate need of wide receiver with Devin Hester being relegated completely to the return game and only three receivers who have veteran experience in the NFL. Seventh round draft choice Marquess Wilson was seen as a steal in the seventh round of the NFL Draft, a player who could be counted on to potentially make the 53-man roster. However after rookie mini-camp OTAs and the veteran mini-camp it's become apparent early on that Wilson make struggle to make the roster.
Yesterday I had discussion with Jeremy Stoltz of Bear Report magazine and had an opportunity to watch some video he took from mini-camp and it's apparent that Wilson is every part of a seventh round draft choice. While Wilson is big, athletic and talented he struggles running routes, has severe lapses in concentration, and the moment may have one of the worst pairs of hands on the team. The rookie is buried on the depth chart at this point behind Marshall, Jeffery, Bennett, Hester (returner) Eric Weems Joe Anderson and eventually he could be stranded behind Devin Aromashodu who is back for his second stint with the Bears.
During his last stint in Chicago, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler made it clear his fondness for Aromashodu as a player and a weapon. Armoashodu is also one of the Bears' best depth threats on the team which gives him a big advantage over other players who can't stretch the field like he can.
The Bears aren't likely to keep more than six receivers so for Wilson to make the 53-man roster and not wind up on the practice squad he'll have to pull out a very strong mini-camp and set of four preseason games. Wilson also didn't help himself by missing some workouts with a minor hamstring injury with starters Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery also missing time.
In the absence of the two incumbents second year receiver Joe Anderson has stepped up his game immensely and is pushing to be the fourth receiver on the roster. Anderson who spent most of last season wallowing on the practice squad has shown he's for real throughout the off-season. Anderson is a legitimate play maker with solid hands, good ball skills and shown a feel for finding the soft spots in zone coverage.
To this point in the season Anderson is likely the MVP of the off-season schedule and will be the key player to watch in 2013. Even with Wilson not living up to the second day draft prospect label some analysts gave him, he can easily follow the same path as Anderson. The learning curve for a rookie receiver is steep and stressful and Wilson would likely benefit from winding up on the practice squad and then trying to attain what Anderson has this year.