When the Chicago Bears selected Darnell Mooney, a wide receiver out of Tulane University in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, many were left scratching their heads. However, the first seven weeks for the rookie have yielded impressive results on a struggling offensive unit.
Right after the draft, I had the privilege to speak to Tulane’s offensive coordinator Will Hall about Mooney and his fit in Chicago. Hall immediately thought that the Bears hit a home run with their fifth-round pick and would be surprised as to how quickly the speedy receiver would adjust to the NFL. There were doubts regarding Mooney being undersized, as he measures 5-foot-10 and 176 lbs, but his former coordinator explained that his traits would silence the critiques. So far, that has been the case.
The 22-year-old pass-catcher saw six targets combined in the first two weeks and converted on all of them for 74 yards and his first career NFL touchdown against the New York Giants. Since Week 3, his targets have increased to five or more in every contest with average yards per reception of just over 11.0 across 15 additional catches, totaling 21 on the year for 236 yards.
Mooney is second on the team behind only Allen Robinson for receiving yards, ranks fourth in total receptions, and sits at third in targets. Clearly, he has become one of Nick Foles’ more appealing options and will likely continue an upward trend in each of the aforementioned categories.
That being said, questions begin to surface surrounding Anthony Miller. Mooney leads the former 2018 second-round pick in virtually every category. Miller has seen a drop off in targets and overall production since Week 1, as the reigns of the complementary role to Robinson have been handed over to the fresh draft pick. As the season progresses, keep an eye on #11’s value for this Bears’ offense as they try to sort things out.
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