Jeffery looks to fill big WR shoes with Bears

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105Continuing series on Chicago Bears position groups heading into training camp.

By Connor Curts, Associate Editor
With Brandon Marshall – the Bears’ clear number one receiver for the past few seasons – being traded to the New York Jets by the new management regime, experts and fans are looking to Alshon Jeffery to be the team’s new go-to guy.

Jeffery is entering his 4th season with the Bears, and his contract is up at the end of the season, so he has to prove his worth. He’s certainly shown he has what it takes, making many highlight reel catches, but will he continue his success now that defenses will be able to focus more attention on him? Going up and catching the ball in traffic isn’t a tough task for Jeffery, but he’ll definitely be doing it a lot more often.

Jeffery needs to become more consistent on a game-to-game basis. His spectacular grabs are great, but too often his production fluctuated. While soft-spoken, he also could become more demonstrative as the leader of the wide receiver group.

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The number two spot has been promised to no one, though it would be safe to assume 1st round draft pick Kevin White will win the spot. He possesses some explosive traits but isn’t a finished product after leaving school early. He’ll need to improve his route running from the simplified scheme he played in at West Virginia, but all in all looks to be a promising young player for the Bears.

Hopes are high that Eddie Royal and Jay Cutler can rediscover their chemistry from back in Denver, when Cutler went to the Pro Bowl in 2008, Royal’s rookie season. Royal is a savvy vet who works well underneath and is a dangerous red zone weapon. He’ll be fighting Marquess Wilson for playing time this year, but Royal’s past experience with Cutler gives him an edge.

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e="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: medium;">Speaking of Wilson, he turned in a disappointing 2014 after a training camp injury (broken collarbone) kept him sidelined until November. Wilson is a lanky strider with deceptive speed and above average hands. His slim build works against him in defeating the jam, but he has potential if he can stay healthy and put it all together.

Beyond the top four wideouts, the talent pool is shallow with a mix of undrafted free agents and street free agents with limited NFL experience.