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NFL Draft

Darnell Mooney A Bright Spot For Bears Offense

  • The Draft Network
  • November 2, 2020
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Off to a 5-3 start, it’s fair to say that the Chicago Bears' season thus far hasn’t lacked any entertainment. With Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace in the midst of a crucial third year together, the team seems to have developed a certain identity. Having a strong defense has been the mantra of the organization since the glory days as the Monsters of the Midway and that sentiment has remained the same.

With the Bears defense off to another strong start this season, all eyes are on the offense as it has been a model of inconsistency since Nagy’s first season. With Nick Foles overtaking Mitchell Trubisky following the team pulling the plug on the former No. 2 overall pick early in the season, the offense has been much the same. The former Super Bowl MVP has struggled to re-find his magic that made him a legend forever in Philadelphia sports.

On an offense that has struggled to find its rhythm, one of the few bright spots has been the emergence of fifth-round rookie Darnell Mooney, who caught five passes for 69 yards and a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Both Nagy and Pace have openly admitted that the Day 3 pick has far exceeded expectations and has been better than they could’ve imagined this early on. Wide receiver has proven to be such a hit or miss position with rookies, but the team seems to have struck gold with the former Tulane star. In a surprise Week 1 debut, Mooney managed to collect three receptions for 38 yards, but it was his first NFL touchdown reception against the New York Giants the following week that made many rise up in their chairs while watching the electric rookie.

Coming into the draft process, Mooney was known for his knack to get open, suddenness as a route-runner, and sure hands, but size is a factor that caused him to stumble to the fifth round. Mooney’s commitment to the game was always the first factor mentioned about him and he proved that as his first purchase after signing his contract was an in-house JUGS machine. That was his way of stealing extra reps and improving his hands along the way. 

Allen Robinson is widely known as the team’s No.1 option, but with him working the short-to-intermediate areas of the field, Mooney has proven to be a great complementary piece opposite of the offense’s top option. Speeding past the competition, the former Tulane product is second on the team in receiving yards (305) and third on the team in catches (43). 

Still working to find chemistry with Foles, there have been plenty of opportunities where the two have failed to hook up down the field. Mooney has continued to find separation down the field, but other constant variables have prevented Foles from targeting the talented rookie even more to this point.

Regardless, the Bears' offense has easily remained the team's biggest question mark, but a bright spot on the perimeter has been Mooney. With Robinson gaining much of the attention, the promising fifth-round selection has continued to steal the show when given opportunities to make plays down the field. In a season that’s been an enjoyable ride on defense, the offense has nearly been the opposite, but Mooney has helped fans cope with the franchise's struggle to move the ball consistently. 

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