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Darnell Mooney could be late round steal for Bears

WR Darnell Mooney was taken 173rd by the Chicago Bears. Will he be able to make the roster and have fantasy value in his career?

Darnell Mooney #3 of the Tulane Green Wave catches the ball as Ja’Sir Taylor #24 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons defends during the second half on August 30, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears have a bunch of receivers after Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller, but have yet to have one step up and produce in a meaningful way. They hope Tulane’s Darnell Mooney can help improve their aerial attack. Chicago selected the wideout with the 173rd pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Mooney matched his career high of 48 receptions in 2019 for 713 yards and five scores. That was a step down from the previous year, as he notched 48 receptions for 993 yards and eight scores in his junior year.

Scouting Report

What Mooney lacks in size and strength, he makes up for in speed. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at the NFL scouting combine, making him one of the Bears’ faster players. He has a variety of releases and understands leverage. While he can turn short plays into big gains, he can struggle against physical cornerbacks in press coverage and doesn’t provide much blocking upside.

While Mooney is a smaller receiver that lacks length and play strength, he’s a dynamic athlete that has enough technique early in routes to create leverage and create significant separation. Mooney has a chance to be a dynamic playmaker in the NFL that can take the top off the defense and create offense after the catch. Developing more consistency with his hands, improving his route technique/tempo and overcoming his slender build are key to reaching his ceiling. — The Draft Network’s Joe Marino

Fantasy football impact

Robinson and Miller are the top two receivers, but Chicago added Ted Ginn Jr. as a potential WR3 this offseason. Ginn is faster than Mooney but has also had the consistency of his hands questioned. The veteran will likely win out here, which makes Mooney ending up as a WR4 or specialty slot option seem likely. Mooney has the tools to be more than a gadget player, but it’s hard to see him getting a ton of snaps with this group.