Darrius Heyward-Bey Is Not Who The Bears Need

Maryland receiver offers speed and not much else

On Thursday ESPN's Dynamic Draft Duo Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both released their latest NFL mock drafts, and in it both agreed that the Bears should take Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey with the 18th pick of the first round.  For the sake of the team, we should probably all be hoping that Jerry Angelo does not read these mock drafts because Heyward-Bey is not the answer the Bears should be looking for.

The team needs all the help it can get at receiver, but all too often it turns out that wideouts taken in the first round of the draft turn out to be busts.  Just go look at the David Terrell jersey hanging in the deep recesses of your closet if you need a reminder of this.  What makes the idea of drafting Heyward-Bey worse though is Kiper and McShay's reasoning for it.

Here's Kiper's reasoning: "Heyward-Bey's awesome size-speed ratio should win out here and give the Bears the kind of wideout they need to open up the passing game."

And McShay's: "The Bears need a receiver capable of stretching the field vertically. Heyward-Bey's combine-best 40 time (4.30 seconds) is all you need to know right here."

What makes this pick so incredibly dumb is that the only reason Heyward-Bey has climbed up any body's draft boards this year is because of that 40-yard dash time of 4.30 seconds, which was quicker than any other receiver in the draft. That's the only thing the kid has going for him, and frankly, that won't help the Bears.

We'll just move past the fact that 40-yard dash times don't really mean anything considering that a receiver spends most of his time running five and ten yard routes that are more reliant on precision cuts than all-out sprints and point out that the Bears aren't exactly lacking a speed threat on the outside.  Last time anybody looked, Devin Hester was still pretty fast, yet, somehow, he's not a great receiver.  Sure, Willie Gault worked for the Bears in the 80's but that team also had Dennis McKinnon lining up on the other side of the field doing a lot of the dirty work, and some guy named Walter Payton doing everything else.

The Bears should focus on improving either their offensive or defensive lines during the first round of the draft.  Both would go a far longer way in improving the team on either side of the ball than some speed burning receiver who can do nothing but run a fly route and have Kyle Orton miss him by fifteen yards on a deep ball.

Along with writing for NBCCHICAGO.com, Tom Fornelli can also be found contributing at FanHouse, SPORTSbyBROOKS, and his own Chicago sports blog Foul Balls.  He runs the 40 in 4.3 minutes.

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