Will Bears WR Darnell Mooney become a household name after 2022 season?

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There’s been plenty of criticism surrounding Bears quarterback Justin Fields’ supporting cast entering Year 2. But one player who could be emerging as a breakout candidate is wide receiver Darnell Mooney, who’s stepping into the role of WR1 in Chicago.

Mooney established himself as the Bears’ top target a season ago — recording his first 1,000-yard season — but he had the added benefit of playing second fiddle to Allen Robinson. Now, Mooney’s the top option, and Chicago’s hoping he and Fields can become a potent duo.

While Mooney isn’t someone most NFL fans are familiar with, Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr boldly predicts that will change after the 2022 season.

Bold prediction: Darnell Mooney will finish the season as a household name
I recognize the hypocrisy of this statement given how harsh I’ve been on the Bears and how they’re building around Justin Fields. But they can still put together a struggling offense and have one capable wide receiver who puts up monstrous numbers.

Mooney is the only proven wide receiver on the Bears’ roster. Chicago added some intriguing names in Byron Pringle, who was buried on Kansas City’s depth chart, and third-round rookie Velus Jones Jr. Still, Mooney should be Fields’ top target this season.

This offseason, Fields and Mooney have been training together often to continue to build their chemistry on the field. Last season, we saw glimpses of what this duo could become. The hope is that translates to on-field success in 2022.

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