Darnell Mooney up for the challenge of being Bears’ No. 1 receiver

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Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney has gotten off to an impressive start in his NFL career. The former fifth-round pick emerged as Chicago’s WR2 immediately as a rookie before recording his first 1,000-yard season in 2021.

Last season, Mooney emerged as Chicago’s top wideout and arguably quarterback Justin Fields’ favorite target. But following the departure of Allen Robinson in free agency, Mooney is now the WR1, which means he’s going to be the main focus of opposing defenses.

For Mooney, he’s up for the challenge of embracing the WR1 role, where he’s even ready to serve as a decoy to help his teammates, if needed.

“I’m ready for whatever anybody brings to me,” Mooney said, via The Gadsden Times. “I’m ready for any task, any type of defense that we’re seeing, whatever it is, anyway, I can help the team. You know, if I get double teamed, I’ll be a decoy for the team so everybody else can be open. I mean, I’m good with that. Anyway I can help win.”

The Bears receiving corps have been a topic of criticism for NFL analysts throughout the offseason. Mooney is the only proven commodity on the roster following the departures of Robinson, Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd.

Chicago added some intriguing options this offseason in speedsters Byron Pringle and third-round rookie Velus Jones Jr., but they’re new to the starting lineup. Mooney will be Fields’ top target, as well as the player opposing defenses will look to shut down, which should open up opportunities for Pringle and Jones.

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