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PFF gives Bears WR room unique distinction ahead of 2024 regular season

Most folks who follow the NFL are high on the Bears’ wide receiver room this season. But Pro Football Focus has taken their praise of DJ Moore, Keenan Allen and Rome Odunze to a new level.

In a column published last week, Sam Monson argued that all three of the Bears wideouts are among the top-32 in the league. In other words, all three are worthy of being called a WR1.

Monson has Moore leading the way at No. 12 on his list. That’s just behind Stefon Diggs and Puka Nacua.

Justin Fields was not seeing the game well at all early in the year, and despite that, DJ Moore was still able to rack up 1,364 yards at 2.31 yards per route run,” Monson wrote. “He has proven to be an exceptionally effective receiver in all areas regardless of quarterback during his career.”

Moore has been one of the most consistent wide receivers in the league since the Panthers drafted him in the first round of the 2018 season. He enjoyed the best season of his career last year– his first with the Bears.

Next for the Bears is Keenan Allen, who slots between Marvin Harrison Jr. and Jaylen Waddle at No. 22.

“Keenan Allen had 97 targets across his top seven games last season for the Chargers and racked up 1,243 yards in only 13 games. He was moved on because of a bloated contract he refused to take a pay cut on, but now, he brings one of the best route-running arsenals to Chicago to help rookie Caleb Williams.”

Allen turned 32 years old last month, but his route-running prowess should help him remain effective at his “advanced” age. Allen has relied on precision and technique rather than blazing speed throughout his career, so there should be concerns about him losing a step in Chicago.

Finally, Odunze rounds out the group at No. 29 on PFF’s list. That puts him between Michael Pittman Jr. and George Pickens

“Rome Odunze would have been the first receiver drafted in most normal years but was the third off the board in this loaded draft class. Odunze brings an athletic profile to the table that can dominate NFL-level athletes and is especially good at winning contested catches.”

Even though Odunze was the third wide receiver off the board in the draft, few pass catchers in his class could match his 2023 output. Among WRs with 100 targets, Odunze ranked first in yards (1,639), first downs (74), contested catches (21) and contested catch rate (75%). His 15.5 yard average depth of target ranked second, his 13 TDs were tied for fourth and his 3.2% drop rate ranked sixth in the nation.

The Bears are the only team with three wide receivers in PFF’s top 32. The 49ers (Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk), Rams (Cooper Kupp, Nacua), Texans (Diggs, Nico Collins), Eagles (A.J. Brown, Devonta Smith), Dolphins (Tyreek Hill, Waddle), Buccaneers (Mike Evans, Chris Godwin), Bengals (Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins) were the teams with two WRs on the list.

With so many pass catching threats on the Bears, Moore has said it will be a “race to 1,000 yards.” Odunze has embraced the competitive spirit, too.

“What I want in a wide receiver room is for everybody to think they’re Wide Receiver 1,” Odunze said before the first day of rookie minicamp. “That’s the mindset that I bring into the room and it’s a friendly competition.”

That said, drama is not expected in Halas Hall if one wide receiver outpaces the others this year. None of the Bears pass catchers would be described as a “diva” like some others who play the position across the league.

“At the end of the day I want the best for the brotherhood beside me,” Odunze said. “I’m going to run every route and do every concept to perfection, even if I’m the main read or they’re the main read, because I think that’s what it’s about when the brotherhood is in the room.”

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