Prior to 2012 the Bears acquired Brandon Marshall for two 3rd round picks. In that very same off-season the Bears traded up in the 2012 NFL Draft to grab Alshon Jeffery. The 2012 season didn't reap the rewards of those 2 as many would've speculated. Marshall really was the only productive piece of an offensive that ranked in the bottom half of the league. Alshon suffered a broken hand and missed significant time. All while the offense and it's "Randy Ratio" being applied to Brandon Marshall by the first time coordinator Mike Tice.
2013 showcased a completely different story for those 2. Marshall recorded his 2nd straight 100 catch season (also good for the 4th time eclipsing that mark in his career. He also registered his 7th straight 1000 yard campaign and 12 touchdowns to complete the season.. All these accomplishments allowed Alshon Jeffery to break into the spotlight as well. Leading the Bears in receiving yards totaling 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns on 89 grabs.
The common denominator, an offensive head coach with knowledge of a QB friendly system whom knew how to showcase the special sets of skills that his two biggest and best targets offered in a "west coast based system" along with steadied play along the offensive line.
The 2014 season could and should bring just as much excitement from the wide receiver corps. Jeffery will be entering his 3rd NFL season (traditionally where receivers see biggest developmental strides). The prospects of the 3rd wide receiver could be very much intriguing.
Marquess Wilson is entering this season as the favorite to win the 3rd spot on the depth chart, having spent all off-season working out with Jeffery and Marshall in Florida. He was once thought of to be a 2nd-3rd round prospect coming out of Washington State University finishing up his nine game campaign with 52 receptions, 813 yards and 5 TDs. His 2013 dismissal was due to differences (abuse) with head coach, Mike Leach.
Though the front runner for the job it will not just be handed over to him. Josh Morgan (6 year verteran from Virginia Tech) was brought in to compete for the 3rd wide receiver spot along with Wilson. Though he lost his job last season in the cluster situation of Washington. He comes with previous successes in the NFL. Hauling in 48 grabs for 510 yards and two touchdowns during the 2012 season. He also has a physicality to his game at 6'1" and 220 lbs. He's a very willing and good blocker, and hits the RAC (run after catch). As evidence by his 12.5 yards per reception. Despite his off-field issue (arrest that was taken care of.), Morgan is potentially a lock to make the team.
After the four aforementioned names there is Josh Bellamy, Armanti Edwards (former Appalachian St. QB), Michael Spurlock, Terrence Tolliver, Eric Weems and Chris Williams. Most players listed were brought in for the open return-man competition. Toliver has spent time with Chicago on a couple of occasions and he also presents another big body at 6'5" and 205 lbs.
Chris Williams is also an interesting case, as he's dynamite in the return game. Known as the "Canadian Devin Hester," returning six to the house and totaling 1,198 punt return yards. The organization seems to like him, evident by his $100,000 signing bonus to acquire him off of the Saints practice squad.
Eric Weems, entering his 3rd season as a Bears player is on the bubble. He took a pay cut to remain on the team, but if he doesn't show up and prove he can be the return man he once was while providing special teams help on the other three phases, so if one of Edwards, Spurlock, etc have a strong camp, he could find himself on outside looking in.
All in all, what was once considered a glaring weakness for the Bears organization but three seasons ago, now features a duo that is widely considered to be tops in the league and a some interesting players to form depth. Though they aren't the deepest in the league.
Wide Receiver Depth Chart Prediction;
1. Brandon Marshall
2. Alshon Jeffery
3. Josh Morgan
4 .Marquess Wilson
5. Eric Weems
6. Chris Williams