[Administrative Note: This is not the first time DBB has ventured down this road, with one of our most famous columns being the aptly-titled “The Joe Anderson Boner”. It’s a nice read to set the stage for today’s piece from Andrew.]
-Some guy on Twitter, re: Javon Wims
I could hardly believe it when someone on Twitter sent those words to @DaBearsBlog about any player during the fourth quarter of the Hall of Fame game. But there it was. And Javon Wims, in that moment, became a camp darling. Some proclaimed Wims a seventh-round steal. Others actually said they’d rather have him than Kevin White, now and for the foreseeable future. Adam Hoge and Adam Jahns praised Wims on their weekly podcast and openly wondered if White should make the team.
Let’s rewind a bit.
• First of all, Wims dropped to the seventh round for a reason. I took a look at the ten receivers who were drafted before him and only two had fewer collegiate receptions and none posted worse athletic scores. He was praised as the leading receiver on one of the best teams in the nation but he only caught 47 passes.
• Secondly, he wasn’t having a good camp. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying to you or they don’t know what they’re watching. Don’t believe me? According to Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times, wide receivers coach Mike Furrey said Wims had “struggled for a couple weeks.”
The Bears didn’t play any of their top four receivers, including White, the guy some fans think should be released. They started with Bennie Fowler, Josh Bellamy and Tanner Gentry in three receiver sets. Even Marlon Brown entered the game before Wims. So it’s logical to conclude the Georgia rookie entered the game no higher than ninth on the depth chart.
They’re not keeping more than seven.
With a solid performance last Thursday, Wims definitely moved up. He worked with the starters earlier this week while Bellamy and Taylor Gabriel were sidelined and as Allen Robinson continues to work his way back. It seems clear that he moved ahead of Fowler and Brown, which is good news for the Bears — spending a draft pick on a receiver who isn’t even as good as Brown would be bad news.
Ultimately, what we saw from fans and media alike Thursday night was a drastic and classic overreaction. almost exactly like we saw with Gentry last year and Daniel Braverman the year before. [Editor’s note: And don’t forget Joe Anderson.]
It wasn’t just Wim. We saw the same thing with Isaiah Irving, who beat a couple of undrafted free agent guards playing left tackle for sacks. Almost immediately, the call was made for him to start over Sam Acho and for Aaron Lynch to be released.
Both Irving and Wims deserve a chance to play against better players, but lets wait to see them succeed in those situations before we start cutting those ahead of them on the depth chart.