Chicago Bears: Don’t sleep on Taylor Gabriel in 2019

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

With all the weapons the Chicago Bears have on offense, one seems to be getting overlooked. Why that’s a mistake.

The Chicago Bears have certainly revamped their wide receiving corps in a very short amount of time. It was only about 18 months ago when the group’s best contributor was a player who didn’t even make a team’s practice squad last season. Talk about a transformation.

That transformation continued this year as the Bears drafted Riley Ridley, and signed free agent Marvin Hall as well as undrafted free agent Emanuel Hall. Along with those three, there has been a lot of talk about Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, and Cordarrelle Patterson — and for good reason — those players are extremely talented and are expected to be major contributors this season.

However, there is one wide receiver that doesn’t seem to be getting the attention he deserves, and if opposing defenses sleep on Taylor Gabriel the way some fans and media members have, he is going to have a monster year.

Gabriel is such a dynamic wide receiver with his ability to take the top off the defense with his elite speed, but also be the guy you can count on to go across the middle when you need a big play. Remarkably, 35 percent of his catches went for either a first down or a touchdown.

He’s also as good a route runner as he is torching defensive back for big plays. How good? Well, he was tied for 7th in the league in getting separation from his defender averaging 3.5 yards of separation according to Next Gen Stats.

And all of that is to say nothing of how good he is when you get him the ball in space with a chance to make defenders miss — because he will embarrass them. In that regard, it would not be surprising to see him get a few more carries (jet sweeps, end arounds, reverses, etc.)  than he did last season when 8.8 percent of his touches were runs of some sort.

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Now, he’s in the second year of this offense, and just as we’ve been saying with respect to Mitchell Trubisky, having a better familiarity with the system will only benefit every skill player on the team. In other words, expect a big year from Gabriel — and the more you sleep on him, the bigger it’ll be.