Minus Brandon Marshall, the Chicago Bears are left with a void to fill at the wide receiver position and have a deep class of receivers to evaluate in the 2015 NFL Draft. Barring another trade or free-agency activity, the team likely will look to that class of targets to find a replacement for Marshall.
Yet, it would be a stunner for a club with as many defensive needs as the Bears to invest a first-round pick in an elite prospect such as Amari Cooper or Kevin White. Alshon Jeffery returns as a productive veteran. Beyond Jeffery, the Bears don't return much in the way of proven talent at receiver, but tight end Martellus Bennett is coming off a career-best totals in catches (90), yards (916) touchdowns (six). So after sending Marshall to Gang Green, here are five draft options the club could have at receiver beyond the first round:
If the Bears decide they want to complement Jeffery with a speed receiver, Dorsett might be the perfect target for them in the second round. He's ranked 47th on NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's list of the draft's Top 50 prospects and clocked the third-fastest 40-yard-dash time (4.33) of all the prospects that ran at the NFL Scouting Combine last month.
The buzz surrounding this small-school talent is definitely getting louder. Lewis could give the Bears high value in the middle or late rounds, perhaps late enough for Chicago to address several of its needs on defense first and get Lewis at a comfortable point in the draft to turn to offense. Lewis would bring even more size (6-4, 215) to go with Jeffery, and showed 4.58 speed at the combine. He also turned heads at the Senior Bowl while competing against some future NFL cornerbacks.
In playing for East Carolina of the American Athletic Conference, Hardy managed to depart as the FBS leader in career receptions (387), despite starting his career as a walk-on. That kind of anonymity could make him a draft-day steal if clubs undervalue him because of the competition he faced. Hardy was exceptional at the Senior Bowl, showing some of the best route-running skills of a very deep and talented group of receivers. He catches the ball easily and naturally, showing instincts for the position that made him almost impossible to cover in college.