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Who will replace Earl Bennett?

Posted Mar 24, 2014

Senior writer Larry Mayer discusses who will replace Earl Bennett as the Bears' third receiver, the 14th pick in the draft and Shea McClellin switching uniform numbers.

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

Who do you think will take over for Earl Bennett as the Bears' third receiver?

Ryan T.
Plano, Texas

At this juncture it appears that Marquess Wilson will get the first opportunity to fill that position following the release of Earl Bennett. I know that the Bears are high on Wilson, a 2013 seventh-round draft pick, and that quarterback Jay Cutler has confidence in him. Cutler threw to Wilson in a key situation in last year's winner-take-all season finale against the Packers and Wilson responded with a tough catch in traffic. Wilson has also been down in Florida working out with fellow receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Wilson's primary competition for the job will likely come from veteran Domenik Hixon, who has rebounded from two torn ACLs in 2010-11. The Bears could also draft a receiver and they always sign a couple after the draft, so we'll have to wait until training camp to see how the position actually shakes out.

The Bears once again draft 14th this year. Is it my imagination or do the Bears often draft 14th? I also see they're ranked 14th in the power rankings. Am I the only one who considers this strange?

Pete V.
Ontario, Canada

It's not your imagination. This year marks the fourth time the Bears have the 14th pick in the last 11 years. The three previous times they selected defensive end Michael Haynes (2003), defensive tackle Tommie Harris (2004) and offensive tackle Chris Williams (2008). Interestingly, two other players the Bears signed as free agents also entered the NFL as the 14th pick in the draft: Guard Ruben Brown with the Bills in 1995 and tackle John Tait with the Chiefs in 1999. And yes, they were recently ranked 14th in the NFL.com power rankings. Here's hoping this all means that the '14 season will be a lucky one for the Bears.

Is Shea McClellin's move to linebacker official yet? And is that why Lamarr Houston was able to take his No. 99 because Shea will be switching to a number in the 50s like most linebackers?

Steven B.
Gresham, Oregon

Yes and yes. Shea McClellin's move to linebacker is official. And while linebackers are permitted to wear numbers in the 50s or 90s, he approached the Bears about changing to a number in the 50s well before defensive end Lamarr Houston was signed in free agency. So Houston will wear No. 99, while McClellin will don No. 50, though I think there's a chance he could end up with another number in the 50s before all is said and done.

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