Inside Slant

Inside slant: Wims shines in preseason loss

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For the second straight year, Javon Wims is lighting up the preseason.

Against the New York Giants Friday night, Wims carried much of the offensive load, catching five passes for 64 yards. Wims has now caught seven passes for 79 yards in the preseason.

Wims got most of his play in the first half when he caught all five of his passes. He showed himself to be valuable as both a midrange and deep target.

Most notably, Wims reeled in a 29-yard reception from Chase Daniel in the waning seconds of the first half, giving the Bears just enough time to spike the football and set up a 27-yard field goal by Eddy Pineiro.

According to coach Matt Nagy, that’s the type of play you might only see in the preseason.

“We’re in some spots right now where maybe we do some things that maybe we wouldn’t do in the regular season,” said Nagy. “For instance, that right there. Making a throw with 16 seconds to go. There was one second on the clock when we clocked it. We were playing with fire there.”

However, the result has some value for the coaching staff and, perhaps, for Wims himself. Nagy singled out the sequence as one of the big positives from the game.

“The great part of preseason is that we’re able to test that out,” said Nagy. “Now, we have video evidence of what we can do. It’s a credit to those guys.”

As a junior college transfer, Wims only played two years in the SEC spotlight at Georgia, breaking out his senior season as the top receiver on a team that fell just short of winning a national championship.

In catching a player like Wims, with his size and speed, in the seventh round, the Bears put an exclamation point on their strong 2018 draft. In the past few years, middle and late-round picks have provided both depth and stars.

“Our scouting staff right now is the real strength of our organization,” said general manager Ryan Pace. “When you talk about those middle-round picks, it’s a credit to those scouts and the hard work they do.”

Last year, Wims was the most prolific wide receiver in the preseason, hauling in 15 catches for 226 yards and a touchdown. That performance may have been a critical factor in the Bears getting the Georgia product some playing time during the 2018 season, no guarantee for any seventh-round pick on a team looking toward the playoffs.

After catching four passes in all of the regular season, Wims returns to a receiving corps that’s deeper than it has been in years. In the past two offseasons, the Bears have added Allen Robinson II, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Cordarrelle Patterson and 2019 fourth-round pick Riley Ridley, who played with Wims at Georgia.

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