Darnell Mooney has accomplished more in his first two years than almost any other Chicago Bears receiver in history. He set the rookie record for receptions in 2020 and then cracked 1,000 yards for the season in 2021. The latter was done despite the team having to start three different quarterbacks. It is hard to understand why the 24-year-old isn’t getting more attention. Whatever the reason, Mooney isn’t happy about it.
During his press conference this past week, he spoke with his usual calm, but an intensity beneath the surface was evident. The receiver carries the same chip on his shoulder he had when he was first drafted. If anything, the chip has only gotten bigger. Contrary to what people think, he’s fully aware of what people around the league are saying. He sees all the love being showered on other receivers.
That is fine. One way or another, they will respect him before too long.
There are a few reasons why Darnell Mooney is in this position. Being a 5th round pick is one. People have a hard time identifying the existence of good players unless they’re 1st or 2nd rounders. Then there is the fact he lived in the shadow of Allen Robinson for two years, somebody with a far bigger name. Last but not least is playing for the Bears. This franchise has never been known for passing game success. That is why they’re often called the place where “receivers go to die.”
Never mind the fact they’ve actually done pretty well developing young talent over the past ten years. It started with Alshon Jeffery back in 2013 and 2014. Now Mooney offers the latest evidence. He wants to show the world that he isn’t some gimmick player who is only known for one thing—running fast. He is the real deal—a legitimate go-to receiver. The situation won’t matter. Whenever Justin Fields needs a big play, he’ll look for #11.
That sort of mentality is shared among the best in the NFL. It should be fun watching him fulfill that mission this coming season.