No, this is not going to be an article about that guy who had a hit show on MTV by “creatively” beating up himself and his friends. However, it is about a daring stunt that would otherwise be posted as a warning to anyone who starts a 5th round rookie wide receiver yet hopes to win in the NFL:
DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.
Yet the Bears’ risky move, albeit a very desperate one due to injuries, has proven to be beneficial thus far: 152 yards on just 8 receptions and a touchdown through your first two games- Greg Olsen? Devin Hester? Earl Bennett? Matt Forte? Nope.
Johnny Knox, the 140th overall selection in the 2009 NFL draft and a throw-in pick in the Jay Cutler trade, is helping the Bears avoid the “Jackass” label for not acquiring a proven wide receiver this past off-season. Shredding double end zone coverage to make a leaping catch against the defending Super Bowl Champions, Knox has risen from the roster bubble, to special teams, to third on the Bears wide receiver depth chart in just three short weeks. He is quietly drawing early comparisons to Panthers great Steve Smith, a non-traditionally framed, smaller sized wide receiver who overcame critics to have a superstar career.
Thus far for the Bears, SIZE DID MATTER.
It was likely size in terms of his “small” frame (exactly 6 feet) and his “small” school, Abilene Christian that lowered him on the scout’s depth charts despite his running a 4.34 second 40 yard dash at the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine. The Bears reluctance to not super size this draft pick could lead to the extra value meal of this year’s rookie WR class. For those who still think the name Johnny Knox belongs to the wannabe actor who fumbled for laughs in “The Dukes of Hazzard” and “The Ringer”, think again. This school of hard knocks player has a much more impressive resume:
In just two seasons at the school, Knox set the ACU and Lone Star Conference all-time record with 30 touchdown receptions.
In just 25 games for the AC Wildcats:
Knox caught 118 passes, (7th best in AC history)
2,227 receiving yards (5th best in AC history)
2007 second team All American Honors
2006 11 TDs and an average 23.95 yards per reception (First in the National Junior College Athletics Association)
What will happen the rest of the season or even in week 3 remains to be seen. However, if history is a lesson, it appears as though Knox likes proving critics wrong. Unlike his acting namesake, he does not have to strap rockets on to fly downfield.
I’d call him a sleeper, but there has been nothing tiring about watching him thus far. If there is anything positive about the Bears receiving corps we can say at this point…they are untraditional. Let’s hope that Knox is the most unnatural of the bunch. To the Bears AV squad, feel free to queue up the Jackass theme song every time this rookie makes a great play. I’d bet my spot on the PSL waiting list that Bears fans will tire of it quickly. With Cutler’s cannon arm and rocket speed, the Bears could “quietly” create some shock and awe in the passing game this season. From history, I bet Knox wouldn’t have it any other way.