LAKE FOREST – Will a No. 2 receiver, please stand up? Anyone? Buehler?
All offseason talk around the Bears' wide receivers has centered on the gaping hole on the depth chart after Darnell Mooney. The Bears signed Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown. They drafted Velus Jones Jr. and traded for N'Keal Harry.
Add in veterans Dante Pettis and Tajae Sharpe, and you have a group of receivers all fighting to resurrect or stabilize their NFL careers.
Entering training camp, it was conceivable that anyone on the roster could emerge as the No. 2 receiver behind Mooney.
One week in, St. Brown appears to be pulling ahead in the wide receiver competition.
The 6-foot-5 receiver was a favored target of quarterback Justin Fields during red-zone and low red-zone drills during the first week of camp. He beat rookie Kyler Gordon for a score and went up and over Kindle Vildor for another.
St. Brown backed that up by putting together his best practice as a Bear on Wednesday, in which Fields found him on several crossing routes, a slant, and a deep corner route during team drills.
"Yeah, he's been great," head coach Matt Eberflus said Wednesday of St. Brown. "He's a pro and he's always on it, you know, with the details. I've spent some time in the receivers' room as of late, in the position meetings, and he's certainly one of the big leaders in that group, coaching the guys and leading that way and then he exhibits that on the field too with his play and how he hustles and how he executes."
Fields' connection with St. Brown is getting stronger by the day. That's a huge positive for the Bears' offense this early in camp. While Mooney and tight end Cole Kmet have displayed a good rapport with Fields, the Bears still desperately need a legitimate No. 2 option on the outside.
St. Brown's familiarity with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy's system was a big reason the Bears went out and signed the young receiver this offseason. The belief is that St. Brown will flourish with a bigger opportunity in a system he knows well.
That's a bet that just might prove lucrative this fall.
"He's been in this offense for a number of years, so he really doesn't make mistakes when it comes to running the plays and stuff like that," Fields said. "He's definitely always in the right spot and knows where to be on certain plays. He's a weapon in this offense for sure."
Seven days into training camp, a No. 2 receiver might have started to emerge for the Bears.