The Bears didn’t plan for fifth-round pick Johnny Knox to have such a big role so quickly: not when they drafted him, not even two weeks ago when the season began.
But Knox outplayed third-round pick Juaquin Iglesias throughout the summer, showing incredible speed and enough savvy to overcome his small school status. (Knox went to Abilene Christian.) Knox was expected to start the year as the team’s fourth receiver, but had to step up because Devin Aromashodu was sidelined with a strained quad.
Now the Bears may not take Knox off the field for a while — perhaps four years or so. The Chicago Sun-Times says that Knox could pass Earl Bennett as the team’s starting split end in the coming weeks.
Knox played ahead of Bennett often in Sunday’s win over the Steelers, and he came through with six catches for 70 yards and a score. Knox also had a 68-yard catch in the season opener against the Packers.
While Devin Hester and Greg Olsen have been uneven in the season’s first two weeks, the emergence of Knox as a consistent threat would make the Bears offense much tougher to deal with. They haven’t successfully developed a pure wide receiver since Bernard Berrian.
Knox is yet another example of how unpredictable drafting wideouts can be.
The 140th overall pick of the 2009 Draft has produced 122 more receiving yards in the first two weeks than the combined efforts of Jeremy Maclin, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and um, Michael Crabtree.