Seven players. Two jobs.
That’s the likely scenario faced by Chicago’s receivers, arguably the most competitive position group on the team. There’s even a small chance one of those openings could disappear, given recent reports about the club discussing a possible trade for San Diego restricted free agent Vincent Jackson, who -- according to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter -- just received a three-game suspension from the league for violating its personal-conduct policy.
The Bears typically carry six receivers, and have done so in each of the last three years. With the addition of new offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who brings a high-octane scheme reliant on multiple-receiver formations, there’s a slight chance the club could keep seven receivers. But it’s not likely.
Consider starters Devin Hester and Johnny Knox virtual locks to make the team, along with Devin Aromashodu and, more than likely, Earl Bennett. From there, we take a look at the seven remaining receivers, and their prospects for making the final 53-man roster.
Rashied Davis (5-9, 187 pounds, sixth year)
Primarily a backup and special-teams ace throughout his career, Davis will likely make the roster because of his versatility. Davis caught several observers’ eyes during organized team activities by consistently beating defenders to haul in long passes.
Juaquin Iglesias (6-1, 205 pounds, second year)
Might actually end up pushing Bennett for the fourth receiver spot, which is a significant position in Martz’s offense. Quarterback Jay Cutler mentioned Iglesias last month as one of the receivers who came on during the offseason. A former third-round pick, Iglesias should make the team. Finding a niche on special teams would help his cause.
Freddie Barnes (6-0, 215 pounds, undrafted rookie)
Appeared to outperform the other rookie receivers during minicamp and OTAs. A Chicago native, Barnes set multiple receiving records at Bowling Green and has a knack -- despite a lack of deep speed -- for separating from defenders. Likely destined for a practice-squad spot, but has the potential to win an active roster spot with a strong preseason.
Vic Hall (5-9, 185 pounds, undrafted rookie)
A versatile performer at Virginia, Hall started games at cornerback and quarterback and returned punts in addition to covering kicks throughout his career. The versatility raises Hall’s value. But all the multitasking in college makes Hall raw as a receiver. A place on the practice squad might be Hall’s best-case scenario.
Greg Mathews (6-3, 207 pounds, undrafted rookie)
Mathews put together an impressive streak at Michigan, catching at least one pass in 23 consecutive games, and also has experience as a return man. Still, his production in college (110 catches for six touchdowns over four seasons) indicates he won’t be much more than a camp body.
Eric Peterman (6-1, 202 pounds, first year)
A Northwestern product, Peterman faces long odds to make the team. The club originally signed Peterman last year as an undrafted free agent, cut him in September, and brought him back on the practice squad the following December. The fact Chicago re-signed Peterman in February bodes well for him, but he’ll likely wind up a victim of the numbers game.
Antonio Robinson (6-3, 195 pounds, undrafted rookie)
Robinson played in a triple-option offense at Nicholls State, which significantly affected his numbers. He possesses intriguing measureable attributes, but due partially to limited repetitions, Robinson hasn’t had many opportunities. At this point, Robinson appears to be another camp body.
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com