Rookie surprise: Bears WR Johnny Knox

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Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert

As part of an ESPN.com project, today we’re looking at the unlikely contributions of Chicago receiver Johnny Knox. To understand just how random Knox’s sudden rise has been, we should revisit general manager Jerry Angelo’s own depiction of the decision to draft Knox in the fifth round out of Division II Abilene Christian:

“We were in the fifth round of the draft and [coach Lovie Smith] looked at the board along with the scouts and said, ‘How about this Johnny Knox?’ He said, ‘We really don’t have anybody like him.’ We all talked together and we thought given the other players that we were considering that he had the traits we look for at the position. He was probably a little bit more unknown given his level of competition, but we knew that with Jay [Cutler] being on board, he could be another potential weapon, so we went ahead with it.”

Knox was overshadowed on draft day by third-round pick Juaquin Iglesias, and even after an impressive training camp, he seemed destined to be the No. 5 receiver on a team that dresses only four for games. But a preseason injury to receiver Devin Aromashodu opened the door, and Knox utilized all of his 4.3 speed to run through it.

Over the first four games, Knox has 14 receptions for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Only one NFL rookie has more catches, Tennessee's Kenny Britt, and none have exceeded his touchdown total. Knox also has taken over as the Bears’ primary kickoff returner, and on Sunday he dashed 102 yards for a touchdown against Detroit. Surprise, surprise.