Coming into training camp, the Bears featured a deep receiving corps, returning each of their starters from 2018 while adding key pieces in Cordarrelle Patterson and Riley Ridley via free agency and the draft.
However, outside of No. 1 wideout Allen Robinson, head coach Matt Nagy needed one of these young bucks to take a big step forward in order for the offense to take an anticipated leap in 2019.
Second-year man Javon Wims has answered his coach’s calls, thoroughly impressing with his play throughout camp.
A player that was expected to compete for a roster spot after spending most of last year on the team’s taxi squad (just four catches for 32 yards in four games), the Georgia product has exceeded all expectations as the team prepares for opening night against Green Bay.
Wims is no stranger to overcoming adversity and earning increased opportunity.
Coming out of high school, he received no offers from any major Division-I school and was forced to attend a JUCO for two years. Paving himself a roster spot at the University of Georgia, Wims went on to lead the Bulldogs in receiving yards (720) and touchdown catches (7) as a senior in 2017 and was a major part of his team’s National Championship run.
Drafted by Chicago in the seventh round of the 2018 Draft, Wims has built a strong rapport with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in the early-going. Wims gave the audience in Bourbonnais a treat on Tuesday, showing them just one of many highlight-reel grabs he’s made over the last few weeks.
— PirateLife Football (@PirateLifeFF) August 6, 2019
If you’re itching to see more of the 24-year-old’s stellar play throughout camp, here’s just a few clips of what fans can hopefully expect to see from him once the regular season rolls around.
OH MY MITCHELL TRUBISKY TO JAVON WIMS
— Bears Nation (@BearsNationCHI) August 4, 2019
I didn’t realize how good of an angle I had for this Matt Nagy dime to Javon Wims from Monday’s practice until I got a chance to sort through my camera roll this morning. pic.twitter.com/XRxf39W9Rk
— Luis M. Runs This #BigStickNick💰 Fan Account (@lcm1986) August 7, 2019
Wide receivers coach Mike Furrey is just one individual on the Bears’ staff that has noticed the big strides Wims has made following up on his rookie season. When addressing the media earlier this week, Furrey notes that he’s seen vast improvement in the 6-foot-3 wideout’s game, as well as his teammate Anthony Miller leading up to their sophomore campaigns.
Obviously that mental part of it takes every young player time. You’re seeing so much stuff in the NFL compared to college, and that transition is really tough. It’s a huge transition. It was huge for 83 and 17.
They’re still growing in that, but you can see they’re understanding where to line up, what Mitch wants, what our offense is asking for. I don’t have to sit there and be on pins and needles now when they go up and hope they line up right. Both are going to continue to grow. They have abilities and attributes that will make them really good players for a long time.” – Mike Furrey
Could it be that we’re seeing the beginning of what may be a breakout season for Wims?
That definitely appears to be the case. Of course, we’ll have to see how he fares in the preseason, but if last year’s preseason dominance is any indication (15 catches for 227 yards and a touchdown), Wims can flat-out ball.
He’s done his part to earn himself a roster spot this fall, and if he keeps progressing at this rate, he could become a consistent factor in Chicago’s offensive-attack down the stretch this season.
As the Monsters of the Midway prep for a Super Bowl run, Wims can prove to be another one of many diamond-in-the-rough draft selections by general manager Ryan Pace.