ESPN metric: Three Bears pass catchers listed as top receivers

Are Chase Claypool and Darnell Mooney each top 50 receivers this season?

A new receiver tracking metric (RTM) – composed of a partnership between ESPN and FiveThirtyEight – was created to separate receivers based on an overall ranking factored in by “getting open, contesting and making the catch, and generating yards after the catch (YAC) .”

If you’re unsure of the sophistication and accuracy of the metric, ESPN provided a long-winded account of how they formulate the list. One part indicates they track wide receiver routes in which the quarterback does not target the receiver.

Seems pretty advanced, in my opinion.

The Chicago Bears made three appearances on the list. Chase Claypool (41st), Darnell Mooney (49th) and Cole Kmet (96th) all rank in the top 100 of the metric results.

Each receiver is given an overall score compiled from their rankings of each component. The overall score ranges on a scale from 0-99, with 50 serving as a benchmark for a league average receiver.

According to the metric, Claypool owns a 60 overall score. He owns a 63 rating to get open, a 55 rating for catching the football and a 48 rating to produce yards after the catch. All three metrics earned him the 41st-best receiver ranking on the list.

As for Mooney, he earned a 54 overall rating. He received a 67 rating for getting open, 54 for catching the ball and 47 for yards after the catch. He slides into the top 50 with his rating, earning the 49th spot.

Kmet earned a 38 overall rating. A 51 for route running, 46 for catching and 27 for yards after the catch.

Despite the three receivers earning generally positive ratings from the metric, I think most Bears fans and outsiders would agree the eye test doesn’t align with the results from the metric.

The Bears’ receiving corps has been a major non-factor for the team. They contribute in part of the team’s bottom-ranked passing offense, which has produced 129 yards per game this season – 35 yards less than the 31st overall team.

Mooney, coming off a 1,000-yard season last year, produced 493 yards through 11 games before going down with an ankle injury that will keep him out for the rest of the season.

He added 40 catches and two touchdowns to his season’s résumé, compositing to a relatively poor outing from the third-year receiver, who anticipated jumping into the clear No. 1 receiver spot as Allen Robinson’s successor before the season.

Claypool, who the Bears acquired at the NFL trade deadline in November, has been absent from the Bears’ offense for reasons outsiders and pundits question to this day. Since joining the Bears, he’s played in six games and has 12 catches for just over 100 yards.

Against the Lions on Sunday, Claypool was visibly frustrated by his performance and he slammed his helmet on the sideline, forcing Fields to calm him down.

MORE: Fields’ sideline message to Claypool shows impressive leadership

Hopefully, the statistic adds light to what could be a formidable pass-catching group next season.

The Bears paid a lofty price for Claypool at the deadline (currently the No. 33 pick in the upcoming draft) and Mooney will have a contract year next season.

Will the duo see success once Claypool adjusts to the offense and Mooney returns to health?

The confidence the organization poses for that question could be revealed during free agency or the upcoming draft.

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