The Chicago Bears are expected to address their dire need for wide receivers in the upcoming NFL draft, and one name to keep an eye on is Cincinnati Bearcats wide receiver Alec Pierce.
Originally from Glen Ellyn, Illinois, Pierce is a projected second-round pick, and he’s a player the team appears to be watching closely. Chicago’s wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert was present at Cincinnati’s pro day, per Jim Nagy.
Pierce’s numbers with the Bearcats weren’t gaudy, but he has a good deal of intangibles (great hands, nice size, decent speed) and could be a likely option for the Bears considering both Christian Watson and George Pickens may be gone by the time the Bears pick at No. 39.
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Pierce May Be Bears Most Realistic Round 2 Option at WR
Pierce has played in 34 games for the Bearcats, catching 106 passes for 1,851 yards (17.5 yards per catch) and 13 touchdowns. He’s coming off a 2021 campaign that saw him finish with 52 catches for 884 yards (17.0 yards per catch) and eight scores in 14 games.
The 6-foot-3, 208-pound wideout is an area product, attending Glenbard West High School. While many Bears fans are hoping projected first-round receivers Chris Olave or Garrett Wilson — both of whom played with Chicago quarterback Justin Fields at Ohio State — might fall to the Bears in Round 2, former Bears scout Greg Gabriel thinks the team landing either Olave or Wilson is a real long shot.
“Pierce is a more likely target than the Ohio State receivers,” Gabriel tweeted. “Pierce is a local guy and they can bring him in for a private workout if they do desire.”
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What the Draft Experts Say About Pierce
Pierce could fill the void left by Allen Robinson if the Bears played him in the ‘X’ receiver spot, but he could also be a big-bodied slot guy. Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, who has a penchant for loading up on big WRs, would have options.
“Pierce’s commitment to sound technique as a route-runner and ability to read coverage and adjust on the fly speaks to his football intelligence,” Joe Marino of The Draft Network wrote about the young wideout. “He runs his routes with good pace and deception. He is decisive after the catch and was flagged for just one penalty through the entirety of his college career.”
NFL.com’s lead draft analyst Lance Zierlein had this to say about Pierce in his draft profile:
Pierce was a mismatch as a deep-ball target at Cincinnati, but is more likely to be tabbed as a possession receiver with the ability to create some downfield trouble as a pro. He plays a physical brand of ball and has combat-catch toughness, which is important because he’s not an elusive route runner. He can work underneath or challenge a bigger, slower cornerback deep, but the route tree is going to be limited. Some players have traits that don’t show up on the field, but Pierce utilizes both his physical and athletic gifts. He has backup potential with zone-beater and red-zone value, and will likely play on special teams.
Pierce likely won’t still be available when Round 3 hits, and Chicago has selections at both 39 and 48 overall, so we’ll see how it plays out.