Last year this time, North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson was the small-school prospect with big-time upside. He had a solid showing at the 2022 Senior Bowl and was fantastic at the NFL Combine. The end result? Watson was the Green Bay Packers’ second-round pick and enjoyed a productive rookie season that included 9 total touchdowns in 14 games.
The Chicago Bears will look to find their version of Watson in the 2023 NFL draft, and a player with a similar profile is Princeton’s Andrei Iosivas.
Iosivas participated in the 2023 Senior Bowl and flashed his top-shelf athletic traits when separating from defenders on vertical routes. His straight-line speed complements his impressive frame (6-foot-3, 203 pounds), and when factoring his 39-inch vertical jump into the equation, Iosivas is a downfield mismatch.
Andrei Iosivas finished the 2022 season with 66 catches for 943 yards and seven touchdowns. It’s an impressive stat line for an Ivy League wide receiver. But let’s face it: it is the Ivy League, and no matter how productive a skill player is at a lower level of competition, NFL teams want to test their athleticism to make sure what they see on tape can translate to the pro game.
Iosivas passed that test with flying colors at the 2023 NFL Combine. Check the numbers:
40-yard dash: 4.43
Vertical jump: 39 inches
Broad jump: 10’8″
3-cone drill: 6.85
Bench press: 19 reps
I attended Andrei Iosivas’ pro day Tuesday. He continued his march up the 2023 NFL draft rankings with a performance highlighted by his impressive catch radius and endurance. Iosivas was prepared for the physical challenge of running a high volume of routes at a fast pace. It didn’t phase him, and there’s no doubt NFL teams in attendance (one of which was the Chicago Bears) were impressed.
The Bears added DJ Moore this offseason and have a significant investment in Chase Claypool. Darnell Mooney is a staple of the starting lineup, and last year’s third-round pick, Velus Jones Jr., should get another season to prove he was worthy of that selection.
But Iosivas offers the blend of traits that may be too hard to pass up if he’s hanging around at the start of the fourth round. Sure, he’s a developmental prospect, but with how the Bears’ wide receivers room is currently comprised, adding a developmental big-play weapon would make sense. If Claypool fails to deliver in 2023, Iosivas could be an eventual replacement. He’d offer value in 2023, too. You can’t have enough size and speed on the field at once; Iosivas would boost both areas of the Chicago Bears’ passing attack.
The Chicago Bears’ offseason moves pushed wide receiver down their list of needs, which may result in Andrei Iosivas being a viable target in the middle rounds.