There’s a lot of pressure on Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney in 2022. The former fifth-round pick of the 2020 NFL Draft quickly ascended into the team’s WR1 role now that veteran Allen Robinson has moved on to the Los Angeles Rams in free agency. And with that ascension comes an expectation to produce.
Mooney’s rise up the depth chart is pretty remarkable. He was an undersized day-three draft pick with modest production at Tulane. He didn’t fit the profile of a prospect who’d emerge as a go-to guy by the third year of his career, but here we are. A big reason why Mooney adapted and succeeded in the NFL so quickly was his relationship with A-Rob, which he still maintains today.
“I still talk to him to this day,” Mooney told Red Line Radio. “We’re supposed to go to Miami to train.”
Robinson and Darnell Mooney share a similar trait. They’re pro’s pros. Their hard work and attention to detail are well-documented. Robinson ended his Chicago Bears tenure on sour terms with fans calling out his apparent lack of effort, but there’s no denying he was one of the best pass-catchers the franchise ever fielded. Now, Mooney is trying to follow in those footsteps.
“He was definitely the guy that can help out everybody,” Mooney said of Robinson. “Sometimes, we’d bounce off ideas from each other. If I’m not in on a certain play, then he’d be like, ‘Hey, how did my route look? How did my release look? Did I look good in the play in general.’ I definitely like having A-Rob, just being able to communicate with.”
Robinson may be gone, but his impact in Chicago remains. If Mooney enjoys a breakout 2022 campaign, Robinson’s tutelage will be a big reason why. We aren’t that far removed from Robinson totaling 200 catches, 2,397 yards and 13 touchdowns during the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He was a stud.
Now it’s up to Darnell Mooney to prove he is, too.
Bryan is the founder and managing editor of Bears Talk. His previous stops include Bears coverage for NBC Sports Chicago and USA Today.