When NFL teams are rebuilding after a losing season, they're usually expecting their top draft picks to contribute as rookies. That's especially true for the Chicago Bears, who cleaned house after last year's 5-11 finish under Marc Trestman and Phil Emery.
With the seventh-overall pick in this year's draft, the Bears selected wide receiver Kevin White out of West Virginia. He's a big-bodied pass-catcher who is supposed to help alleviate the loss of Brandon Marshall, who was traded to the New York Jets this offseason.
White, however, is dealing with a stress fracture in his left shin and needs surgery that may end his season. The Bears have no choice other than to move on without him.
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"It gives other guys opportunities," Bears head coach John Fox said, per ESPN's Jeff Dickerson. "We'll have a next-man up approach whether it's here, in the season, or in the postseason. You keep 53 men on the roster and you keep them for a reason, because you think they can play. It's an opportunity for guys to step up. We'll always look to improve our roster. That will not change. We'll see who steps up."
The Bears' No. 1 receiver, Alshon Jeffery, is also hurting, but his calf injury is not yet threatening his availability for the 2015 season. Someone else must step up at the position, though, and the most likely candidate is veteran free-agency acquisition Eddie Royal.
"I don't know how much it changes anything with the guys in the room, because we've all been busting our butts, working as hard as we can, preparing like we're the starters," Royal said about White's injury, via ESPN.
The other "guys in the room" Royal referenced include Marquess Wilson, Joshua Bellamy and Cameron Meredith.