The Chicago Bears are in an interesting position going into the NFL Draft this week at Roosevelt University. With new G.M. Ryan Pace at the helm, the team has addressed plenty of needs this offseason, but there is still plenty of work to do as the new leadership of the organization makes decisions about their collective future.
With that in mind, we are taking a look at some of the positions that the team has got to address in the draft, whether it be with the number seven overall pick or later in the selection process. These picks have the potential to either get Pace and company off on the right foot, or to potentially derail this rebuilding process before it begins.
Today, we take a look at a position that the Bears find themselves needing to upgrade for the future as we look at some of the running backs that could be on the team’s radar during the draft.
If the Bears want to go with a running back in the first round (which is a highly unlikely option), then they really only have two choices. The first is Georgia back Todd Gurley, who is coming off a knee injury but was arguably the most explosive running back in the collegiate ranks last season. He has the perfect blend of physicality and speed to deploy in the backfield, and the Bears need both of those things.
The other is Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon, but he doesn’t exactly fit the bill as a change-of-pace back for Matt Forte. He does have incredible acceleration when he sees a hole at the line, and he is able to withstand hits based more on his balance than on his raw power, but it’s still impressive to watch.
It’s far more likely that the Bears would go running back later in the draft, and there could be some real gems available late. TJ Yeldon out of Alabama could potentially be a good one to keep an eye on in the second or third round, and if the Bears are looking for a complementary piece to go with Forte, Matt Jones out of Florida could be another one.
He is a bruising back who runs with a ton of power, but the Bears could be scared off by the fact he isn’t a good pass catcher and has had issues in pass protection.
How Badly Do the Bears Need One?
We’ll give this one about a six out of 10. The Bears are likely going to move on from Forte at the end of the season, barring the back taking a serious pay cut to stick around. Giving fresh money to a running back on the wrong side of 30 is a recipe for failure in the NFL, and Pace doesn’t seem to be the type to let sentiment creep into his thinking over rationality.
If the Bears can hit on a back in this draft, it would certainly save them the money of going into free agency next year to try to find a new running back, and that has to be something that Pace is thinking strongly about.