In Part 7 of our series, we looked at the top 5 quarterbacks the Chicago Bears should target in this year’s NFL draft. Now, in part 8, we’ll take a look another position in need of some quality depth for the team — running back.
Matt Forte has done a tremendous job of carrying the load for the Bears ever since being drafted in the second round of the 2008 draft. He has, however, run into some minor injury problems the past few seasons, resulting in backup running backs getting some playing time for the Bears. Unfortunately, the likes of Chester Taylor, Marion Barber and Michael Bush never panned out as formidable backups.
Running back remains a revolving door position in today’s NFL and the Bears not only need to find a solid backup for Forte, but a potential incumbent starter as well. Here are several players in this year’s draft who I think can fill that need for them:
1) De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
Thomas isn’t the prototypical NFL starting running back, but he could be the ultimate complement to Forte with his speed and quickness. At just 5-8, 174 Thomas has had some durability issues during his career, but he has tremendous breakaway speed and acceleration and would need to be utilized out in open space rather than between the tackles. He’s a mid-round draft pick at this point and seems to not only fit the Bears’ needs on offense and on special teams as a returner, but would free up earlier rounds for them to use their picks on defense. Head coach Marc Trestman needs a Darren Sproles-type player in this offense and Thomas would fit the bill perfectly.