The Bears added some running back depth today by signing free agent Shaun Draughn, recently of the Baltimore Ravens. Draughn was signed by the Washington Redskins in 2011 as an undrafted free agent out of North Carolina. He failed to make the Redskins out of training camp but was picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs and added to their practice squad. Draughn made the Chiefs active roster the next season (2012) and contributed as a reserve gaining 233 yards on 59 carries (3.9 ypc) and scoring two touchdowns. He also caught 24 passes for 158 yards (6.6 ypc) and returned 23 kicks for 537 yards for a 23.3 average which ranked 21st out of 23 returners with at least 20 attempts. According to Pro Football Focus, Draughn was roughly a league average backup (0.0 net) when it came to running / receiving, but struggled in pass protection (-6.7 grade).
The Chiefs cut Draughn before the 2013 season after he wasn’t able to participate in OTAs due to a slow recovery from a sports hernia. He was signed ten days later by the Baltimore Ravens. With Ray Rice sidelined in week 3, Draughn saw the field as Bernard Pierce’s backup and had 2 carries for 4 yards and ran back 2 kicks for 53 yards (26.6 ypr). With Rice healthy agian in week 4 and the emergence of 2nd-year player Deonte Thompson as a kick returner, Draughn sat the bench for two games before being released by the Ravens in week 6. After being out of football for a little over two months the Colts signed Draughn as insurance when Donald Brown was banged up before their week 16 matchup against the Chiefs. Donald Brown ended up playing, Draughn didn’t see the field and he was released two days later.
Coming out of college the scouting report on Draughn was that he had good vision, an explosive burst through the hole, and soft hands out of the backfield but he lacked the speed to run away from defenders (4.7 40-time at combine) and wasn’t an elusive runner in the open field.
With only untested Michael Ford behind Matt Forte at running back the Bears needed some depth and Draughn is solid if unspectacular. I still think they will look to pick up another running back late in the draft or as a priority free agent. For an in-depth look at the running back class in this year’s draft, check out my RB Rankings. Draughn should also be in the mix at kick returner with wide receivers Domenik Hixon and Chris Williams.