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Chicago Bears - Favorite Running Back Targets

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Round 4 (#117) – Terrance West, Towson (5’9, 225): A relative unknown coming from Towson University, but was a stud coming out of high school (Clemson recruit) and only ended up at Towson due to academic and off-field issues. He’s a powerful back with good vision and the burst to get to the second level. His 4.54 40-time proves he has the ability to break the occasional long one and I think he’s a dark-horse for rookie of the year if he winds up in the right situation. West would give the Bears a powerful short yardage back with starter upside if Forte gets hurt.

Round 5 (#156) – James White, Wisconsin (5’9, 204): Part of a RB rotation at Wisconsin, so he should have plenty of mileage left. White had a big week at the Senior Bowl showing great receiving skills, a powerful stiff-arm, and good pass blocking. White’s combine workouts were just mediocre, but his tape is solid and he’s one of the most well-rounded running back prospects in the draft. White’s pass blocking and skill as a receiver out of the backfield should allow him to see the field right away. If White slips to the 5th or 6th round, I think the Bears would give him serious consideration at that point in the draft. Both Trestman and Emery have stated that pass protection and the ability to catch out of the backfield are two of the most important factors in a back-up running back and those are two of White’s strengths.

Round 6 (#183) – Isaiah Crowell, Alabama St (5’11, 224): Crowell is one of the most talented running backs in this year’s draft class. He was the SEC freshman of the year at Georgia in 2011 (850 yards, 5 touchdowns) before transferring to Alabama St and averaging just under 7 yards per carry over two seasons. Crowell has good size, vision, elite elusiveness, soft hands out of the backfield and the speed to break one once he reaches the second level. Crowell has some red flags as well; He was forced to leave Georgia after a felony gun charge (dropped), a failed drug test (marijuana), and also has a checkered medical history with no serious injuries but a few missed games. If having a gun in your car and smoking weed were deal-breakers, then most NFL teams wouldn’t be able to fill a 53-man roster. Crowell also wasn’t asked to block much at the college level so that is something teams will have to vet before drafting him. Crowell is a risky choice, but one of the best talents you will ever see in the 6th round.

Round 6 (#191) – Tyler Gaffney, Stanford (5’11, 220): His 4.49 40-time was one of the surprises of the combine. Gaffney was a tough runner at Stanford, but I never thought he had breakaway speed while watching him. Gaffney is a tough runner and a good pass blocker so he should be ready to contribute right away, but has limited upside. He could be the Bears short yardage back to limit Forte’s hits and can catch the ball out of the backfield as well. He projects as a solid, but unspectacular, backup running back.

UFA – Alfred Blue, LSU (6’2, 223): Platooned with Jeremy Hill which hurt both of their numbers and keeps them both underrated going into the draft. Blue is a tough inside runner with good size, vision, tackle-breaking ability, and enough burst to break one if he can make it to the second level of the defense. He is a good receiver out of the backfield, but his blocking needs work. Blue was a fan favorite at LSU and had a tendency to make things happen when he got the ball. I think Blue has 4th-5th round talent and is a steal as a UFA.

Twitter: @MikeFlannery_

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