Bears Day 2 Draft Prospects: Running Backs
A lot has been written already about who the Chicago Bears first round pick (#11) will be, so I’m going to look at who might be options for the Bears in rounds two and three of the draft. The Bears filled some holes via free agency and should fill another one in the first round, but there will still be plenty of positions left that need upgrades. I’ll be breaking down potential targets for the Bears on day 2 of the draft at different positions of need over the next few weeks.
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I started this series with the defensive line, which I think will be the Bears primary target in this year’s draft and you can link to that post and other positional breakdowns below. Today I’m looking at potential RBs the Bears could target on day 2 of the draft. Last year’s 4th round pick Jeremy Langford is projected to start with 2014 4th rounder Ka’Deem Carey and veteran Jacquizz Rodgers as back-ups.
When the Bears let Matt Forte leave in free agency, I assumed that they were comfortable with their current running back situation, but they made a significant effort to sign restricted free agent C.J. Anderson. The Broncos ended up matching all offers for Anderson, but the Bears effort to sign him was a pretty clear sign that they aren’t done adding to the depth chart at running back.
It’s a solid draft for running backs with plenty of diverse talent available in the early-to-mid rounds of the draft. I would be surprised if the Bears spend a first or second round pick on a running back, but think the third round or later is a definite possibility. I’ve broke down some players below who I think the Bears could target as early as day 2 of the draft.
Day 2 Draft Prospects
I’ve listed the running backs that I project to be available in rounds 2 or 3 below who I think could be good fits for the Bears, listed in order of preference. If you have any questions, complaints, or advice… hit me up in the comments or on Twitter (@MFlannery_)
Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech (5’10 | 215 | 4.56) – Shifty runner with great balance, a quick jump cut, and surprising elusiveness in the open field. Dixon was the only FBS back with 5 plays of 80 yards or more last season. He’s also a natural receiver out of the backfield with 63 catches, 849 yards, and 13 receiving TDs over the last two seasons. Dixon showed a knack for finding the end zone with 87 total touchdowns during his college career.
There are some questions with Dixon including the jump in talent from the Sun Belt conference to the NFL, a lot of mileage on the tires with 802 college carries, and an issue holding on to the ball after 13 fumbles in college. With 889 total touches, 13 fumbles isn’t a huge red flag, but whether he can gain yards after contact against much bigger, faster defenders is my main concern.
I don’t think Dixon is going to be a three-down back at the NFL level, but he has the potential to be an effective change-of-pace or committee back. He’s electric in the open field, runs with a low pad level and enough aggression to survive between the tackles, is a good enough receiver to split out wide like Forte did at times, and is a decent pass blocker. Dixon can contribute in a lot of ways at the next level and could be a valuable weapon as a rookie this season.
Next: Jordan Howard