Bears 5th Round Pick #150: RB Jordan Howard

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /
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Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /

The Bears added a power dimension to their running game in the 5th round of the draft by selecting Indiana’s Jordan Howard. It was a bit of a surprise to see Howard still available this late in the draft as most scouting reports had him graded as a 2nd or 3rd round pick.

For example gave Howard a 6.1 grade¹ which tied for 24th overall in the entire draft. There were seven players total with a 6.1 grade and the other six were all drafted by pick 56 in the 2nd round (Cody Whitehair!) except obviously for Howard who lasted almost a hundred more picks (150).

The only reason I can see for Howard’s fall in the draft is concern over his ability to stay healthy. Howard has a bruising running style and seems to seek out contact at the second level. While it’s fun to watch Howard run over defensive backs, his longevity is a legitimate worry. Howard already had trouble staying on the field in college, missing four games and parts of three others. He’s also had a heavy workload with 502 carries over the last two seasons.

Now for the good news… Howard is an absolute beast with the ball in his hands. He had 2,800 rushing yards over the last two years and averaged 6.2 yards per carry in his first season in the Big10. Howard’s Big10 debut was impressive enough for the coaches to name him first team all-conference.

His size and speed (4.57) are a dangerous combo, but what scouts mention most about Howard is his elite vision. He doesn’t waste steps and has an innate feel for finding the right running lanes and making himself skinny through the hole. The way the Bears blocked last year, those traits will come in handy.

Once through the hole, Howard is a nightmare for defensive backs. He’s shifty for his size and can make people miss, but often Howard prefers to just run defenders over. The injury risks are real, but Howard’s power and pain-inflicting running style will wear defenses down and could be a huge weapon for the Bears late in games.

He’s also a surprisingly good pass blocker and has soft hands coming out of the backfield. He’s a complete back who has the potential to take over as the Bears work-horse. I think Fox has more of a platoon in mind with Howard’s power complementing Jeremy Langford’s speed.

Check out the next page for more scouting reports on Howard and his highlight reel.

¹ A grade between 6.0-6.49 projects a player with a chance to become a good NFL starter.

Next: Jordan Howard Scouting Reports