The Bear Goggles On Countdown to Kickoff series is now underway. With 24 days to go until the Bears season kicks off we will highlight the Bears player that is wearing number 24, Jordan Howard.
2016 was a rough year for Chicago Bears fans. The team went 3-13, while looking like one of the least talented teams in the league. There were a few bright spots during a dark season and running back Jordan Howard was one of them. After attending UAB for two years, Howard finished his college career at Indiana. He entered the NFL draft after his junior season and was selected in the 5th round by the Bears. Most analysts thought the Bears getting Howard that late was a steal, and they were more correct than they could have known.
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Jordan Howard broke the Bears rookie rushing record in 2016 with over 1,300 yards on the ground. This is particularly impressive when you consider the Bears list of great running backs includes Matt Forte, Walter Payton, and Gale Sayers. Beating out two hall of fame players and a beloved franchise star isn’t bad for a 5th round pick. To make the feat even more impressive, Howard did this while averaging 5.2 yards per carry and adding 6 touchdowns. His yardage total was good enough for 2nd in the NFL, but he carried the ball 70 times less than the league leader (Ezekiel Elliot). Watch Jordan Howard’s film from his 153 yard game against the Vikings, and his vision and feel for the game pops off the screen.
The future for Jordan Howard seems to be limitless. The Bears brought back most of their solid offensive line. They are also deep at the running back position which can help Howard stay fresh during the season. I think setting the bar at 1,500 yards for Howard in 2017 is a reachable goal. Jordan Howard is the most talented player of a young core of the team and is expected to be a building block going forward. Once Mitch Trubisky develops into the player everyone now expects him to be, the Bears could have two of the most important positions in football locked in for years to come.