When the first two reasons why a running back is going to break out involve route running and being used like a wide receiver, it feels necessary to add that versatility is going to be a key to the success of Tarik Cohen.
Cohen can run between the tackles. It can happen. Teams are going to have to prepare for it. The fact of the matter is that even if he catches more passes than runs between the tackles, he is going to line up out of the backfield more than any other spot on the field.
This presents teams with an interesting schematic debate. Do you keep an extra linebacker in the box knowing Cohen is more likely to flare out of the backfield? Would a safety or cornerback be a better option?
Now comes the twist that Matt Nagy likes to throw in.
What do you do when Howard and Cohen are on the field at the same time? Now you have to respect the run. Still, there is a threat in Tarik Cohen lined up in the backfield that is going to expose a linebacker in the box.
Now, is where the Tyreek Hill comparison comes in. The Chiefs used Hill to motion from side to side, in and out the slot, backfield, you name it. Hill helped identify coverages because the defense would shift to every move he would make.
Jordan Howard lining up on the field is going to force teams to respect run. Tarik Cohen motioning is going to tell Trubisky the play. He can check into a run, flip it out Cohen quick, or pick his poison knowing the play. This is the value of teaching a running back-wide receiver tricks.