Would Georgia running back Elijah Holyfield fit well with the Chicago Bears offense?
Elijah Holyfield is an interesting prospect who is the son of former heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield. Holyfield spent most of his career backing up Nick Chubb and Sony Michel but was able to start for one season where he racked up over 1,000 yards. Is Holyfield a fit for the Chicago Bears style and when could they draft the Georgia running back?
Elijah Holyfield is a power back. He plays low to the ground and uses his lower body power to drive off of hits and extend runs after contact. His short area burst is impressive. For his power, he does bring finesse in his footwork. Holyfield is crafty in setting up defenders at the second level and using quick jukes to break runs.
The combination of vision, quick cuts and power is a strong base of skills. Holyfield is a strong pass protector and has limited carries under his belt which could lead to bigger pro workloads.
Holyfield was not used in the passing game. That has been an issue with Georgia running backs for a while, and Nick Chubb showed last season that he could catch, he just was not used in that area. Still, Sony Michel had issues with drops last season, and Holyfield was used less than either in the passing game.
Speaking of Chubb and Michel, Holyfield spent most of his career behind the two and did not see much action. Georgia also saw D’Andre Swift slowly step in for him this season. Michel and Chubb are NFL starters and Swift is entering 2019 as the top running back in college football. Still, Holyfield was unable to shine above these talents.
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Holyfield has good burst through the holes, but does not bring breakaway speed at the next level.
Someone that Holyfield would compare favorably could be Jordan Howard. Power, vision, more quick than fast, but lacking in the passing game. Sounds like Howard.
There is a debate going on that Howard is not a bad scheme fit and that his issues this season stemmed from a poor run blocking line. That is fair and could still be a reason to add Holyfield and trade Howard.
Howard is a free agent next season. At that point, he will get a couple of million dollars more per year than a mid-round pick such as Holyfield. In Holyfield, they find a player who fits a similar mold with four years of a cheaper salary on their hands. The cycle continues.
Of course, the question from there becomes whether or not Nagy does view Howard as a system fit. The big issue for Howard is not running between the tackles but adding significant passing game value. Holyfield will get a chance to show he can catch, but Miles Sanders may come at a similar draft price and is a strong pass catcher.
We will see what Nagy values in his running backs as he deciphers his favorites.