Could the Chicago Bears find a gem in the late rounds with North Dakota State running back Bruce Anderson
The Chicago Bears are digging deeper into running back than any other position this draft season. They have met with a plethora of running backs to ensure that they know what they are getting whether they draft a back in round three, in the middle rounds, or later into the NFL draft.
One of the options that they met with who could be around later is Bruce Anderson. Anderson is an interesting back from North Dakota State who averaged 6 yards per carry in his college career.
Anderson had success early in his career as a kick returner and also has 32 career receptions that turned into seven receiving touchdowns.
He did not get an invite to the NFL combine but did have a solid showing at his Pro Day, which gave him the chance to be drafted. What type of back is Anderson?
Bruce Anderson has the upside to be an every-down back. He is over 200 pounds and carries his weight well as he runs with a combination of power and finesse. Anderson has a strong lower body, which shows in shedding tackles, but also explosive juke moves to clear himself free for big runs. Anderson has decent closing speed to finish runs as well.
Bruce Anderson is a savvy pass catcher and can work as a route runner down the field and with the ball in his hands. He also shines in pass protection.
The obvious question is the level of competition. Bruce Anderson did not face many high profile players, and while NDSU was consistently one of the better teams, Anderson also saw a decrease in workload from his junior to senior season.
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Anderson has lower body strength, but is an upright runner, and can lose some of his finishing power due to leverage. While Anderson is elusive in space, he does not possess excellent vision, and at times will rely on his athletic ability to get himself out of trouble. This can work against lower level players but not if he steps up.
"Possesses decent size and speed, but is missing functional vision, patience and power. Anderson runs with a narrow base which robs him of contact balance and lateral elusiveness and he doesn’t have a good feel for setting up blocks and choosing optimal rushing lanes. Anderson will need to shine on special teams and prove he can handle third-down duties to improve his chances of making a roster."
Bruce Anderson is a player the Chicago Bears should look into in the seventh round if they miss out on their top options. He is a multi-purpose back who can compliment Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis stylistically.
His raw ability, combined with plus pass catching and blocking can get him on the field in the Benny Cunningham role while he gets his NFL legs to him. With the chance to immediate help and the upside to grow as a more patient runner, Bruce Anderson is an excellent late round backup plan.