NFL Draft: Best and Worst Big Play RBs for Chicago Bears

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 17: Running back Devine Ozigbo #22 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers runs against the Michigan State Spartans in the first half at Memorial Stadium on November 17, 2018 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 17: Running back Devine Ozigbo #22 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers runs against the Michigan State Spartans in the first half at Memorial Stadium on November 17, 2018 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images) /

Who are the best at hitting the home run ball, and which running backs struggle in comparison?

Last week we broke down what the Chicago Bears are looking for in their running backs. They mentioned passing game ability, which we covered and lateral agility which we hit as well.

Here were some of the stand out notes:

Best Pass Catching Options: James Williams, Alexander Mattison, Mike Weber, Darrell Henderson, Trayveon Williams, Bruce Anderson

Most Elusive Options: James Williams, Darrell Henderson, Bryce Love

Pass catching Red Flags: Miles Sanders, Devin Singletary, Bryce Love, Dexter Williams, Myles Gaskin, RyQuell Armstead, Josh Jacobs

Elusive Red Flags: Trayveon Williams, RyQuell Armstead, Myles Gaskin

However, they also hit on the idea of not only being laterally agile but also being able to do it at the third level. This means breaking off big runs.

This could be a part of why Jordan Howard is no longer here, as he broke tackles, but never at the second level. His big-play runs shrank by the year and we saw what happened. If you cannot hit the big play you are in trouble. With that in mind, how can we project backs who may fit this role?

Breakaway run rate:

The Darrel Henderson tier

Darrell Henderson has a 70% breakaway run rate. No one else is over 60%. He is an outlier over the other outliers and is the only back worth trading up for.

Good Outliers: Devin Singletary, Devine Ozigbo, Trayveon Williams, Dexter Williams, Bruce Anderson

Bad Outliers:  Alexander Mattison, Josh Jacobs, James Williams

This was important for every player who stood out in the good. Singletary has serious questions in his deep speed, so to see the tape show that he broke away in more scenarios than his peers is huge. Ozigbo and Dexter Williams are bigger backs who brought elusive and passing game questions but now show big-play upside at their sizes. Anderson also needs to stand out with the small school label. Trayveon Williams showed well as a pass catcher but is more of a straight line runner than elusive, which was known.

Mattison is not a huge surprise with his speed, as he is looked at as a capable pass catcher who can explode in spurts. However, Jacobs and Williams are disappointments. Jacobs is supposed to be a top tier prospect but does not have high-end numbers, and Williams checked a variety of boxes in the past two posts, but may not possess that ability to finish runs.

Miles Sanders, RyQuell Armstead, Bryce Love showed above average in their breakaway rates, and all three are known for their speed. With his agility and breakaway rate, Sanders is starting to show why the raw tape is worthy.

Myles Gaskin, Benny Snell, and Mike Weber were below average here. Mike Weber has tested speed, but his lack of agility and tackle breaking qualities makes him less explosive than Armstead. Snell was not expected to be a breakaway player, but Gaskin continues to disappoint in every area.

Burst score

Burst score looks into a players weight, their vertical jump and their broad jump. It shows that quick ability when a back is able to put his foot down and explode.

Good Outliers: Alexander Mattison, Miles Sanders, Devine Ozigbo, Dexter Williams

Bad Outliers: RyQuell Armstead, Benny Snell

*Mike Weber and Bryce Love did not qualify

Now you are starting to see why these backs are getting some love. Mattison is not going to finish runs but has the agility and short-area burst to consistently explode for 4-5. Sanders now shows agility and burst in his testing scores, solidifying that he is raw upside. However, Ozigbo and Williams remain the clear winners here. Ozigbo, in particular, has shown that he can break tackles, finish runs and explode. For Williams, he went from a player who should go undrafted to a player with understandable intrigue.

Dexter Williams was once in a tier with Armstead but has shown to provide slightly more upside in big play production and agility in space. Snell continues to show that he is a plodder who wore teams down as the game went on.

Henderson, Singletary, Gaskin, and James Williams showed above-average burst. This is another huge win for Singletary, who needs to check as many boxes as possible at this point. James Williams also gets some benefit in the lack of explosive runs because is explosive overall, broke tackles, and was used so often in the passing game.

Bruce Anderson, Josh Jacobs, and Trayveon Williams were below their peers in burst. This equally damaging to all three. Anderson because he has shown that some his burst could be against small schools. Jacobs because he seems to be skating by on a small sample of somewhat productive tape, and Williams because he is undersized and not agile. To add a lack of short-area explosion can provide similar questions to Devin Singletary.


Speed score adjusts players 40-yard dash for their weight. You would not expect a 220-pound to run the same speed as a 190-pound back. However, bigger back at a slower speed, but a better speed score creates more force on a football field.

Good Outliers: Devine Ozigbo, RyQuell Armstead

Bad Outliers: Devin Singletary, James Williams, Josh Jacobs 

*Bryce Love did not test

We are just going to move past Armstead due to all of his other red flags. As for Ozigbo, he is starting to become a very intriguing option who is limited in the passing game but has shown to break tackles in space and finish runs with force.

More from Bear Goggles On

Josh Jacobs finishes runs with force, but did it in a very small sample and has some negatives on tape as well. Add in limited testing, and maybe the media is high on him and the Bears did bring him for consideration at 87?

The lack of deep speed can show for both Singletary and Williams. It is less concerning with Williams, who can explode and elude for quick gains, as well as add in the passing game. Singletary finished runs and broke tackles, and while he showed that short-area explosion that shows in his jukes, he also was caught from behind on video.

Henderson, Sanders, and Weber were above average in this area. The clear winner here is Sanders, who officially has real upside.

Snell. Dexter and Trayveon Williams and Bruce Anderson showed in the average tier here, right in the middle. A win considering the size of Snell and Dexter Williams, it has to be looked at as a loss for Trayveon and Anderson.

Mattison and Gaskin were not quite outliers but were not great either. The Bears likely brought in Gaskin as a 7th round pick or UDFA, and while Mattison ran better at his Pro Day than the combine, he clearly does not have deep speed.

Third Level Winners: Miles Sanders, Darrell Henderson, Devine Ozigbo, Dexter Williams

Red Flags: Myles Gaskin, James Williams, Josh Jacobs, Alexander Mattison 

Sanders, Ozigbo, and Williams were backs who brought questions to the table from our last two posts. However, Ozigbo and Sanders answer most of theirs while Williams still has questions in how he can use this combination of speed and burst to find consistency, and not be a tell that run is coming when he is on the field.

James Williams and Mattison stood out in previous posts, but a lack of the big play hold them down from hands down options, to options worth considering. Josh Jacobs continues to lose in this process, and Gaskin looks like a UDFA.