As the Chicago Bears are about to flip the calendar to April, all eyes are on the NFL Draft. Might the team use the 43rd overall pick on a running back?
It was about this time a year ago that similar discussions were occurring within the local media and blog writers. And for good reason, as the Chicago Bears had just traded Jordan Howard to the Philadelphia Eagles for a conditional six-round pick. That left only Tarik Cohen and Taquan Mizzell as members of the backfield on the roster.
It was nearly a foregone conclusion that the Chicago Bears were going to utilize the first pick on a running back. Without first and second-round picks, it was critical to shoring up the position. Miles Sanders had been mocked to the Bears, but he was taken by the Eagles in the second round. And three picks before the Bears were officially on the clock, the Los Angeles Rams grabbed Darrell Henderson.
Tabbed as a dual-threat back, David Montgomery was an excellent pick for the Chicago Bears in the third round. He played in all 16 games, including eight starts, and rushed for 889 yards while hauling in 25 receptions for 185 yards as well. His 3.7 yards-per-carry was good for 41st in the NFL last season, but much of that was due to struggles along the offensive line.
Tarik Cohen wasn’t much better in 2019. After two productive seasons in Chicago, last year cast much doubt if he was part of the long-term future. And while the offensive line regressed, Cohen proved that he wasn’t capable of being the number two back on the roster.
Next month, the Chicago Bears will have seven picks in the NFL Draft but won’t make their first pick until 43rd overall and in the second round. Fortunately, they have two picks relatively close to one another with the next one at 50th overall, which offers some flexibility in how General Manager Ryan Pace can approach the draft.