Do not miss out on Part One. The Chicago Bears know running backs. I don’t even know if I need to cover these two prospects, but I will. Elijah Mitchell might be the fastest running back entering this year’s NFL draft. The pro-day 40-yard dashes were historical this year. Many scouts are adding some fluff, or the athletes are even more athletic than ever before.
Mitchell ran a 4.32 during one of his attempts. Unlike Justice Hill (2019 NFL draft), Mitchell lacks an injury history. Both running backs play a similar style of football. Both running backs caught passes out of the backfield, and both have shown the ability to outrun any defender trying to catch them.
Mitchell could have entered the NFL draft last season but decided to return to college and end his four seasons with 3,267 rushing yards, 46 total touchdowns, and 597 receiving yards. Mitchell hasn’t shown the ability to do backflips while catching a football, but he has demonstrated he could produce in a Tarik Cohen-like role.
The other running back, Nate McCrary of Saginaw Valley, is likely someone you have never heard of before. Most might overlook him because of the school he went to, but if we judged players based on what school they attended, we would not have witnessed some of the greats we had the luxury of seeing.
When talking about small school prospects, we want to see domination. McCrary dominated over the last two seasons as a full-time starter with the Cardinals. In his final season, McCrary rushed for 1,060 yards and 28 touchdowns.
McCrary is listed at 6’0″ and 220 pounds. Built like Jordan Howard, McCrary ran through Central Michigan’s pro-day as he played there. Running a 4.37 40-yard dash, a 36-inch vertical jump, and a 10’5″ board jump should perk up the NFL scout’s ears. At the same time, it will be tough to gauge his talent because he played for such a small school. James Robinson of the Jacksonville Jaguars should have opened the door to these types of players though.
They say running backs are not a valued position in the NFL draft. That might be true when it comes to winning, but not all teams are drafting talented producers. The Chicago Bears traded up to draft David Montgomery when they could have settled on Damien Harris or fan-favorite Trayveon Williams.
Oh yes, how quickly we forget. I know you were on that bandwagon. Sometimes a team needs to look outside of the box. McCrary could be that guy. After all, he could end up being better than Damien Williams. If anything, it seems like Ryan Pace beat the fans to that draft in 2018. The Chicago Bears could still have a significant need for a running back had he listened.