Ryan Poles hints toward Roschon Johnson's role with the Chicago Bears
By Peter Jurich
Following the conclusion of the third day of the 2023 NFL Draft, Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus took to the podium in Hallas Hall to address the media regarding the newest additions to the roster.
Chicago Bears add Roschon Johnson, expected to contribute early
While the third day of the draft was initially supposed to start with the Bears making their fourth-round selection, the team traded the pick to the New Orleans Saints, moving back 12 selections while adding a fifth-round selection for later in the day. After moving down, the Bears selected Texas running back Roschon Johnson with the 115th overall pick, adding a player who could bring a brand new dimension to Chicago's rebuilding offense.
At 6' 0" and 220 lbs, Johnson is a large, physical player who performed well at Texas as a secondary option behind Thursday's eighth-overall pick in Bijan Robinson. Despite not being the first option out of the Longhorns' backfield the past two seasons, Johnson nonetheless was a productive part of the team's offense, recording 1,334 total yards and 11 touchdowns on 214 touches since 2021.
Now a member of the new-look Chicago Bears offense, Johnson will come into the league competing for carries and touches in a running back room that includes Khalil Herbert and two recent free agent signings in D'Onta Foreman and Travis Homer. The rookie running back certainly has a way to go in terms of climbing the depth chart, but Poles made it clear that he and the organization have high hopes for Roschon Johnson:
""[Johnson] is a guy I was shocked that was still on the board [at 115 overall]. He is a really good football player that I know is going to be successful in this league, in many different ways. On top of that... he is an unbelievable human being who is going to enhance our culture, enhance our locker room, and continue to meet the standards that we put in place". "- Ryan Poles, Chicago Bears GM
It appears that the Bears' brass is particularly high on the fourth-round selection, perhaps more so than other organizations, but the excitement around Johnson is quite obvious, especially when Poles was asked about how he envisions the young player contributing to the offense early in his career:
""I think he increases the competition in the running back room, but the cool thing about him is, if you watch Texas tape, he does a lot. He pass protects really well, that stands out. He's done some quarterback stuff, he came out of high school as a quarterback. This is going to allow our offensive staff to do some really cool things with him and keep the defense on their toes". "- Ryan Poles, Chicago Bears GM
Johnson has the potential to be one of the biggest steals in this year's draft and has the potential and talent to contribute to the Bears' offense as soon as his first game. Chicago's front office has clearly put a premium on adding offensive talent to this roster, and Johnson seems to be a key part of this strategy moving forward.