Ranking 5 best running backs in 2023 NFL draft

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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As the Chicago Bears get ready for the NFL draft we will be ranking some of the top players at each position. Today, we will look at the top running backs in the 2023 NFL Draft. What do they bring to the table, and how would they fit Chicago?

5. Tyjae Spears, Tulane

NFL Comparison: Devonta Freeman

Tyjae Spears did not play much in his first two seasons, then started to get work in 2021, posting 863. Last season he broke out as the leading back on a historic Tulane team that went to the Cotton Bowl and beat USC.

He posted 1,586 yards, and 19 touchdowns last year. Spears ranked third in elusive rate last behind only DeWayne McBride and Bijan Robinson. That is the name of his game, and why his comparison to Devonta Freeman makes so much sense.

He is great at staying low to the ground and making sharp cuts in a zone-based scheme. Beyond that, he ranked third in breakaway yards, which showed a strong ability to get to second gear after he made that cut. The ability to cut and maintain speed is impressive and will be what has him getting attention in the NFL. Lastly, he has started to show himself in the passing game.

He has a couple of knee injuries to look into and while he can catch passes, he is limited as a blocker. Spears is projected to be a fourth-round pick. If the Chicago Bears drafted him, the question is whether he would be redundant to Khalil Herbert. Both are quick-cut players with big play potential, and both have issues in pass protection that may limit their role to a rotation.