This Chicago Bears' running back needs to have an important role in 2024

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The Chicago Bears drafted Roschon Johnson in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL draft last season. At times Johnson looked like he belonged in the NFL, but he started the season low on the depth chart, and when injuries got him a chance to play, a concussion forced the team to look in another direction. 

Now, as Johnson enters year two there are serious questions about what type of role he can have. The natural progression would be for him to get more work than the 395 snaps that he played as a rookie. However, the Bears spent on D’Andre Swift, and he is going to get a lot of the work, especially in the passing game. 

Roschon Johnson saw 270 of his 395 snaps come on passing downs last year because he was the top pass protector. Johnson is a better pass protector than Swift, but if Swift is bringing so much value to the passing game with his ability to catch, it makes it harder to see Johnson getting on the field. 

The Chicago Bears need to see more from Roschon Johnson in 2024.

The plus side to Johnson is that he is the only back that weighs over 220 pounds. Last year he was losing work to D’onta Foreman, but this year Foreman is gone. Khalil Herbert is the smallest back on the roster and has never been a power back. Travis Homer will likely make it as the fourth back, but he is smaller and will only play special teams.

Swift is great at catching the ball and making big plays out of the backfield, but he is not as good when it comes to grinding out the game or wearing teams down with punishing blows. This is what Johnson can bring in his second year. He did not progress much in this area throughout the year, but the team needed him in a different role. In year two, he has to be that player and he has to take a step as a downhill runner. The Bears may not necessarily see more of Johnson, but they will see him in a different role than next year regardless.