Chicago Bears Are Targeting Another 4th-5th Round Playmaker!
After the dust settled from free agency the Bears didn't waste any time looking forward to the draft. In Ryan Pace's career as a General Manager, 8 of the 13 players drafted between the 3rd and 5th rounds have earned starting nods at some point as a Bear. All 13 mid-round selections are currently employed by an NFL franchise. Looking at running backs specifically, all three have been selected in the 4th and 5th rounds. Jeremy Langford (106) and Tarik Cohen (119) were drafted in the 4th round and Jordan Howard (150) in the 5th. This year the Bears have picks 87, 126, and 162 in the middle rounds. So far the Bears prospect meetings have been dominated by running backs, adding to the evidence the organization is trying to find a running back that fits their system better than Jordan Howard.
The graph above shares details on the mid-round running back prospects the Bears have met within the 2019 off-season leading to the draft. Prior to the 2018 season, Bryce Love was easily the most impressive of the prospects, having a Heisman-like season in 2017. Unfortunately for Love, he was injured for most of the 2018 season, ultimately tearing his ACL on the last snap of this 2018 season on December 1st. He underwent surgery on December 18th and is expected to make a full recovery before the start of the 2019 season. He has not worked out thus far, but Stanford's pro day is April 4th, the last of all college pro days, and there is a slight possibility he will be able to run.
Ryquell Armstead and Trayveon Williams are both coming off of their best seasons, whereas Mike Weber had his best season in 2016. When looking at Trayveon Williams, the 27 receptions stand out. His numbers at the combine were underwhelming, placing him near last in all the running categories, but on tape he seems to be elusive. He is fluid catching out of the backfield and is patient when finding the hole. He is only 5'8" and 206 lbs but is still able to lower his shoulder in the second level. Overall he looked most impressive catching the ball and finding the second level but didn't have the breakaway speed to be a constant home run threat.
The Bears have met with 7 running backs - a few of them multiple times - and the list will continue to grow. If Miles Sanders falls to 87 it's plausible they draft him, but this draft is also very deep in safety and edge rush prospects. Based on Pace's history and the prospects available, I fully expect the Bears to continue their trend and draft a running back in the fourth or fifth round. If Bryce Love had entered the draft in 2018 he wouldn't have fallen past the 3rd round, and after seeing how Eddie Jackson worked out, If Bryce Love is there at 126, it's likely he will be selected by the Bears.