Thursday, May 1, 2014
Bears draft focus: RB
By Jeff Dickerson
The signing of veteran tailback Shaun Draughn last week eased some concerns about the Bears' lack of depth in their offensive backfield, but the team could decide to add another running back in the later rounds of next month's draft to compliment the current trio of Matt Forte, Michael Ford and Draughn.
One potential candidate is Wisconsin running back James White, the Badgers' fourth all-time leading rusher with 4,015 yards. White's 45 career rushing touchdowns ranks third in school history.
ESPNChicago.com reported in mid-April that the Bears had traveled to Madison, Wis. and conducted a private workout with White, who led all rushers with 11 carries for 62 yards and one touchdown at the 2014 at the 2014 Senior Bowl.
Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas reportedly made a pre-draft visit to Halas Hall.
Both White and Thomas are listed at 5-foot-9.
While Forte handled almost all of the snaps at running back last year in Marc Trestman's offense, the Bears do need to have a plan in place in case Forte is forced to miss time or a game due to injury. The club released veteran Michael Bush prior to the start of free agency.
Ford is a promising second-year player out of LSU, but he did not carry the ball in 2013. However, he is expected to compete for the No. 2 job in the preseason.
Since the general consensus in the NFL is that running backs can be found almost anywhere, the Bears should have a large group of players to choose from if they want to invest one of their final picks in the position.
Five potential targets:
1. James White, Wisconsin
2. De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
3. Isaiah Crowell, Alabama State
4. Marion Grice, Arizona State
5. James Wilder Jr., Florida State
The next five: 6. Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern; 7. Rajion Neal, Tennessee; 8. Tyler Gaffney, Louisville; 9. Senorise Perry; 10. Storm Johnson, UCF.
Position grade: C