Jordan and Chicago go together like peaches and cream, Le’Veon Bell and weed, the sun and the moon, the Jets and Al Toon, wind and water, Johnny Manziel and TMZ fodder, night and day, and Razzball and fantasy pay days. The last championship for the Bears was back in 1985. It looks like management is trying to hearken the ghosts of past success by merging the iconic name of Jordan with the Windy City again.

With the 150th overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears selected running back Jordan Howard of Indiana University. Howard is 6’0″, 230 lbs and runs a 4.60 40-yard dash and 7.14 3-cone. He’s not a gangbanger with speed. Rather, he’s more like an agile bulldozer with NOS. Raise the front blade and watch defenders succumb.

Now, I’m just some dude sitting in the proverbial mom’s basement, but below are experts’ opinion on Howard…

  • PFF – “If he can stay healthy, he may be the best option for an every-down back after Ezekiel Elliot.”
  • NFL.com – “He’s the best pure running back in this draft.” – Anonymous AFC running backs coach.

Everyone in the NFL is talented. They are the cream of the crop, which makes what the superstars do that much more impressive. With that said, fantasy football is all about opportunity. Tevin Coleman got hurt last year, which opened the door for Devonta Freeman to explode. What’s the scene look like in Chicago?

Jeremy Langford seems to be atop the depth chart, with Ka’Deem Carey and Jacquizz Rodgers behind. Mike Clay of PFF describes Langford perfectly. He is just not that good. Carey is JAG and Rodgers could be in the mix for some passing down work. As it currently stands, head coach John Fox plans to use the “hot hand approach.”

This could be construed negatively, as all the backs will be involved with no one back receiving the bulk of the work. Fox has used RBBC in the past with Jonathan Stewart/DeAngelo Williams and DeShaun Foster/DeAngelo Williams and DeShaun Foster/Stephen Davis.

I am not too concerned, though. Below is a table showing the rushing attempts rank for every team Fox has coached:

Year Rushing Attempts, Ranked
2002 13
2003 3
2004 22
2005 10
2006 24
2007 9
2008 6
2009 2
2010 15
2011 1
2012 9
2013 11
2014 12
2015 6

Bottom line is that the Bears are going to run the ball and there will be plenty of opportunities, even if it is a committee. What gets my blood flowing is that Howard fits exactly what the coaching staff wants from the run game: tough, physical, and down-hill. He probably conjures up fine memories of Stephen Davis for Fox. Below are the two healthy seasons that Davis had under Fox.

Year Rush Yards Touchdowns
2003 318 1444 8
2005 180 549 12

A realistic floor is sharing carries with the others but garnering most of the red zone scoring opportunities. The upside is feature back.

The Bears have rebuilt their offensive line over the years to be more athletic in order to run a zone-blocking scheme. What does Howard do best? According to the PFF team, Howard is an “excellent zone runner” who “understands when to cut back and when to stay frontside.”

Howard is being drafted as the 56th running back off the board. I think he has the talent and opportunity to end up as a top-10 running back. If he hits…

Even if he doesn’t, the risk/reward is heavily skewed in your favor right now.

 

 

I appreciate you taking the time to read. You can reach me @Stan_Son.