With the Bears staying out of the deeper end of the free-agent pool of available running backs so far this offseason, it’s probably not a coincidence that two of the more intriguing running back prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft paid a visit to Chicago.
Josh Norris of NBC Sports/Rotoworld tweets the Bears hosted Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams for a visit on Tuesday. The team also received a visit from Florida Atlantic running back Devin Singletary on Wednesday, according to NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread. Both of these backs could be possible mid-round targets who could be available when the Bears are on the clock. Let’s get to know them briefly.
Singletary was a touchdown machine at Florida Atlantic, scoring 67 times in 38 games during his three-year college career. As a true collegiate workhorse, Singletary was given 714 carries as the main man on campus. However, it’s not like his production was driven by his volume of work. Singletary averaged 6.0 yards per carry while at FAU (though that number dipped from 6.4 yards per rush to 5.2 from his sophomore to junior seasons). Perhaps that slip in statistical excellence has caused Singletary’s draft stock to dive, but it could also lead to him being available for the Bears as a potential draft-weekend steal. Because while it’s admittedly a red flag to see a college back be driven that hard with that type of work load, he wouldn’t assume those duties as a rookie middle-round pick. Not with how Matt Nagy likes to divvy up the touches in the backfield.
Williams led the SEC in rushing yards (1,760) and ground scores (18) and added 27 catches for 278 yards and a receiving touchdown for good measure in 2018. You’re going to open up eyes any time you can rack up 2,038 scrimmage yards, 2,038 yards, and 19 total touchdowns on 298 touches against defenses in college football’s most competitive conference, and Williams did just that in 2018. Williams also has special teams experience that dates back to his sophomore year with the Aggies. He returned six kicks for 183 yards in 2017, which comes out to an average of 30.5 yards per return. Ummm, yes please!
Possible running back fits such as Le’Veon Bell, Mark Ingram, and Tevin Coleman signed free agent deals with teams that weren’t the Bears. And while that’s a disappointment to some, the Bears didn’t desperately need to add any of those backs to their rotation.
Would it have been nice? Sure. Could any of them have provided an upgrade? Totally. Is it the end of the football world that no one from the big three free agent backs are on the Bears? Definitely not.
And it’s not as if the Bears are out of the running back market altogether. The Bears turning their attention to the NFL Draft where they can pluck a potential long-term solution on a rookie scale salary would certainly help their salary cap situation. And as far as we’re concerned, we could use some brushing up with regards to the best prospect fits for the Bears in the draft.
GM Ryan Pace has made some nifty grabs at the running back position in prior years and could be in a position to do so again in 2019, where there will be no shortage of candidates.