Bears 2023 NFL Draft Preview: Bijan Robinson and the Running Backs

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Bears 2023 NFL Draft Preview: Bijan Robinson and the Running Backs

Chicago Bears

The 2023 NFL Draft is around the corner. And unlike last year when Ryan Poles didn’t have a first-round pick, the second-year Chicago Bears GM has a top 10 selection to work with. He’ll get to work with Assistant GM Ian Cunningham, Head Coach Matt Eberflus, and others as they put their heads together to come up with a winning draft plan. We’re looking at some of the best prospects at various positions leading up to the Draft in search of fits for the Bears’ needs.

Previous: Quarterbacks

Today: Running backs

Currently on the Roster (2022 PFF Grade)

D’Onta Foreman (73.1), Khalil Herbert (72.5), Travis Homer (63.2), Trestan Ebner (52.5), Khari Blasingame (59.6)

BN’s Composite Ranking

Ranking prospects is difficult, in part, because no one publication has the same set of fundamentals or preferences. In an attempt to work through that noise, we’re using a composite ranking based on opinions from PFF, ESPN, CBS Sports, and The Athletic, and adapting them to a points scale. The best of the top-10 prospects gets 10 points, the 10th-ranked prospect gets 1, and prospects outside the top 10 get 0. From there, the prospects are ranked by total points.

Here’s how the top prospects stack up (points in parenthesis):

  1. Bijan Robinson, Texas (40)
  2. Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama (36)
  3. Zach Charbonnet, UCLA (28)
  4. Devon Achane, Texas A&M (26)
  5. Tyjae Spears, Tulane (24)
  6. Tank Bigsby, Auburn (17)
  7. Roschon Johnson, Texas (15)
  8. Kendre Miller, TCU (13)
  9. DeWayne McBride, UAB (10)
  10. Zach Evans, Ole Miss (4)

Also receiving Top-10 consideration: Sean Tucker (Syracuse), Israel Abanikanda (Pitt), Deuce Vaughn (Kansas State), Keaton Mitchell (East Carolina), Eric Gray (Oklahoma)

Team Fit and Need

On the surface, it doesn’t look like the Bears have needs at this position. Khalil Herbert is coming off a season in which he had the highest yards per carry among running backs who played enough snaps to qualify for the rushing title. D’Onta Foreman, while new, has a recent track record showing he can be a quality 1B option and was averaging more yards per attempt than the player he is replacing (David Montgomery). And yet, the Bears could still use some juice. After all, no position sees more attrition than the running back.

Bears Connections

Bijan Robinson, the best back in his class, played darts with the Bears:

ICYMI: The Bears playing bar games with top prospects at the Combine was A THING.

If I Had to Pick One:

However, let it be known there is an argument to take a running back with a top 10 pick.

And I’m thankful Marcus Spears is bold enough to make it:

Now, the Eagles and Bears are in different places going into the draft. Philly is coming off a season in which it had a halftime lead in the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, Chicago’s football team entered the offseason owning the first pick. Nevertheless, Spears gives us something to chew on.

If the Bears had gone about filling needs along the offensive or defensive lines in free agency, I would be more open to doing something wild like draft Texas’ Bijan Robinson with a top-10 pick. Robinson’s playmaking ability could take Chicago’s offense to another level. Imagine teaming him with Justin Fields, Khalil Herbert, and D’Onta Foreman on any given play. But because of the team’s needs elsewhere, I’m not totally comfortable rolling the dice on drafting a running back that early.

However, if anyone is worth it, it would be Bijan.

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.