Countdown to the 2014 NFL Draft: State of the Bears running backs

April 22nd, 2014 - 9:00 am

A look at the state of the Bears’ running backs as the 2014 NFL Draft fast approaches.

The Good: The Bears couldn’t have been more happy with Matt Forte in Marc Trestman’s first season with the team. The offense Trestman runs fits best with a versatile running back like Forte, and the sixth-year back put up incredible numbers. Forte finished second in the NFL with 1,339 rushing yards, averaged 4.6 yards per carry, and scored nine touchdowns on the ground. What Forte did in the passing game was equally, if not more impressive. Forte hauled in an astounding 74 receptions — third most among running backs — for 594 yards and three touchdowns. To add to that resume, Forte was also solid in pass protection, which is an absolute must for running backs in Trestman’s multi-receiver sets.

The Bad: Forte is rapidly approaching that dreaded age of 30, which has been unkind to running backs. He also has a lot of mileage on his legs from overuse throughout his career, a more startling realization than his actual age number. The Bears also parted ways with backup Michael Bush to save some cap space and the team has been unable to solidify the position in recent years, failing on Bush, Marion Barber, and Chester Taylor in recent years. The Bears might decide to go young at this point and insert Michael Ford or even potentially draft a running back in the late rounds of this year’s draft. But if Forte went down with an injury, it would greatly reduce the explosiveness of the Bears’ offense.

Next Up: Countdown to the 2014 NFL Draft: State of the Bears wide receivers