By Ryan Bukowiecki (@ryanbski)
Our Chicago Bears reporter breaks down the team’s prospective prospects for the NFL draft, which takes place from April 25-27. Keep coming back each week until then for more scouting reports.
After several straight years of picking high in the first round of the NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears, barring a drastic trade up, will get a delayed start on this year’s draft, one that will likely not come until its second day.
Due to its still-stunning trade in September for then-Raiders defensive MVP Khalil Mack, who swiftly became the Bears’ MVP in the resulting months, and a draft-day trade last year to get promising play-making receiver Anthony Miller in the second round, Chicago isn’t scheduled to select anyone until the third round, the 87th pick to be exact.
Predicting the potential prospects available in the NFL draft is always difficult, starting out as late in the draft as the Bears are does not help things.
Luckily, the Bears are not a team that needs to fill a bunch of holes. The Bears can afford in this draft to target individual positions in the draft assuming the position group has talent and potential as opposed to just reaching for the greatest potential talent that they can get their hands on in all their spots.
A position that makes sense for the Bears to target in this draft is the running back position.
It is likely that the Bears will try to feature a new starting running back for next season and such a player may come from the draft. Enter Penn State running back Miles Sanders as a potential target for the Bears at No. 87. Last fall Sanders took over at Penn State for last year’s No. 2 overall pick Saquan Barkley.
Standing 5’11” and weighing 211 pounds, Sanders fits the mold of the majority of the class that are about 5’10” and 200 pounds with pass catching ability and short yardage burst though maybe without home run breakaway speed. Lets take a deeper prospect look at a potential talent for the Bears.
- 40 yard dash – 4.49 (Tied fifth out of all running backs)
- Bench press – 20 (Eighth out of all running backs)
- Vert Jump – 36.0 (Tied sixth out of all running backs)
- Broad Jump – 10’4” (Fourth out of all running backs)
- 3 cone drill – 6.89 (First out of all running backs)
- 20 yard shuttle – 4.19 (Third out of all running backs)
- 60 yard shuttle – Did not participate
- Hasn’t taken much wear and tear (276 carries at PSU)
- Skilled as a runner
- Can develop into an every down back
- Good instincts and vision
- Has patience as a runner to let things develop
- Can use too much shake and bake in the backfield
- Average acceleration speed
- Not much of a natural blocker
- Needs to improve ball security
Fit with the Bears:
The Bears showed a willingness to use multiple running backs, including their third – and fourth-string runners, in their first season under Matt Nagy. Sanders has the potential to be a pass catcher and the type of open field threat that coach Nagy can scheme for.
Sanders is more skill than athlete but he is a guy that showed the ability to be a weapon on the next level while at Penn State. Sanders has the type of patience, vision, footwork, power and elusiveness combination that has scouts believing he can develop into a starting NFL back.
If the Bears get Sanders and he can provide a jolt like last year’s rookies then he might be the piece that makes Chicago’s offense complete.
Ryan Bukowiecki covers the Chicago Bears and professional football for WARR