Bears Draft Targets – RB (Part 2)
With the Chicago Bears 2-7 and no chance at the 2016 playoffs, I’ve decided to start my NFL draft preview a little early. That way readers have a chance to watch some of these players before the college football season is over.
I’ll be breaking down possible draft targets at every position, since the Bears pretty much have holes everywhere. Check out my links below to see other positions.
Bears Draft Targets:
8.) Brian Hill, Wyoming (6’1, 219)
Aggressive, north-south runner who is one of my favorite FCS prospects. Hill attacks the hole quickly, runs with a good plane through the hole, has an effective stutter-step in traffic, runs through arm tackles, and lowers his shoulder to gain a couple extra yards at the end of runs.
Once at the second level, Hill has surprising speed for a big back with 40-times as low as 4.47. He rarely gets caught from behind in the open field and changes directions smoothly without losing much speed. Hill has the 4th most yards in college football so far this season with 1,417 yards and 16 TDs.
Hill hasn’t been used much as a receiver in 2016, but has 37 receptions in his career and looks natural catching the ball out of the backfield. His combination of size, power, vision, quick feet, and aggressive running style should make Hill an effective NFL back and a steal if he falls to day three.
9.) Elijah McGuire, Louisiana Layettee (5’11, 220) –
One of the best receiving backs in the draft this year with 124 career catches and an average of over 10 yards per reception.
He’s isn’t just catching screen passes either, McGuire can run the whole NFL route tree and shows a natural ability to attack the ball on downfield passes. He’s already made a handful of highlight-reel catches in his career.
McGuire isn’t just a receiving back either; he’s a beast between the tackles with a low pad level and forward lean that makes him a very effective short-yardage runner. McGuire has 41 rushing TDs in three plus seasons and is a legit red-zone weapon as both a runner and receiver.
He’s one of the most complete backs in this year’s draft. I’ve already mentioned his receiving and short-yardage slills, but McGuire can also take the ball to the house when he gets outside. He’s been clocked anywhere from 4.4-4.5 and his power and quick feet make him difficult for DBs to bring down in the open field.
There isn’t much not to like about McGuire. His yards per carry has gone down from 8.4 as a freshman to 4.8 this season, but he is the heart of the Rajun Cajuns offense and the focus of defense’s game plans. At the next level, McGuire could play all three downs or fill any specialty role. He’s a great value on day three.
10.) Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego St (5’9, 180) – A little too small to be an every-down back at the next level, but Pumphrey has been an extremely productive back since his freshmen year. He’s taken his production to new levels as a senior. Despite being the main focus of opposing defenses, Pumphrey is leading the FBS in rushing with 1,924 yards from scrimmage and 14 TDs.
Pumphrey is a burner with a 40 times as low as 4.33, he also breaks a surprising amount of tackles for his size, has soft enough hands to play the slot if needed, elite vision allowing him to find holes in traffic, and the change-of-direction skills to make people miss badly in the open field. He has the look of an ideal 3rd-down back, a Darren Sproles clone, who would bring a different dimension to the Bears backfield.
11.) Marlon Mack, South Florida (6’0, 205) – Already a two-time first-team All-AAC player and he’s only a junior. Mack has been the Bulls workhorse since stepping on the field as a freshman and has increased his yards per carry from 5.2 to 6.6 to 6.9 near the end of his junior season.
Mack has increased his contributions as a receiver as well with a career-high 25 catches already this season. He has done it all for his team, despite defenses keying on him since early in his sophomore year. Mack is a sleeper in the draft right now, but by the time April rolls around he could be long gone by day three.