With all the activity around the Chicago Bears roster, one position that has been suspiciously quiet is running back. With the offensive line and wide receivers secure, could the team target that area early in the NFL draft, and if so is Bishop Sankey their guy?
Michael Bush exit leaves Michael Ford as only backup
No position on a roster in pro football endures more punishment and has a shorter shelf life than running back. That is why teams must be very careful to continue investing each year in it or they risk their running game becoming a non-factor on offense and exposing the all-important quarterback to more hits and sacks. The Chicago Bears understood this well last season and certainly have plans to remain balanced in 2014. Easy as that sounds, they are faced with a troubling situation. Despite having a Pro Bowl runner in Matt Forte, the depth of their running back position is noticeably thinner. Veteran Michael Bush was cut during free agency, leaving untried second-year man Michael Ford as the only backup available. The undrafted free agent out of LSU did not receive a single carry in 2013. It’s not realistic seeing him stepping in as a workhorse if Forte went down. Throw in the fact Chicago has not tried to add any help from free agency hints they might go shopping in the NFL draft.
Sankey mirrors similar skill set to Matt Forte
If that’s true the question become when and who? Conventional wisdom says the Bears will wait until at least the third round in order to reserve the first two for adding difference-makers on defense. However, after a successful stint in free agency reloading that side of the ball, GM Phil Emery might feel emboldened enough to go offense as early as the second round if the right player is available. One such player is Washington running back Bishop Sankey. The leading rusher in the Pac-12, he was perhaps the best all-around player at his position in the 2014 class. He’s thickly built with good agility, vision, toughness and acceleration to get through holes. Catching passes was a key part of his game and he’s shown the strength and willingness to pass block too. Of all the players in this class, he probably mirrors the game of Matt Forte the most save maybe for West Virginia standout Charles Sims. Sankey has the tape and tested very well at the scouting combine. He’s a perfect fit for the Marc Trestman offense.
Much needs to happen for the Chicago Bears to go after a running back early in the NFL Draft. Still, if the chips fall their way Bishop Sankey is a guy they are certain to target.