With the Bears already having addressed the offensive line with their first round selection of Vanderbilt's Chris Williams the Bears used the opportunity to bolster the position that Williams will be blocking for. The Bears selected Tulane running back Matt Forte.
Forte is not as easy of a pick to justify. The Bears had many other options to consider. Texas wide receiver Limas Swee was mocked by most in the first round, to pick him up in the 2nd would have given whoever the Bears decide to start at QB a big target to go after. Also two QBs, Louisville's Brian Brohm and Michigan's Chad Henne were both on the board. Both almost fell to the Bears in the third, but a late mini run at the end of the 2nd took them both off the board.
The pick brings into question Cedric Benson's role with the Bears. Forte really isn't a complement player, he is more of a take over the job guy. Are the Bears prepared to set Benson adrift? Does this mean the Bears will carry 4 running backings going into the 08 season?
Whether your opinion is that the Bears made the right pick or that they took a third round talent in the second round or that they should have taken Rutger's Ray Rice instead the Bears addressed their two biggest needs and consider the day a win.
“Offensive line and running back were two of the positions that we had our eye on going into the draft,” said coach Lovie Smith. “So it’s a good day for us to be able to fill both of those needs.”
The Bears were impressed with Forte’s production and the fact that he remained in school to play all four years. As a senior, the 6-1, 217-pounder rushed for 2,217 yards and 23 touchdowns and caught 32 passes for 282 yards.
“He has excellent speed, he has good size and he can make you miss,” Smith said. “All the things you look for in a good running back he has.”
The pick gets an A for position, but the question of whether the minor reach to get him is justified does bring it down a bit.