The 10 Most Important Bears for 2011 - #3 Matt Forte

CHICAGO IL - JANUARY 16: Running back Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears attempts to jump into the endzone but is stopped short in the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks in the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16 2011 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Having Matt Forte this high was unexpected.  I compiled my initial list then started moving guys around, dropping guys out of the top 10, and Forte kept creeping up the list.  This is his highest placement in the 3 years I've done the series.  In my opinion, he's one of the best all around running backs in the league.  He's a great fit for the Mike Martz offense, and I expect a huge year from Forte in 2011.

The Bears really started to click in the second half when they went with a bit more balanced offense, but it's Forte's receiving skills that has me putting him at #3. He can split out wide and run routes like a wide receiver.  He runs a great wheel route out of the backfield, and his blitz pickup is as good as anyone in the game today.

Another reason Forte is so high is the depth at the running back position.  While I think Chester Taylor is capable of playing much better, and his 2010 season was an aberration, he's still about to start his 10th NFL season and will turn 32 in a few months.  You can't outrun Father Time, and when he catches you, you're done.  We'll have to see how he is in '11. 

Redshirt freshman Harvey Unga is an unknown.  I'm hopeful he can bring a bruising element to the run game, but like Taylor, we'll have to wait and see. 

And if anyone is high on Kahlil Bell after his 2009 72 yard run, it's time to put down the kool-aid.  I just hope he can fill the special teams void from free agent Garrett Wolfe.

The Bears need the o-line to take a jump in play, and for Forte to build off his fine 2011 season.  If Forte once again has 50+ receptions and can stay north of last years 4.5 yards per carry, the Bears will stack some wins, and find themselves back in the playoffs.

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