Over at ESPN, they've been running through about a mock a week from their expert mockers. And we've been bringing you their Chicago Bears picks all mock-draft season. Some have been good, some have been bad, and some just made no sense at all.
The latest exercise form the ESPN Insider crew is pickling five bad player/team fits and five perfect player/teams fits among the 2016 NFL Draft prospects. The Bears didn't receive a mention in their "Don't draft that guy!" article, but they did get mentioned in their "Playing the match game: Five prospect-and-team fits that work" article. KC Joyner, ESPN NFL and College Football Insider, believes that the Bears are a perfect landing spot for West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood.
The Bears haven't been shy this offseason in looking for some competition for Jeremy Langford, so it makes sense that the Bears may grab a running back at some point. Smallwood checked in at 5'10", 208 pounds at the NFL Combine, where he was one of the more athletic backs that worked out. His 4.47 forty was tied for 5th best at his position, his 4.28 20 yard shuttle was tied for 7th best among RBs, his 6.83 3 cone drill and his 11.14 60 yard shuttle were both best among all running backs.
Here's what Joyner said about the match of Smallwood and the Bears.
With Jeremy Langford and Ka'Deem Carey already in the Bears' backfield, it's understandable why running back would not seem to be a position of need.
Having noted this, ground-game production is still an area where the Bears could use a significant upgrade. Chicago ranked ninth in GBR last year (39.7 percent) but had the lowest good blocking yards per attempt (GBYPA) in the league (6.7 average gain on rush plays with good blocking).
This wasn't just a case of Matt Forte hitting the wall (7.1 GBYPA), as Langford had the lowest GBYPA among running backs with 100 or more carries (6.2) and Carey's 6.3 GBYPA was at the same level as Langford.
Smallwood led all Power 5 backs with 100 or more carries in percentage of rushes of 5 or more yards (50.9 percent) and ranked second in percentage of carries that gained 10 or more yards (24.5 percent). He does have pass-blocking issues, so Smallwood's role could have limitations, but getting a change of pace impact back for a very low draft-day cost would represent a significant upgrade for the Bears.
A few of our regular readers/commenters really believe Carey just needs a chance to prove he's a good NFL running back. But going off his 2 years as a pro so far, I haven't seen enough for me to believe he has what it takes to be a key component of an offense. As a rookie Carey had 35 attempts for the Marc Trestman offense and last year his carries increased to 43 for Adam Gase's O. Maybe new Bears' offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains is a huge Carey fan, but we'll have to wait and see.
Ka'Deem averaged 4.4 yards per carry in 2014 and 3.7 ypc last year. Two different coaching staffs rarely used him, yet some fans have seen enough in 78 career rushing attempts that they feel comfortable with him moving forward.
I like the potential of a Langford/Carey duo, but I'd also like to see some competition brought in.
Smallwood is projected to be drafted in the 5th round according to CBSSports, and so far there haven't been any reports of the Bears having met with him.
Do you guys agree with KC Joyner's pick of Smallwood as a perfect match for the Bears?