The Chicago Bears were poking around the running back position all offseason, so it made sense for them to add one during the draft. In picking up Indiana's Jordan Howard in the 5th round, they got a good compliment to Jeremy Langford. Howard runs with the power that his 230 pound frame suggests he has. He doesn't have 4.4 speed like Langford, but he's not necessarily slow with a 4.59 forty at his pro day.
Head Coach John Fox has always favored a dual backfield attack and new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains liked to establish the run at his previous play calling gig. I wouldn't be surprised if Howard eventually became the starter in Chicago.
Most draft pundits believe the Bears got tremendous value with this pick because he was expected to be a day 2 selection. I've seen him compared to Arian Foster, Eddy Lacy and 2015 Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry. He had some injury issues last year, but if healthy, Howard could be a difference maker for the Bears.
Here's the full transcript from Howard's Saturday press conference
On how his size benefits him as a runner;
"I feel like my size benefits me pretty well because guys, a lot of times guys won't want to tackle me. A lot of times, especially after a long game of just been pounding they'll just start dabbing and won't look and I can avoid them. I think it works very well for me."
On leaving UAB after the program folded;
"Yeah, it was just very crazy. We had been hearing rumors they might shut the program down and then when it actually happened we just couldn't believe it because we finally had a winning season, we were bowl eligible. For all that to happen, we were just crushed."
On his greatest challenge moving on to Indiana;
"I guess I would say getting used to the way they did things like the weight lifting program and things like that. I think that was my biggest challenge but the offense was pretty easy for me to pick up. They guys, they accepted me very quickly."
On having success in the Big Ten;
"Yeah, definitely some pride because coming out of high school I had one offer - playing at UAB, Conference USA. I definitely wanted to prove I could play on a bigger stage. And I was doing it for UAB because they shut the program down so I wore my heart on my sleeve for them."
On his breakout performance against Michigan;
"It meant everything to me because my offensive line did a great job, receivers, tight ends, coaches were calling good plays. It was just good because we were putting it all on the line. Unfortunately we didn't end up winning but it was just a very good game for us."
On what assets he has that will make him successful in the NFL;
"I feel like I'm a grinder. I can get those tough yards. In the NFL you don't really see those long, explosive runs like you see in college. There's a few, but not many. I feel like my game suits the NFL more than it does college."
In order to get carries as an NFL back, he'll need to show he can pass block, so he was asked about his pass protection responsibilities in college;
"My pass rush responsibilities were, on some protections I would have the backer on my side, to anything outside, to scan backside for anything force or issue."
On his special teams experience;
"No, I've never played special teams before."
On his injuries;
"It was just this past year, it was my ankle and my knee."
On if he was questioned about his durability during the pre-draft process;
"I kind of heard a few questions but I didn't really feel like I should be hearing questions about my durability because this was the first time I ever missed games and one of the injuries was out of my control."
On what injury was out of his control;
"My ankle, somebody fell on it."
On how much contact he had with the Bears and how much he knows about the Bears backfield situation;
"I hadn't had any conversations with them since the combine. But I know they had Matt Forte, he just left and Jeremy Langford he played very well while he was filling in while Matt Forte was out. He's set-up to be the guy right now."
On if he feels if he has the skill set to be the starter for the Bears;
"Yes, I definitely feel that way. I'm just going to come in and prove that I can play and do whatever it takes to help the team out; play special teams, whatever."
On where he did his pre-draft training;
"I did my pre-draft training at Pete Bommarito down in North Miami Beach."
What are your thoughts on Howard's teleconference?