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Tarik Cohen was the biggest, big play threat in 2017

Pro Football Focus had Tarik Cohen down as the running back with the highest breakaway percentage in the NFL last year. Imagine what he’ll do with a play caller that is “giddy” about his talents.

Chicago Bears v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

Tarik Cohen gained 1,578 all purpose yards as a rookie for the Chicago Bears last year, good for tenth overall in the NFL, and at times I felt the coaching staff didn’t really know what to do with him. He lined up in a variety of different places on the offense, and he returned kicks and punts, but there was an element of creativity missing from his usage.

Enter new head coach Matt Nagy and his offensive think-tank, and I think Cohen is in for a big year.

Nagy came from the Kansas City Chiefs, and one of his most dynamic players was Tyreek Hill. Cohen compared himself to Hill after he was drafted n 2017 and Nagy sees similarities between the two players. “Well, No. 1, size-wise you see that and you say, ‘OK, they’re pretty similar, right?’” Nagy said at the NFL Combine via ESPN. “And then you have the speed, the shiftiness, the moves, everything that they do. They’re similar in the fact that you can move them around and do different things.”

Cohen is probably more tailback than receiver, whereas Hill is more receiver than tailback.

“So they’re different, Nagy added. “So I don’t think it is fair to compare them but I do understand why people compare them, and for me, I am very excited to coach both of them and look forward to working with Cohen.”

That excitement he talked about at the Combine has only escalated now that he’s had the chance to see him between the lines. After their first OTA practice last week Nagy called Cohen a “player you get giddy about.”

When a man drops ‘giddy’ as an adjective, you know he’s bubbling with eagerness and enthusiasm.

Pro Football Focus had Cohen down as the biggest big play threat among all running backs last year.

If Cohen managed to pull that off with John Fox and Dowell Loggains pulling the strings, imagine what can happen with Matt Nagy, Mark Helfrich, and company designing things.

Jordan Howard will be Chicago’s number one running back, but expect to see Cohen with his fair share of carries. Taylor Gabriel expects to be the primary Zebra receiver, but Nagy said that Cohen will be in that role as well. A bulked up Cohen — according to him he’s 190 pounds now, “all muscle” and “solid” — will be ready for an increased role.

Last season, Cohen played in 36.4% of the offensive snaps, and that number will surely increase with a coaching staff determined to take advantage of match-ups.