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Chicago Bears 7 Round mock draft: Running back only as UDFA version

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In Lester’s last mock draft, he’s staying away from running backs to see the pool of available undrafted free agents at the position.

Mississippi v Texas A&M Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

This will be my final mock draft before the real deal kicks off on Thursday night. For me, mocks are a way to learn about different prospects and a way to simulate various scenarios, so this time I’m skipping the running back position for the Chicago Bears.

I’ll say it again for the skimmers... I am purposefully not drafting a running back in this mock.

I do think the Bears will take a back at some point, but with teams finding success in the undrafted free agent market, I wanted to simulate an entire draft to see what kind of talent would be still looking for a home. I used the The Draft Network’s simulator and their draft board for my picks.

For this mock I went with a loose best player available policy, with my only firm rule being to leave all the tailbacks alone.

First I’ll run through my five mock picks for the Bears, then I’ll share the list of UDFA RBs that the Bears could choose from. And as a bonus, I enlisted the help of EJ Snyder and Jacob Infante to give their takes on the after-mock options.

Third Round - Pick 87: Amani Hooker, S, Iowa

Jacob has me convinced after talking to him on my T Formation Conversation podcast (click here to listen!) that if Hooker is available, he’s the no-brainer pick here for Chicago.

Fourth Round - Pick 126: Daylon Mack, NT, Texas A&M

Interior defensive line is a position I haven’t mocked to the Bears at all, nor have I seen anyone else mocking to them, but his name was sitting near the top of mt board and I figured why not get a true back-up nose tackle to spell Eddie Goldman. Mack has the size and power (6’1”, 336 lbs) to anchor the middle of the run defense as a 2-gap plugger.

Fifth Round - Pick 162: Corey Ballentine, CB, Washburn

Some competition at corner is a must in this draft, and the athletic Ballentine had a nice week at the Senior Bowl. Ryan Pace seems to always snag a small school guy, so this could be one to watch for.

Seventh Round - Pick 222: Carl Granderson, EDGE, Wyoming

Granderson isn’t my favorite OLB prospect, but he could help on special teams while honing his pass rush skill set.

Seventh Round - Pick 238: Paul Adams, OT, Missouri

Even though he played tackle in college, he doesn’t seem to have tackle feet. Adams would likely be a developmental prospect at guard.

Now for the fun part of this mock draft, check out the slew of running backs that would be waiting for a call.

This is the order that The Draft Network had them ranked when the mock ended.

Travis Homer, RB, Miami

James Williams, RB, Washington State *

Qadree Ollison, RB, Pittsburgh

Tony Pollard, RB, Memphis *

Ty Johnson, RB, Maryland

L.J. Scott, RB, Michigan State *

Alec Ingold, RB, Wisconsin *

Jordan Ellis, RB, Virginia *

Darrin Hall, RB, Pittsburgh

Wes Hills, RB, Slippery Rock

Nick Brossette, RB, LSU *

Alex Barnes, RB, Kansas State

Jalin Moore, RB, Appalachian State *

Aeris Williams, RB, Mississippi State *

Squally Canada, RB, BYU *

Marquis Young, RB, UMASS

Matt Colburn II, RB, Wake Forest

Tony Brooks-James, RB, Oregon

Damarea Crockett, RB, Missouri *

Jacques Patrick, RB, Florida State

Chandler Cox, RB, Auburn

Taiwan Deal, RB, Wisconsin *

Kerrith Whyte Jr., RB, FAU

Patrick Laird, RB, Cal

Travon McMillian, RB, Colorado *

D’Andre Ferby, RB, Western Kentucky

Joshuwa Holloman, RB, Eastern Michigan

There’s an asterisk next to these potential UDFA’s that the Bears were reported to have met with or attended their Pro Day.

I asked EJ for some thoughts on this UDFA RB class, and here’s what he said. “First impression: this list is pretty picked over. I bet there was a serious run on backs in the late rounds to clean house like this.” He named these three as his top UDFA picks.

Appalachian State’s Jalin Moore is an all-around slasher who, if not injured, would have probably gone in R4 or R5. Very talented zone-based blocking runner with terrific burst and solid sense of when to cut it up. Can catch and is big-play explosive. Injury and recovery are a gamble but if you predict that correctly, he is a winning lottery ticket as a UDFA.

Damarea Crockett from Missouri is less of an all-around threat who reminds me a little of Justice Hill from Oklahoma St. - roughly the same size and very explosive when breaking out on the edge or in the open. Crockett’s best trait is efficiency. He knows down and distance very well and usually finds a way to get what he needs on any particular play.

Qadree Ollison from Pittsburgh is a big back who will remind a lot of Bears fans of Jordan Howard. He’s a physical back with an excellent one-cut repertoire who can can explode once he finds a crack or a cutback lane. Shows some promise as a receiver but had very limited pass catching reps. Why is a Howard clone a good thing here? If you get him as a UDFA that is a like taking free money.

Honorable mentions:

Best pass catcher is James Williams from Washington State University, hands down. He caught 83 balls... this season!

Best sneaky inside runner is Alex Barnes from Kansas State. For a big guy he can get skinny between the tackles, and he shows very good burst there.

My best special teams ace/wildcard is FAU’s Kerrith Whyte. He’s the fastest back in the draft (Ran 4.36 at his pro day - Justice Hill was the fastest back at the Combine with a 4.40) and has uncanny contact balance. Is unrefined/underdeveloped as a runner but could provide immediate juice on the return teams, and possibly grow into a backup role if he makes the practice squad. Perfect UDFA target.

Can you tell EJ loves watching running back tape?

Jacob gave me two names he’d like as UDFAs for the Bears.

James Williams, Washington State and Tony Pollard, Memphis

I chose these running backs because, in my opinion, they’re the two best receiving backs in this year’s class. I’m assuming that the Bears will draft a back who can take on significant carries on the ground, so signing an undrafted free agent who offers a lot of value on passing downs would give their offense a significant versatility boost. James Williams is a solid athlete who is an incredibly fluid route runner and reliable pass catcher out of the backfield. Tony Pollard is an electric athlete who can run crisp routes when lined up out wide as a receiver, and he offers value on special teams as the NCAA’s all-time leader in kick return touchdowns. Neither of them are running backs who will likely take on double-digit carries, but their value as receivers would add another layer of intrigue to Chicago’s offense.

I’ll give you guys one more guy to keep an eye on and that’s because he might be the fastest back in the class.

Injuries hurt Ty Johnson’s stock a bit in 2018, but he still averaged 7.7 yards per carry in 9 games, and he had a good week of practice at the East-West Shrine game. He wasn’t used much as a receiver at Maryland, and a tweaked hamstring prevented him from going through positional drills at his pro day, but he has NFL explosiveness.

What are your thoughts of the mock, and on this group of UDFA running backs?