As we head into Week 3 of the season, the Bears are staring down an 0-3 start and now are facing a franchise record-long losing streak. The defense has lost some key pieces and is among the league's worst. The offense has struggled out of the gate with very few bright spots and is dealing with losing LT Braxton Jones to injured reserve. So what, if anything, can Bears fans look to for hope this season?
The answer is Roschon Johnson.
Johnson, the Bears fourth-round draft selection in the 2023 draft, has been showing out when given the opportunity and looks to be headed for even more work as the season progresses. My pre-draft rankings had Roschon ranked as the 2nd best back in this class, comparing him to NFL great Arian Foster. With Johnson starting to get more work for the Bears, let's dive into why he may be the next great Chicago Bears running back.
What He's Got:
Physically, Roschon Johnson has the frame of a workhorse runner. At six feet tall and 225 pounds, there is little reason to believe that Roschon will struggle to hold up in the NFL. He plays to his size with incredible contact balance on par with Bijan Robinson, his college teammate, but that's not all Johnson shows on tape. He displays impressive footwork for a back of his size that, when tied together with his patience and high football IQ, he is notorious for finding the correct gap and attacking it with urgency. In his last season at Texas, he led all of college football, forcing a broken or missed tackle on over 35% of his carries. While sporting an impressive 4.0 yards after contact per touch.
Let's get to some of what we have already seen in the few opportunities he has had thus far for the Bears. Roschon Johnson is a difference-maker as a pass blocker and receiver out of the backfield. His time as a quarterback in high school and college has helped him know how protections work and when to engage defenders. As a route runner, he shows suddenness and has soft hands that allow him to be a natural receiver who can use his size to turn upfield.
Of course, Khalil Herbert is not going anywhere and will still be an essential part of this rushing attack, but he was never built to be the lead runner for an NFL team. The two backs complement each other well, but Roschon is the more complete player, and reports from Dan Graziano have said, "The Bears came out of camp feeling like he (Roschon Johnson) might be the most complete Running back of that group."
It is only a matter of time until the Roschon Johnson breakout game, and I would not be surprised if, in Week 3, we see him continue to be a game-changing asset out of the backfield. So, for fans searching for something good to cling to this season, the answer may bring back happy memories and championship aspirations; it's Number 23.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or drop me a follow on Twitter (X) at @Marco_NFL. The best is yet to come, Bear Down!