Bears losing key piece from this year's draft

Bears losing key piece from this year's draft

It will be a couple of years before we know just how successful last weekend's draft was for the Bears, but early evaluations have been positive. General Manager Ryan Pace spoke of the confidence and comfort level he had, finally working and planning with the staff he was able to hire.

It was short-lived. Director of College Scouting Joe Douglas will be named the Philadelphia Eagles Personnel Director after previously interviewing for the job with Executive Vice President Howie Roseman. It's believed Douglas' new position will slot under Senior Director of Player Personnel Tom Donahoe in the Eagles' hierarchy, but is a promotion from his position with the Bears.

Douglas was hired by Pace following last year's draft after 15 seasons with one of the league's most successful drafting organizations, the Baltimore Ravens. That's where Douglas spent his four previous years as national scout, heavily responsible in the drafting of players like Joe Flacco, Pernell McPhee, Marshall Yanda, Ben Grubbs and C.J. Mosley. He'll join an Eagles franchise where Roseman traded away next year's first-round pick and their 2018 second-rounder, in addition to last weekend's three picks in order to draft quarterback Carson Wentz second overall.

Pace must now decide whether one of his many area scouts is worth of a promotion, or look outside the organization in replacing Douglas to work with him and Director of Player Personnel Josh Lucas.

Bears backfield ranked fourth-best in NFL

Bears backfield ranked fourth-best in NFL

The Chicago Bears have a really good problem in their backfield. Both Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen will demand touches in 2018 and are each starting-quality running backs. Howard is the more traditional first and second-down back while Cohen offers top-tier playmaking ability.

The duo is so talented that they were recently ranked the fourth-best backfield in the NFL.

The Chicago Bears' Jordan Howard has emerged as one of the NFL's top rushers. He finished his rookie season with 1,313 yards, second-most in the NFL. Last season, he rushed for 1,122 yards and 4.1 yards per carry even though Chicago had the league's least threatening passing attack (175.7 yards per game).

Howard isn't the only standout back on the roster, though. Tarik Cohen is a supremely talented runner and receiver and a perfect complement to Howard. Last season, he amassed 370 rushing yards, 53 receptions and 353 receiving yards.

The Bears' backfield was behind only the Rams, Saints and Chiefs.

Howard set Chicago's rookie rushing record with 1,313 yards in 2016 and became the first Bears running back to start his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He should be the Bears' primary back, but coach Matt Nagy expressed genuine excitement over Cohen's skill set which suggests he plans on getting him the ball quite a bit this season.

Regardless of how the touches play out, the Bears will present opposing defenses with one of the most challenging ground games in the NFL.

    Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

    Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

    Tarik Cohen's rookie season with the Chicago Bears was an impressive blend of running, receiving and special teams play. He quickly became a household name. The combination of his diminutive frame and oversized personality made him a fan favorite, especially when he started gaining yards in chunks.

    In fact, of all running backs with a minimum of 80 carries last season, Cohen had the highest percentage of runs that went for 15 or more yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

    Cohen will have a big role in new coach Matt Nagy's offense this season because of everything he offers a play-caller. He's a weapon as a receiver out of the backfield and can chew up yards on the ground like any traditional running back. He's a hold-your-breath talent who can turn a bad play into a touchdown in the blink of an eye.

    Cohen had 370 rushing yards, 353 receiving yards and three offensive touchdowns in what can be described as a limited role last year. John Fox and Dowell Loggains didn't seem to ever figure out how to best use Cohen's skill set. That should be no issue for Nagy and Mark Helfrich, the team's new offensive coordinator, who both bring a creative offensive approach to Chicago.

    Jordan Howard will be the starter and will do most of the heavy lifting. But Cohen is going to have a much bigger role than he had as a rookie, and that should result in more big plays and points on the board.