Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Breaking Down the Chicago Bears Fifth Round Pick: Indiana Running Back - Jordan Howard

The NFL Draft has come and gone, and it appears that the Bears have a plan in place. Did I agree with that plan at every twist and turn? No, not really, but I also really enjoyed some of their moves so it all balances out. And they were active, and that definitely made for an exciting weekend. But what's done is done. The picks I like will obviously work out, and hopefully my genius fails me on the picks that I didn't like. So far, I have had the chance to break down:

First Round Pick: Leonard Floyd, Linebacker, Georgia
Second Round Pick: Cody Whitehair, Offensive Guard, Kansas State
Third Round Pick: Jonathan Bullard, Defensive Lineman, Florida
Fourth Round Pick: Nick Kwiatkoski, Linebacker, West Virginia
Fourth Round Pick: Deon Bush, Safety, Miami
Fourth Round Pick: Deiondre' Hall, Defensive Back, Northern Iowa

Finally, we make it to the fifth round, and one of the players that I loved going into this draft, Jordan Howard, a running back out of Indiana. The reason I liked him so much is that he tore up the Iowa Hawkeyes last season with 174 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. He was big, strong, and fast, and those are three traits I very much enjoy in my running backs. Thanks to Draft Breakdown, I was able to check out his games against Michigan, Michigan State, and Wake Forest.

Something that stands out about Howard's game is that he rarely goes down on the first contact, and he's a guy who keeps his legs churning and always falls forward.
That's the type of run that's not gonna stand out on a stat sheet, but it is so crucial to having a successful running attack. He gets hit two yards behind the line of scrimmage and ends up two yards past the line of scrimmage for a first down.

If you don't wrap up Jordan Howard, he is going to make you pay for it, as even when he gets knocked, his balance and strength is so good that he can churn forward for extra yardage.
This should not be a touchdown, but he shows impressive power and balance in his runs.

He's also solid as a receiver.
I know this isn't some amazing catch or even run after the catch, but I like that he snatches the ball with his hands as opposed to letting it come into his chest, and he follows his blocks into the endzone for an easy touchdown.

Although he can make catches out of the backfield, his blocking leaves a lot to be desired.
That is pretty weak, as he tries to wait on the defender and offers no punch instead of attacking and putting a hit on the guy.

But let's get back to the running, because that is where the bulk of his value lies. For a big guy, he has some moves.
He's not Barry Sanders, but those are some nice cuts to find holes and maximize his yardage before anyone can get a hand on him.

You need some more Howard highlights? Here's some more Jordan Howard highlights.
His game against Michigan was stupid good, and this was a Michigan defense that was renowned for its stinginess throughout the season, and Howard just continually ran over them.

I don't think I've hidden the fact that I am a huge fan of this pick for the Bears. Last year, I wasn't real happy with the Jeremy Langford pick, and although he put up some decent fantasy stats, he was not a very effective running back. I see the Bears starting the year with a committee, but I see Howard as separating himself from the other backs to take the bulk of the carries. He'll have to improve his blocking to become a three-down back, but if you're looking for a guy to run the football, it doesn't get much better than Howard. I think he was an absolute steal in the fifth round and considering the upgrades the Bears have made to the offensive line, he could make a huge impact as a rookie this season.


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