Posted by Matt Clapp | 4/01/2015 02:34:00 PM | Atlanta Falcons, Jacquizz Rodgers, Ka'Deem Carey, Matt Forte
On Tuesday, the Bears made a surprise move by signing veteran running back Jacquizz Rodgers to a one-year contract.
Rodgers, who just turned 25 in Febraury, spent the first four seasons of his NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons, after they selected him in the fifth-round of the 2011 draft.
Despite being only 5'6", Rodgers has shown to be an effective pass blocker and receiver out of the backfield in the NFL. Rodgers had 105 receptions over 2012 and 2013, catching three of those passes for touchdowns. He offers nice traits in what you're looking for out of a third-down back.
However, Rodgers' career average of 3.7 yards per carry (over 305 carries) leaves much to be desired. He is most certainly a backup running back and will in no way be challenging Matt Forte for a starting job.
But, Rodgers may very well give Ka'Deem Carey some serious competition for the No. 2 running back job.
Carey of course was drafted by the Bears in fourth round last year, after putting up incredible numbers in college for the Arizona Wildcats. But, he hardly impressed at the Combine with very average to below average numbers, and he didn't show too much in the preseason or regular season for the Bears. He also struggled in pass protection, something Rodgers has shown to be good at.
Additionally, keep in mind that general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox weren't with the Bears when Carey was drafted, so perhaps they aren't as high on him as the previous regime was.
So, you'd have to think that Rodgers has a decent shot at topping Carey in playing time for the Bears in 2015, especially in passing situations. It's also worth noting that Fox has a history of using several running backs so perhaps Rodgers and Carey will both be a key part of the rotation.
If nothing else, Rodgers adds nice camp competition for Carey, and gives the Bears solid depth at the position.
As for the draft, this year's class is absolutely loaded with talented running backs and I doubt the Bears' current running back depth would cause them to pass on a player that they love in rounds 3+. Remember, Matt Forte will be a 30-year-old free-agent at season's end, so it's very possible (and perhaps likely) that the team's 2016 starting running back isn't even on the roster right now.
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