The Bears haven’t selected a first-round running back since taking Cedric Benson in 2005, but Ezekiel Elliott is hoping they’re due.
The magnificent Ohio State product, widely considered the best running back in the 2016 draft class, told Yahoo Friday that Chicago is his ideal destination.
“My running back coach my sophomore year is Stan Drayton and he’s up at the Chicago Bears right now, so that would be a dream situation for me honestly,” Elliott said. “He’s kind of the one that got me acclimated to the college game. … I know if I went up there he’d push me to the limits that I need to be and I’d accomplish everything I want to in my NFL career.”
Drayton was hired as the Bears’ running backs coach in February of last year, a month after Elliott and Ohio State capped a somewhat-improbable run to the national championship. In three postseason game last year, Elliott rushed for an astounding 696 yards and eight touchdowns against three of the nation’s best teams.
He was no slouch this year either, rushing for 1,821 yards and 23 touchdowns.
With Matt Forte’s future still uncertain, perhaps Elliott would be a fit in Chicago, where he could compliment Jeremy Langford.
In the latest mock draft from CBS, draft analysts Rob Rang and Dane Brugler both have Elliott going at No. 10 to the Giants – one spot ahead of the Bears.
ESPN’s Todd McShay called Elliott “the best blocking running back I’ve ever studied.”
Over the past two seasons, Elliott has shown plenty of examples of his game-breaking ability as a rusher (3,699 yards and 41 TDs). He’s also an outstanding pass-blocker — the best RB I’ve ever studied in that area — and a reliable weapon as a pass-catcher.
Coupled with the addition of 2015 top pick Kevin White, Jay Cutler would certainly be a happy guy should the Bears add a pair of first-round picks to the offense in 2016.
Stats via ESPN