Bears Interested in a Running Back?

While running back seemed like the least likely position the Bears would address in the draft, the team kept tabs on a certain ball carrier at the combine. A potential position change has peaked general manger Jerry Angelo's interest in one prospect.

Angelo quickly popped his head into the RCA Dome Sunday morning to watch the running backs go through the forty then quickly left. It appears the brief visit had to do with Angelo looking at one running back in particular. The object of his desire was Mississippi State's Jerious Norwood.

In four years with the Bulldogs, Norwood rushed for 3,222 yards with 15 touchdowns. On 573 carries, he averaged 5.6 yards per attempt. However, there are still questions if Norwood can be a feature back in the pros because he never reached 200 carries in a season.

"A lot of people are saying I'm not an every-down back but I know I can get the job done if I have the opportunity," Norwood said. "Me carrying the ball at Mississippi State as many times as I did, I think it showed some of the coaches in the NFL that I can do it."

Norwood posted times of 4.42 and 4.40 seconds in the forty and would be the fastest running back on the Chicago roster. Considering Thomas Jones is coming off a career year, the team invested a first round pick invested in Cedric Benson a year ago and Adrian Peterson proved to be a quality backup, the Bears don't need depth at the position.

Many NFL teams are projecting the five-foot-11, 210-pound Norwood to receiver. Even though Norwood has good hands, the move would seem to be a long-term project because he only caught 43 balls in college. He also averaged more yards per rushing attempt (5.6) than when he caught the ball (4.3).

Norwood runs with a slashing style, which makes him hard to hit. Whether that can translate into running crisp routes is also a question. Despite having to block on occasion, Norwood needs to improve that aspect of his game no matter what position he lines up in the NFL. Adding strength will be important to his development at the next level.

The Vikings and Patriots are among the other teams interested in Norwood, both of whom are more likely to keep him in the backfield.

This type of risk is worthy of a second day draft pick. If Norwood can line up as a wide receiver as well as a third down back, he would give the Bears flexibility on game day.

Another factor to consider is Jones only has two years left on his current contract. With the money Benson received, Jones' time in Chicago is running out. Adding Norwood could be a selection with an on the future. He could develop as a receiver, while eventually also being able to add a change of pace to Benson's running style.


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