Selected in the second round of this past April's NFL Draft, it was easy to overlook the former Tulane Green Wave considering big names like Darren McFadden, Jonathan Stewart, and Rashard Mendenhall all declared after their junior season. But it was Forte, along with fellow overachiever Steve Slaton of the Texans, that ended up taking the league by storm as a first-year player and led the Bears in both rushing and receiving. He slowed down to some degree the last month or so after dealing with a painful toe injury, but the youngster ran tough between the tackles, showed a little burst in the open field, and did it all with a refreshingly humble approach to the game.
Although it was satisfying to see Forte develop into an instant star, the coaching staff curiously never made any sort of commitment to Kevin Jones, Adrian Peterson, or Garrett Wolfe as a complement and may have contributed to Forte's wear and tear down the stretch.
Inside the Numbers
But instead of asking the soft-spoken Cajun to step it up and enter 1,500-yard territory, it would be much wiser to commit to a secondary option in the backfield that can contribute with 10-12 touches per contest. Jones is likely to sign elsewhere since he only came to Chicago on a one-year deal after shredding his knee with Detroit in 2007, Peterson is what he is at this point, and Wolfe never seems to get a chance to be the Darren Sproles-type change of pace many Bears backers believe he can be. It appears to be another strong class of tailbacks in this April's draft, meaning a Day-2 selection might be the way to go.
Sproles himself, as a matter of fact, is due to become an unrestricted free agent and would be a tremendous pick-up, plus J.J. Arrington, who is also ready to test the free-agent waters, has done some good things this season after struggling his first few years in the league.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.
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