Everybody seems convinced GM Ryan Pace is holding the 87th overall pick in the upcoming draft for one reason. To use it on the best possible running back he can. It would make logical sense. They just traded Jordan Howard. Mike Davis, who replaced him from free agency, is a relative unknown when it comes to heavy workloads.
Yet when confronted by the idea that he’s almost certain to zero in on a running back, Pace bristled. He refused to admit that his draft board will be tied to any single position. The Bears are in a great place roster-wise. No position is pressing, and that includes the backfield.
It wasn’t just Davis or Tarik Cohen he listed as reasons for his optimism though. There was another. Somebody that fans and media seem to have forgotten in the past several months.
“I know running back’s been talked about a lot, but we feel good about that position. We feel good about Tarik, we feel really good about Mike Davis, we feel good about Ryan Nall and we feel good about Cordarrelle Patterson and the things he can do out of the backfield.”
Ryan Pace seems open to giving Ryan Nall an opportunity
One thing that has proven true about Pace since he took over in 2015 is he’s willing to give undrafted players opportunities on his roster. Bryce Callahan took big advantage of his this offseason. Roy Robertson-Harris has turned into a quality player. Cameron Meredith looked like a rising star before being injured.
Why is it so hard to fathom the Bears might be willing to give Ryan Nall a chance?
The former Oregon State standout is a big back at 6’2 and 232 lbs. He ran a respectable 4.58 in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine and demonstrated his prowess as a runner during the preseason. He ran for 223 yards across five appearances, averaging seven yards per carry with a touchdown.
Nall doesn’t have the skill set to be an every down back in the NFL, but a guy who can run with some power in short yardage and wear a defense down? This is a job he can do. Davis and Cohen aren’t built for those roles. So it’s little wonder Pace seems comfortable turning to the second-year man. He balances out the backfield in a critical way.
This doesn’t mean the Bears won’t draft a running back, but it offers an interesting reason why they might not.