With the 2016 NFL draft only a few days away, rumors are heating up regarding the Chicago Bears and their plans for the No. 11 overall pick. After veteran running back Matt Forte signed with the New York Jets, many analysts around the league assumed that 24-year-old Jeremy Langford would become the team’s bell cow running back. While Langford is going to be a big part of the Bears’ plans for 2016, the final NFL mock drafts have the team selecting Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Elliott has been linked to the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and Dallas Cowboys. While Elliott remains a possibility for the Giants and Cowboys, the Eagles are now out of the mix after trading up for the No. 2 overall pick. The Miami Dolphins are also rumored to be interested in Elliott, but they would have to trade up in front of the Bears to have a chance. Regardless, Elliott’s draft stock has been falling slightly over the past few weeks, which means that he could be there for the Bears at pick No. 11.
As seen in the final NFL mock draft at USA Today, the Bears will draft Elliott in the first round.
“The narrative around Elliott is shifting a bit, as his draft value appears to have peaked about two weeks ago when some were projecting him to go as high as the top-five. While it’s still a bit of a long shot for Elliott to slip to the Bears at No. 11, if he’s on the board when general manager Ryan Pace is charged with making the biggest decision of 2016, you can bet on Elliott being the guy. While the Bears have bigger needs elsewhere on the roster, Elliott would become the centerpiece of the offense and the perfect complement to the team’s explosive passing game. Chicago has shown a lot of interest in the running back position this offseason, and the connection to Elliott has been strong throughout the draft process. If he’s there, he’s a Bear.”
While running back has become a devalued position over the past decade, Elliott is viewed, by many, as one of the best prospects since Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Since Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will turn 33-years-old in a few days, the organization may be looking to load up on offensive weapons for his last few years. The Bears have numerous other needs, but Elliott may be too enticing for them to pass up on if he is on the board. In addition to making Cutler’s life easier, the Bears wide receiving corps will also reap the benefits.
The latest NFL mock draft from CBS Chicago agrees with the notion that the Bears will draft Elliott.
“John Fox likes to have a stable of versatility in his backfields, and Elliott can do it all. The Bears will be looking for a top-10 talent dropping to No. 11, and Elliott may be that guy.”
While Elliott is viewed as a potential every-down running back, Bears head coach John Fox prefers a rotation. Even with Langford’s emergence last season, Forte was still an important part of the offense. Since the shelf life of running backs is only a few years, a shared backfield of Elliott and Langford could be one of the most dangerous in the entire NFL.
After a disappointing 6-10 season, Elliott may be the player that the Bears need in order to rejuvenate their franchise. With the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, the NFC North is going to be a difficult division once again. Regardless, pairing Elliott with Langford and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery could make for a dangerous offense. After missing his entire rookie season with an injury, wide receiver Kevin White is also set to make his debut.
A lot is going to change over the next few days, but rumors will likely continue to link the Chicago Bears with Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott. While the Bears currently have other needs, Elliott looks to be the selection if he is still available at pick No. 11.
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