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Meet Running Back Tarik Cohen, The Chicago Bears’ *Other* Fourth-Round Pick

NFL Draft
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Not since Devin Hester have the Chicago Bears had a player known primarily for his speed and dynamic playmaking ability.

If all goes well, Tarik Cohen can change that.

Cohen was one of the fastest running backs in this NFL Draft class, but had a few things working against him. His small frame and the fact that he played against lesser competition at the FCS level made him a risky pick for teams looking for more of a sure thing. Even still, the Bears jumped up and accepted the challenge of trying to implement a potential speedster into an offense that sorely lacked quick-twitch athletes.

Adam Hoge of WGN Radio unearthed this doozy of a highlight-reel run by the newest Bears back:

THE PICK (ROUND 4, PICK 119)

  • Name: Tarik Cohen
  • College: North Carolina A&T
  • Position: Running back
  • Height, weight, hand size: 5-foot-6, 179 pounds, 10-1/8 inches

STATS TO KNOW

  • 2016 stats: 12 games, 212 carries, 1,588 yards, 18 touchdowns; 37 catches, 339 yards, 1 touchdown
  • 2015 stats: 12 games, 264 carries, 1,543 yards, 15 touchdowns; 25 catches, 217 yards
  • 2014 stats: 11 games, 197 carries, 1,340 yards, 15 touchdowns; 25 catches, 237 yards, 1 touchdown
  • 2013 stats: 11 games, 195 carries, 1,148 yards, 8 touchdowns; 11 catches, 152 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Career averages (per game): 21 touches (18.8 carries), 142.69 scrimmage yards (122.15 rush yards), 1.2 touchdowns
  • 2016 Pro Football Focus Position Rank: 21st ranked running back, 250th overall

HIGHLIGHTS

NFL COMBINE RESULTS (POSITION RANK)

  • 40-yard dash: 4.42 seconds (3rd)
  • Bench press: 11 reps (N/A)
  • Vertical jump: 31.5 inches (N/A)
  • Broad jump: 118 inches (N/A)

THREE STRENGTHS

  • Elusive. He’s a back who makes defenders miss with a sharp cuts and shiftiness, then blows by them with top-end speed. His 4.42 40-yard dash was the third best among running backs. According to PFF, Cohen forced five missed tackles on 29 carries in two games against FBS schools. That’s good.
  • Gifted pass catcher. You know what they say about running backs with big hands … they make good receivers out of the backfield. Cohen is a dual threat in this way unlike any other back currently on the Bears roster.

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  • Big play capability. The combination of good field vision and athleticism make him a potential game-breaker on every snap he takes the field.

THREE WEAKNESSES

  • Size. Cohen is proof that big things come in small packages, but his small frame is something that pushed him down draft boards. Is susceptible to big hits.
  • Inexperience. Not only is there not much game tape of Cohen playing against college football’s best players, but he doesn’t have much experience where he could be the biggest asset at the NFL level – which is as a kick and punt returner.
  • Always swings for the fences. I imagine Cohen is what Devin Hester would have looked like had Lovie Smith’s Bears tried to turn the return game ace into a running back. Cohen is a big-play maker, but he also takes big losses because of the risks he takes.

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NFL.COM COMPARISON: Darren Sproles.

WHERE COHEN FITS

Cohen can step into the Bears’ running backs room now and be the best receiver of the bunch. With some strength training and reps, he could grow into the team’s third-down back right away. If he continues to take positive steps from there in his development, he could provide a nice change-of-pace aspect to the Bears’ offense the team doesn’t currently have. Howard and Cohen running in tandem could be interesting.

There are other areas in which Cohen could be a helpful contributor. He could play a role in special teams, especially if he can get a grasp on the return game. Cohen could also help the Bears’ passing game if they can get him the ball in the open field.

NOT SURE WHERE THIS PLAY IS IN DOWELL LOGGAINS’ PLAYBOOK, BUT HE BETTER FIND IT


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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at The Ten-Yard Line, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.