Tarik Cohen is a dynamic playmaker, especially when he has a little space. He has high-end top speed, the ability to run routes as a wide receiver, take hand-offs out of the backfield, and take advantage of blocks set up for him in the screen game.
NFL analyst Brian Baldinger highlights some of Cohen’s strengths and versatility below, and it’s truly something to behold:
.@ChicagoBears @TarikCohen is poised to have “a highlight reel” kind of season under new coach Matt Nagy. I can’t wait to see where he lines up in any given play. “INSTANT OFFENSE”. #BaldyBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/D7XHaV2mdQ
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) July 2, 2018
There has been a significant buzz around Cohen during the offseason. He has embraced the new playbook, worked on his craft away from Halas Hall, and has quickly grown into someone Matt Nagy is giddy to coach. How Nagy chooses to use Cohen moving forward is unknown right now, especially since Cohen himself recently pointed out that he appears to be lined up for a breakout year as a receiver according to projections. Still, I think we have an idea based on Nagy’s coaching history and an oft-used comparison.
Tyreek Hill had an electrifying rookie season and earned a Pro Bowl nomination despite being a part time player. Hill caught 61 passes for 593 yards and scored six touchdowns as a secondary receiving option. He also added 267 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. All this despite playing on just 40 percent of the team’s offensive snaps. Does this sound familiar? It should, because Cohen just lived that rookie season – albeit to a lesser extent.
Cohen caught 53 passes, gained 353 yards, and scored one touchdown. He added 87 rushes for 370 yards and two scores. Like Hill, Cohen was used in spot duty as he appeared on just 36 percent of the team’s offensive plays. Perhaps Cohen, like Hill before him, will see additional playing time in his second year as a pro.
The Tyreek-Tarik comps were almost impossible to avoid earlier in the offseason, though they could have some merit if you ask Hill about it. And while we’re wary of making one-to-one player comps, Nagy’s usage of Hill as a rookie and his expanded role in his second season provide a gameplan for how he could conceivably use Cohen in his second season.
Now, it’s not a direct apples-to-apples comparison for Cohen and Hill. But still … it’s not difficult to imagine the Bears employing a similar plan of attack to get one of their most talented players the ball as often as possible and in many different ways. We’ll see Cohen get more rushes, but not too many as to take away from Jordan Howard. It’s also likely we’ll see Cohen get a boost in receiving snaps, but that could ultimately depend on how Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, and Kevin White develop and perform this coming season.
Yes, Hill is a wide receiver and Cohen is a running back, but I’m not sure traditional position names will hold the same weight for Nagy as they did for the prior regime. Remember, everyone is learning each other’s positions throughout the lineup. Position-less basketball is taking over the NBA. And considering how progressive NFL offenses are putting players in the best spot to be successful regardless of position, Cohen could soon follow Hill as being at the forefront of a football revolution.