Chicago Bears: Ezekiel Elliott, Derrick Henry Drafted if Matt Forte Not Signed? Jay Cutler Favors Jeremy Langford, Ka'Deem Carey Rotation

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Feb 09, 2016 11:25 AM EST
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Ezekiel Elliott
Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott rushes in a 2015 game."

With the NFL offseason officially here, the Chicago Bears must begin to get busy on offseason. The team's biggest priority is trying to retain Alshon Jeffery who is simply too valuable to let walk away in free agency. However, that is not the only need on the team as Matt Forte is also preparing to get a new contract with the Bears or elsewhere. If the veteran running back departs for another deal, what will Chicago do at the position?

If Forte departs in free agency which is a very real possibility, the Bears running back rotation will be down to Jeremy Langford entering his second year in the league and Ka'Deem Carey who saw very little time on the field. The team will need to make an addition to the rotation and could do so in the draft. That would mean they are very young at the running back spot, but have talent to last them for several seasons. According to Ohio State star Ezekiel Elliott, getting drafted by the Bears would be a dream.

"My running back coach my sophomore year is Stan Drayton and he's up at the Chicago Bears right now, so that would be a dream situation for me honestly," Elliott said, via Yahoo Sports. "He's kind of the one that got me acclimated to the college game. ... I know if I went up there he'd push me to the limits that I need to be and I'd accomplish everything I want to in my NFL career."

Elliott is ranked as the best running back in the NFL Draft with Derrick Henry right behind him. According to ESPN's Todd McShay, the New York Giants will draft Elliott leaving the Bears to target Henry or someone else. While it is unlikely that a running back goes in the first round, if the Bears really feel like Elliott is the player for them, they need to make the move right away. The issue is the Bears have a lot of other needs that must be filled before they can look at a running back.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Jay Cutler would not mind another first-round offensive weapon coming to the team. The Bears got Kevin White last year, but he missed all of his rookie season. If the Bears entered this year with White and Jeffery on the field and healthy with a backfield of Langford and Elliott, they would be looking pretty deadly in their respective division.

If the Bears do not want to draft young to replace Forte, they could look to the free agent market for help as several second-tier running backs remain available. Bilal Powell, Stevan Ridley, Lance Dunbar, Ronnie Hillman and James Starks could all be options to run tandem with Langford. They are solid producers with experience which is what Chicago will need if Forte leaves.

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