The Bears go with speed and versatility with Tarik Cohen at No. 119 overall

The Bears go with speed and versatility with Tarik Cohen at No. 119 overall
during their game at Kenan Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Running back is a fun position.

Bears general manager Ryan Pace certainly loves drafting them. After selecting Jeremy Langford (fourth round) in 2015 and Jordan Howard (fifth round) in 2016, Pace and his staff took another back in the mid-rounds in North Carolina A&T’s Tarik Cohen on Saturday with the No. 119th pick.

Cohen, an undersized blazer at 5’6″, 179 lbs., led all running backs with a 4.42 second 40-yard dash at the combine in February.

Nicknamed the “Human Joystick” and known for his viral backflip video (watch here), Cohen set the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) record with 5,619 rushing yards in four seasons. 

Stats by season

2016 – 212 carries, 1,588 rushing yards, 19 rushing TD’s, 27 receptions, 339 receiving yards, one TD
2015 – 264 carries, 1,543 rushing yards, 15 rushing TD’s, 25 receptions, 217 receiving yards
2014 – 197 carries, 1,340 rushing yards, 15 rushing TD’s, 25 receptions, 237 receiving yards, one TD
2013 – 195 carries, 1,148 rushing yards, eight rushing TD’s, 11 receptions, 152 receiving yards, one TD

Cohen was a workhorse in college and showed plenty of consistency at the FCS level.

Here’s to hoping that his viral video doesn’t turn out to be a misread much like Jarron Gilbert’s was in 2009, when the Bears took the San Jose State defensive end in the third round.

The last time the Bears got really excited about a versatile back like Cohen was in 2007 when they drafted Northern Illinois’ Garrett Wolfe in the third round.

Cohen will come in and be that mismatch that the Bears’ offense needs. Behind Howard, he’ll get opportunities to play. Expect him to line up in the backfield with him or out wide at times.

Langford and Carey are both on notice at this point, but the Bears can certainly hold all four on the roster if they want. The Bears also have Benny Cunningham.

Film study

It is becoming clearer now that not only does Pace want playmakers and pure athletes, hence his four picks so far (Mitch Trubisky, Adam Shaheen, Eddie Jackson and Cohen). But he’s turning Chicago into Saints 2.0.

The front office hopes Trubisky can be Drew Brees, Shaheen can be Jimmy Graham and Cohen can be Darren Sproles.

It is certainly not a bad plan to have in place. At the very least, we know Cohen has wheels. He anchored his high school’s 2-A state championship for the 400-meter relay team.

Final thought: Although Cohen didn’t return a kickoff or punt in college, he has experience doing so in high school. He will be used on special teams from the jump and his elusiveness and vision will certainly help the Bears on the third phase. This is a solid value pick in Round 4.

Thoughts on the selection of Cohen?

In case you missed it:

STORY: Bears surprise everyone and draft QB Mitch Trubisky

STORY: Shaheen is the pick in round 2 and that bodes well for the offense

STORY: Jackson comes in as safety help for the backend

Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter, @Bearsbacker and on Facebook for up to the minute news about the Chicago Bears.

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