2023 NFL Draft: Why Bears drafted RB Roschon Johnson in Round 4

Johnson's 'it factor' had Bears excited to draft Texas RB in Round 4 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Bears opened Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft by trading the first pick in the fourth round (No. 103) to the New Orleans Saints for picks No. 115 and No. 165.

At No. 115, general manager Ryan Poles grabbed Texas running back Roschon Johnson.

In Johnson, the Bears get a tough, smart, and powerful back who uses creativity and balance to break tackles.

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Per Pro Football Focus, Johnson led all running backs in the country with a 45 percent missed tackle rate over the last two seasons.

Johnson would have probably started at any other program in the country but was stuck behind Bijan Robinson at Texas. He has low tread on his tires, and the Bears are confident they found a foundational player for this rebuild in Round 4.

"He’s someone we really feel compelled can become a pillar of this organization for a really long time," Bears area scout John Syty said after the Bears selected Johnson. "I feel really strongly about this guy. I’m excited for you guys to meet him. There’s a level of it factor to this kid the second he walks into the room that all you guys are going to feel.

"I have a feeling this guy is going to be with us for a really long time. ... He just emulates everything we want a Chicago Bear to be."

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Johnson's power, toughness, mental makeup, and ability to contribute on special teams all made him an appealing option to the Bears.

It's clear that once Syty, running backs coach David Walker, and the rest of the Bears' brass met Johnson, they fell in love with a player they believe can become part of the fabric of this new Bears era.

Johnson might not win any footraces, but at 6-foot, 219 pounds, Johnson is a violent back who will pair nicely with Khalil Herbert—Chicago's version of thunder and lightning.

"Hard-nosed. Fits this division to a tee," Syty said. "Powerful, physical, breaks a lot of tackles. ... Has a lot of hidden yardage with him. You talk about the versatility in the pass game, and the thing he's best at is the special teams. That's the slam dunk for us."


The Bears let David Montgomery walk in free agency. On Saturday, they found a guy to take his place.

One with an "it factor" the Bears hope will help define the Ryan Poles era.

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