Bears draft grade: Roschon Johnson, fourth-round pick

Grading Bears fourth-round pick: Roschon Johnson originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Bears rounded out their running back room with their first pick of the fourth round. Ryan Poles selected Roschon Johnson out of Texas with the No. 115 overall.

The Bears seemed disappointed that they weren’t able to bring David Montgomery back in free agency, so they picked a player who can bring a similar skillset to the run game. Johnson doesn’t necessarily have top end speed, but he’s elusive and strong, which makes him hard to bring down. His stats don’t pop off the page, but that’s largely because he was running behind Bijan Robinson, a player who many believe is the best running back prospect since Saquon Barkley. But the deeper analytics show an impressive rusher. According to PFF, Johnson’s 45% forced missed tackle rate over the last two years leads all running backs in the country with at least 190 attempts.

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Johnson can also contribute in the pass game. The Longhorns didn’t target him a ton as a receiver, but he’s a capable pass catcher. More importantly, he’s reliable in pass protection. That was an area where Khalil Herbert struggled in 2022, and reporters who covered the Texans last year said D’Onta Foreman wasn’t much better.

The Bears run game was arguably their lone strength last season, when they led the league with 3,014 yards. This pick simultaneously adds to that strength, while providing a nice complement for Herbert, who is expected to be the lead back next year. Herbert is known as a back who can make one cut, then explode. That plays really well in Luke Getsy’s zone blocking scheme. But the Bears liked to use Montgomery in the low redzone, or other short yardage situations, because they could rely on his power to pick up just a few yards when they absolutely needed it. Johnson can come in and take over that role, so Herbert can continue to thrive on 1st-and-10, and let a bigger back take over on 3rd-and-1.

Grade: A

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