Chicago Bears RB Jordan Howard is entering an interesting season. He has as good of a chance at leading the NFL in rushing as he has at losing reps to Tarik Cohen, a player some analysts feel is a better fit for coach Matt Nagy's system.
It's unfortunate that Howard isn't receiving the kind of praise he deserves. He set the Bears' rookie rushing record with 1,313 yards in 2016. In 2017, he became the first running back in franchise history to start a career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
Howard's production suggests he should be the feature back in Chicago's ground game, and according to NFL Network's Maurice Jones-Drew, it's a no-brainer. He recently ranked Howard in the NFL's top-10 running backs.
7. Jordan Howard (Bears)
Even with the plethora of offensive weapons thanks to some offseason additions, the Bears' offense still must run through Howard. After rushing for at least 1,100 yards in each of his first two seasons, Howard will be a key piece for first-year head coach Matt Nagy and will have to carry Chicago late in the season if the squad is going to make a playoff push.
Howard will be given every chance to prove he can thrive in Nagy's system early in the season. If he establishes himself as a reliable receiver, he could match Kareem Hunt's league-leading 1,327 yards last season. He'll have to be effective as a pass-catcher to keep Cohen from threatening for more touches.
Howard deserves this kind of recognition for what he's done through two seasons as a pro. He may not be in the NFL's elite class just yet, but if he surpasses 1,200-plus rushing yards and threatens for 10 or more touchdowns again, it'll be an undeniable fact that he's a true franchise back.