Darnell Wright had already been put through the “ringer” with a Chicago Bears coaching staff member at Tennesee’s Pro Day, but for most of the rookies at minicamp this weekend, it was their first time learning the ropes of head coach Matt Eberflus’ program. One rookie appeared to stand out above the rest by Saturday evening.
The Bears concluded their minicamp on Saturday by finding four players to sign. Three of those players were undrafted rookie free agents. The Bears used their practices to set the foundation for those players to come in and compete for roster spots and positions on the depth chart starting with OTA practices on May 22nd. A Day 3 draft pick seems to be taking the locker room over before that phase of the offseason begins.
Roschon Johnson is gaining respect with the Chicago Bears
The Bears traded down in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft and landed an underrated running back in Roschon Johnson out of Texas. Johnson was RB2 at Texas last season, as first-round draft pick Bijan Robinson got much of the accolades on that team. But Johnson put up his own impressive numbers and found ways to get into the endzone.
— Jordan Sigler (@JordanSig) May 7, 2023
Johnson also has one advantage over Bijan in Chicago this season, as has been pointed out before the draft, he will start his NFL career with fresher legs because of his role as the number two back.
Johnson can help the Bears in multiple ways
Per multiple reports this weekend, coaches were impressed with Johnson’s attitude and abilities during the minicamp this weekend. According to Kevin Fishbain with The Athletic, special teams coordinator, Richard Hightower said Johnson was impressive on special teams:
“When you see this guy play football, he is as violent as they come. He can almost be a linebacker. The way he covers some kicks are outstanding. I think he can help us in that area for sure.”
Bears special teams coordinator Richard Hightower on rookie RB Roschon Johnson: "When you see this guy play football, he is as violent as they come. He can almost be a linebacker. The way he covers some kicks are outstanding. I think he can help us in that area for sure."
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) May 6, 2023
Johnson’s abilities as a running back are compelling as well. It appears like Johnson has a good chance to earn a starting spot as the Bears featured running back this year.
Luke Getsy on how he sees the new Bears RB group shaking out with Khalil Herbert, D'Onta Foreman and Roschon Johnson:
"The vision isn't completely set yet… the competition in that room is going to be real."
— Alex Shapiro (@AlexShapiroNBCS) May 6, 2023
According to Fishbain, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said this weekend that Johnson gives the offense plenty of options with his range of skill:
“All the different things he did at Texas, too, that’s really cool. As you guys know, we like to have guys who can do as many different things as possible. And so, he really gives us a lot of really cool flexibility, too. He’s a guy who doesn’t really get fazed. He can learn a lot. He already just in this one practice proved that he’s able to handle a lot.”
The Chicago Bears running back room has a lot of playmakers
The Bears have created a weighty running back unit after the departure of David Montgomery to the Detroit Lions in free agency. The Bears retained Khalil Herbert and added D’Onta Foreman and Travis Homer in free agency before selecting Johnson last Saturday.
While the Bears don’t have a clear star running back, they had a talented room before the draft that only appears to have gotten much stronger before training camp with the arrival of Johnson. Now we’ll see if Johnson can’t make a push to be an elite running back in Chicago.
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