IT’S GOTTA BE MENDENHALL
Yes you can. Yes you can find quality running backs in the 2nd round. And the later rounds. Yes you can immediately rattle off names of the many Big Ten backs that were horrible in the pros. Blair Thomas, KiJana Carter, Curtis Enis, Tim Biakabutuka…and on and on. Yes you can say that the Bears’ utmost need is for an offensive lineman. I don’t care. When it’s time for Roger Goodell to stroll up to the mic to announce the 14th pick on Saturday, the slip of paper in his hand better have “Rashard Mendenhall, RB, U of I” written on it.
He played high school here. Went to Illinois. Was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year last season. Ran a 4.45 40 at the combine. Dazzled the nation in the Rose Bowl with 17 carries for 155 yards, 5 catches and a 79-yard TD run. This is the no-brainer of all-time.
Cedric Benson is here. So what? He has only 2 years left on his deal. He’ll be gone soon enough. And if the miracle of all miracles happens and he fulfills his promise, then you have 2 excellent running backs. Hasn’t seemed to hurt the Saints. Or Cowboys. Or Vikings. Drafting Mendenhall might be a good tonic for whatever ails Benson.
If Jerry Angelo believes Mendenhall is a game-changing back, if he believes he is a special player, then why would he take a questionable offensive lineman instead? It doesn’t make sense. Go for the star in the 1st. Draft a lineman later.
This is the guy I want playing running back as a Bear for the next decade. Just draft him, Jerry.