Jordan Howard goes to Bears in 5th round #iufb

For the second consecutive year, Indiana has produced an NFL running back.

Jordan Howard went to the Chicago Bears in the fifth round with the No. 150 overall pick, following in the footsteps of Tevin Coleman, who went to Atlanta in the third round last year.

This is the first time since 1992 that Hoosier running backs have been selected in back-to-back drafts. The Phoenix Cardinals selected Anthony Thompson in the second round in 1990, Ernie Thompson went to the Los Angeles Rams in the 12th round in 1991 and the New Orleans Saints selected Vaughn Dunbar in the first round of the 1992 draft.

Howard slipped deeper into the draft’s final day than expected. He was the 10th running back taken after entering the weekend graded as the third-best player at his position, according to NFL.com.

Howard will join a Bears backfield that also features former Michigan State back Jeremy Langford, who enters camp as the heir to former starter Matt Forte. Langford averaged 3.6 yards per carry while rushing for 537 yards as a rookie in 2015.

“This man will be starting this upcoming season,” IU running backs coach Deland McCullough tweeted. “Congrats Jordan!!!! (You) got a lot of fuel for that fire bro.”

Howard earned first team All-Big Ten honors after rushing for 1,213 yards in his one and only season in Bloomington. The former UAB transfer finished second in the Big Ten with 134.8 rushing yards per game, while scoring nine rushing touchdowns.

He became the 11th Hoosier to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in a single season, doing so despite missing 18 quarters due to injury. He suffered an ankle injury in a Week 5 game against Ohio State before missing the final two games of Indiana’s season with a knee injury.

“He’s just got to stay healthy,” ESPN draft analyst Louis Riddick said. “He had his knee scoped at the end of the year. If he can stay on the field, though, he’s a bull in the backfield.”

Speaking with reporters at the NFL Combine in February, Howard acknowledged that the short shelf life of NFL running backs factored into his decision to declare for the draft after his junior year. After dealing with a series of injuries during his lone season with the Hoosiers, Howard aimed to start his professional career while his stock remained high.

“You talk about an aggressive, hard-nosed runner, he takes it right at a defense, north-south. This is Jordan Howard,” ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. “The issue is going to be durability with that style.”

This story will be updated.

19 comments

  1. Jerry Jones is either living in the past or is beginning to lose his mind, which was proven when he used the fourth overall pick to take a running back. I don’t care how good the running back is. Howard going in the fifth round to Chicago just reinforces that running backs are no longer highly valued by the NFL. Having said that, Howard has a chance to play in Chicago now that Forte has moved on. I hope he lasts beyond his rookie contract, but his running style suggests he might not survive that long. He was fun to watch in a Hoosier uniform.

  2. Good point, Chet. Jones is starting to behave like Al Davis did during the last ten years of his life. An NFL owner who hires himself to be the general manager is an idiot.

  3. “For the second consecutive year, Indiana has produced an NFL running back.”

    I don’t believe we’ll know that until September. Getting drafted is just the first step.

  4. Many teams missed out on an outstanding RB and I hope he does stay healthy because he is a bear to bring down with more speed than defenders know about. I am sure his injuries played a role but Po is right that the NFL has devalued RBs. RBs don’t last very long in the NFL and there are many others to take their place.

  5. Podunker, I have been a Bear’s fan all of my life and I saw every game this past year via the NFL ticket. The Bear’s had a great back up to Forte this past year in Jeremy Langford from Michigan St. who basically is a Matt Forte clone. Every game when he came in to give Forte a break, he was very good. He has all of Forte’s traits, he is a strong runner and a terrific pass receiver while also picking up blitz’s very well. He will be the starter this year without a doubt! This is the reason that the Bears let Forte go and didn’t resign him which pissed off a lot of Bears fans because Forte was one of the top 5 running backs in the league. Howard could be a valuable back up to Langford if he can stay healthy which I am sure is a concern of the Bears? Langford is going to be a star in Chicago based on his showing last year!

  6. It’s nearly impossible to predict the future of a running back. I think it’s safe to say that Marshawn Lynch would have had a stellar season this past year based upon the previous year. Instead, he’s out of football.

    Trent Richardson was a can’t miss RB. DeAngelo Williams was washed up.

    The Panthers and Broncos both seemed bulletproof at running back and both had guys from the practice squad getting carries during the season.

    Crazy game.

    Unless the Bears win a playoff game or two most of the nation probably won’t hear Langford’s name very much. The Bears don’t get a lot of coverage outside Chicagoland these days.

  7. Makes one appreciate Walter Payton, the greatest NFL running back of all time. No strike that, Walter was the best football player of all time. How he stayed healthy enough to play all those years, many of which behind a terrible O-line, was simply amazing. Those of you too young to have watched Walter play, find some old highlight film and watch. You don’t see anything like that these days, and you never will again.

  8. Don’t discount Dallas selecting a RB in the first round. Dallas has only done that twice and both ended up HOFers. Remember Dorsett and E. Smith. The only other two running backs that Dallas drafted in the first round. Pretty good track record.

  9. Not quite.

    Dallas also used first round picks on running backs Bill Thomas, Charley Young, Duane Thomas, and Felix Jones not to mention a host of other position players you’ve never heard of (remember Ebenezer Ekuban?) so, no, not a very good track record at all.

  10. Po, his treatment of Sweetness is the main reason I’ve never had a very high opinion of Ditka. The 1985 Bears were a great team because of the defense and that was all Buddy Ryan. Ditka never did squat as a coach otherwise.

  11. To be fair, he was the class of the dreadful NFC Central for a few years but the NFC Central was horrrrrible.

  12. My bad. Chet, Ditka has always said and sometimes with tears in his eyes that his biggest regret is not getting Sweetness into the endzone during that Super Bowl. Also, Elliot running behind that OL, probably one of the best in the league, will have an immediate impact. He is also a good pass blocker and can catch the ball. Dallas will use him a lot just to take pressure off of Romo.

  13. Maybe, in retrospect, it wasn’t such a negative that Ditka didn’t give Sweetness a chance to score his one Super Bowl touchdown in a totally blowout game. Walter had been shut down the entire game because the Patriots believed to key on Sweetness with multiple assignments was going to somehow help their chances. Most teams would lose doubly on such a gamble and Walter would still get his yardage..But the Patriots were strong enough up front to accomplish stymieing Payton and shutting down much of the running game.
    Sure, a Super Bowl TD would have eased the frustration for Payton’s tough outing on the game’s biggest stage. But, in a way, it’s more of an insult to give Walter that ball when the game was already over and turning into a joke. Instead of the simpletons talking endlessly about how Sweetness was uninspiring on nearly every down during the Super Bowl(because of the Patriots complete focus on stopping one player), they were more caught up in the easy targeting of Ditka for what was perceived as a huge slight. But Ditka loved Walter and to any true Bears fan that fact was obvious.
    People that love you will always to stupid and inexplicable stuff…What is most sad is that those who never watched more than a handful of Bears games during the Payton years now turn the most fabulous running back, a guy that was supposed to be too small to succeed in the NFL, into a pity party over a coach’s mistake in one game. . I’m sure Sweetness knew in his heart that his coach believed him to be the greatest to ever play the game. I never questioned Ditka’s love for the Bears…And I certainly never questioned his love for Walter Payton.

    Not getting that Super Bowl TD should, in no way, dampen any of Walter’s unbelievable accomplishments during his career. He was one of the best ever and to claim any of his accomplishments should be tempered because it was a “dreadful” NFC Central is asinine.

    And it’s pure crap to suggest Ditka had nothing to do with turning around the Bears. His personality was gigantic and he epitomized the needed return of a chip on the shoulder that would infect the locker room and create the media buzz. He loved the franchise and he admired George Halas more than any other person associated with the game. He begged Halas for the opportunity….

    Current Bears irrelevance: Won’t change until they finally exhaust all the wasted dollars on Cutler. Grossman and Cutler ruined the Bears chances for Super Bowls over the last 15 years. The QB situation in Chicago has been akin to the basketball coaching ceiling at Indiana University. Don’t look in Indiana for QB’s. …it’s a basketball state.

  14. Elliot is very talented. The Cowboys offensive line is, on paper and in past performance, very good. That being said, the Cowboys have been great in the off season for 20 years but always manage to under perform in an NFC East that has been resting on the laurels of the past for quite some time.

    I’ll be very surprised if, 1) the Cowboys live up to predictions because they never do (they’ve been picked to go to the Super Bowl so many times it’s become a punchline), 2) Romo plays an entire regular season, 3) Romo doesn’t melt down in the clutch late in the season, and 4) Dez Bryant (or someone taking his lead) doesn’t tear the locker room apart because of Skittles or the type of soap in the shower or some other meaningful controversy. If that organization has proven anything over the past 2 decades it is that, no matter how talented their roster, they are built to fail.

  15. Wow…CNN reported that the average household income in Indiana is $48,000. The median price of a home in Indiana is around $119,000.

    Top 10 newly proposed state slogans for Indiana:

    Indiana…Where prosperity plays a better stall game than the Milan Indians.
    Indiana…We manufacture antidepressants to ease the pain of living here.
    Indiana…I thought there was supposed to be money in religion?
    Indiana…We fought for the Union to only become the South.
    Indiana…Now proud to be 53% owned by a Tom Crean stock option.
    Indiana…The Geometry State..A famous oval, great hoops, and too many squares to name.
    Indiana…We play basketball because a set of golf clubs isn’t worth a year’s salary.
    Indiana…Dodge our 10 million potholes to break the monotony.
    Indiana…If you’re an economy, you can have an abortion of no choice.
    Indiana…No hate here.. A French Lick baller can actually buy a wedding cake..

  16. PO- you are right on about Payton being a FOOTBALL player. Others may have been or maybe will be be better “runners” that Payton, but Payton blocked with relish, not to mention that he was a threat to pass on the HB option (and remains the Bears leader with most receptions).

    H4H- Many years ago I had a chance to speak with one of the ’85 Bears, Keith Van Horne, and his take on Ditka was that nobody but nobody was a better motivator (something to the effect that Ditka could get an old lady in a wheelchair to run through a brick wall, but I paraphrase).

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