2023 NFL draft preview: Will the Bears take a running back?

Not a single running back went in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft. Teams continue to invest fewer and fewer high draft picks in what might be the most physically demanding position in football.

Texas running back Bijan Robinson seems poised to return running backs to the first round. Beyond Robinson, who else is available?

Here's a look at some of the running backs available in the draft.

Day 1 prospects

Bijan Robinson, Texas:

Robinson (5-11, 215) looks like a three-down back who will help an NFL team immediately. Robinson rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons, including more than 1,500 last year. He earned the Doak Walker award as the nation's top running back in 2022. He is a fast and physical back who will likely become the first running back selected in the first round in two years.

Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama:

If two running backs go in the first round, Gibbs (5-9, 199) might be the second. He could also slip into round two. He's not necessarily the all-around back that Robinson is, but he could contribute for an NFL offense right away. He's a speedy back who has no problem hauling in passes. Gibbs ran for 926 yards and seven touchdowns in his lone season at Alabama after transferring from Georgia Tech.

Day 2 prospects

Devon Achane, Texas A&M:

At 5-foot-8, 188 pounds, Achane is small by NFL standards, but he plays with speed and toughness. He runs like a much bigger back, unafraid to plow through the middle among the big fellas. He caught only 20 passes in three seasons at Texas A&M. His size and durability will be a concern for teams.

Zach Charbonnet, UCLA:

Charbonnet (6-0, 214) recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons after transferring from Michigan to UCLA. Among the backs available on day two, Charbonnet might have the best size. He can pass block and catch passes with ease, which could make him valuable on third downs. His acceleration isn't as quick as others, but he picks up steam when he finds an opening.

Tyjae Spears, Tulane:

Spears (5-10, 201) finished last season with 21 total touchdowns and more than 1,800 yards from scrimmage. He ended his college career by running all over USC in the Cotton Bowl. He's fast once he gets a head of steam, but doesn't have an elite burst. That being said, he averaged 6.8 yards per carry in college.

Tank Bigsby, Auburn:

Bigsby (6-0, 210) produced good numbers for three straight years at Auburn. He has the body frame that NFL teams are looking for. He shows creativity as a runner in the trenches. He didn't provide a ton as a pass catcher in college.

DeWayne McBride, UAB:

At UAB, McBride (5-10, 209) put up incredible numbers, totaling more than 3,000 combined rushing yards in 2021 and 2022. He scored 32 touchdowns over those two seasons. He's a powerful back who could fit in almost any scheme. He caught just five passes in college.

Day 3 prospects

Kendre Miller, TCU:

Miller (5-11, 215) rushed for 1,399 yards and 17 touchdowns last season for TCU, helping the Horned Frogs reach the national championship game. He was consistently productive as a runner during his college career. He needs to improve as a pass blocker and he needs a bit more patience waiting for his block to develop ahead of him.

Chase Brown, Illinois:

Brown (5-9, 209) put up huge numbers because of his sheer volume of touches. He totaled 1,643 yards on 328 carries last season alone and proved he can be a workhorse. He found the end zone on just 10 of those 328 carries. He was more effective between the tackles than out wide.

Sean Tucker, Syracuse:

Though he doesn't possess elite acceleration, Tucker (5-9, 207) runs well after contact. He posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons at Syracuse in 2021 and 2022. He has impressive lower-body strength and can keep his legs churning. He will have to improve as a pass blocker.

Additional Day 3 options: Roschon Johnson, Texas; Zach Evans, Ole Miss; Kenny McIntosh, Georgia.

Best fits for Bears:

The Bears have running backs Khalil Herbert, D'Onta Foreman, Travis Homer and Trestan Ebner under contract for next season. They probably aren't going to invest a day one or two pick in a back.

But it wouldn't be a huge surprise if they drafted someone on Day 3. Miller or Brown might fit what they're trying to do. Texas' Roschon Johnson is also an intriguing back who has been stuck behind Bijan Robinson for several years.

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