Top 25 most important Bears in 2021: No. 17 Tarik Cohen

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Bears running back Tarik Cohen carries the ball during a 2019 win over the Giants. Following a stellar sophomore season in 2018, during which he was the Bears' second-leading receiver, Cohen couldn't quite match the same output in 2019. The Bears need him to regain his explosiveness in 2021

    Bears running back Tarik Cohen carries the ball during a 2019 win over the Giants. Following a stellar sophomore season in 2018, during which he was the Bears' second-leading receiver, Cohen couldn't quite match the same output in 2019. The Bears need him to regain his explosiveness in 2021 Associated Press

 
By Sean Hammond
shammond@shawmedia.com
Updated 7/8/2021 11:11 PM

No. 17 Tarik Cohen

Position: Running back

 

NFL experience: 5th season

Looking back: Following a stellar sophomore season in 2018, during which he was the Bears' second-leading receiver, Tarik Cohen couldn't quite match the same output in 2019. He totaled 71 receptions for 725 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2018, along with 444 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 99 attempts. A year later, he caught more passes (79), but totaled far fewer receiving yards (456). That lack of production was more on the offense than it was on Cohen, though.

In 2020, he tore his ACL just a week after signing a three-year contract extension, which will keep him with the Bears through 2023. He was having a solid game in Week 3 against Atlanta when he had his legs cut out from underneath him while catching a punt. Unfortunately, his season ended far too soon. In a small sample size, Cohen averaged 5.3 yards per carry through the first three games -- which would've been a career best.

Looking forward: Cohen has been a dangerous weapon out of the backfield. A pass-catching back can be quite useful on third down if utilized properly. Of the utmost concern, of course, is the health of Cohen's knee. A torn ACL in Week 3 should provide enough time for Cohen to be back for training camp, but every ACL injury is different. He was present, but not participating, during OTAs and minicamp this spring. Even once he returns to the field, it could be a while before he feels like himself again.

When the Bears were rolling in 2018, Cohen was heavily involved. If the Bears are to return to that level of offensive production, they're going to need a solid pass-catching back behind David Montgomery. That could be Cohen or it could be Damien Williams, but at this point the Bears have a lot more invested in Cohen thanks to that contract extension.

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