The Chicago Bears are focused on doing whatever they must in order to upgrade their offense this offseason. No position is off-limits it seems. Quarterback is the obvious focal point with offensive line and wide receiver close behind. However, it also appears they aren’t willing to stand pat at running back either. Probably a wise decision given how uncertain the QB issue is. They could be forced to run the ball quite a bit in 2021.
NFL fans who have been around for a couple of decades probably have heard the name Ottis Anderson. A former All-Pro running back for the Cardinals, he carved out a long career in the 1980s and early ’90s. Most though remember him for his unlikely career resurgence in ’89 and ’90 when he scored 25 touchdowns and won Super Bowl MVP honors for the New York Giants in their win over the Buffalo Bills.
The man retired with 10,273 rushing yards. More than Earl Campbell.
Now it appears the next generation is ready to carve his own path in the NFL. Otis Anderson Jr., his son, is about to enter the 2021 draft out of UCF. The young man doesn’t get a lot of hype in media circles. Likely because most don’t see him as a possible full-time back due to his size (5’11, 174 lbs). That doesn’t seem to have stopped the Bears from being interested though.
The Chicago Bears have been in contact with the agent for draft prospect Otis Anderson Jr, per source.
Anderson is a running back that played college football at the University of Central Florida. He averaged 6.1 yards per attempt during his time at UCF.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) February 23, 2021
It shouldn’t be a surprise. When watching Anderson Jr. on tape? There will be instant Tarik Cohen vibes. What he lacks in size he makes up for in speed, quickness, agility, and a natural playmaking instinct. He has good vision when running the ball but also natural hands for catching it. He actually started his college career as a wide receiver. That versatility is something head coach Matt Nagy covets in this offense and the Bears are obviously looking for ways to get more explosive.
ALL THE WAY!
Otis Anderson just kept going. pic.twitter.com/7xkaLcEeuW
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) November 23, 2019
Only 2 players in #2021NFLDraft w/ 1,000 total yards receiving & rushing in their careers?
Travis Etienne – Clemson
Otis Anderson – UCF
Anderson might not have the bulk on his frame, but he’s a dynamic athlete. RB but spent lots of time in slot just like Gainwell, Felton, etc pic.twitter.com/yVhj7D4k3v
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) February 8, 2021
OTIS ANDERSON TAKES IT ALL THE WAY 💨 pic.twitter.com/OrACRHgc1E
— ESPN (@espn) September 21, 2019
Chicago Bears could be seeking Cohen insurance
Something to remember about this entire situation is what happened last year. Shortly after signing his new contract, Cohen suffered a season-ending torn ACL. While they still view him as part of their future, there is no telling how that injury will impact him. At least in the short-term. There is no shame in the Bears seeking out possible insurance plans in case the injury did more to him than expected.
Anderson Jr. averaged 6.1 yards per carry at UCF. He also caught 91 passes and scored a total of 26 offensive touchdowns. Throw in his experience as a punt returner? It’s obvious the young man checks all the same boxes that Cohen does. A perfect change-of-pace option who can pair with David Montgomery and give the Chicago Bears offense some versatility in the backfield.
So where will he be drafted?
Cohen ended up going in the 4th round back in 2017. It’s unlikely Anderson Jr. gets that high though. He’s thinner and was less productive in college. It is a safer bet he’ll go somewhere between the 5th and 6th rounds. Then again he could also end up being an undrafted free agent. So it would make sense the Bears would want to meet with him and make a good impression in case they have a chance to sign him after the draft.