Matt Forte-RB-Tulane-Round 2 2008:
As of 2008, the Bears had busted out in drafting running backs going all the way back to the late 1980′s. The selection of Neal Anderson (first round 1986) was a home run even though his career fizzled after his sixth season. Brad Muster (first round, 1988) was a nice compliment to Anderson, but he didn’t stay healthy and was done after just five seasons. Rashaan Salaam (first, 1995) was a bust. Curtis Enis (fifth overall, 1998) may have been the worst of the whole bunch. Anthony Thomas (2nd, 2001) made Rookie of the Year and was dependable, but wasn’t flashy and did nothing after leaving Chicago on a four-year career. Then the Bears swung a home run by signing Thomas Jones in free agency in 2004, then astonishingly selected Cedric Benson with the fourth overall pick in the draft in 2005. Benson was drafted despite many red flags, and due to his high selection he was retained and Jones traded prior to the 2007 season. Benson’s performance was underwhelming in 2007 as the load back, so Angelo selected Forte in 2008 as insurance. When Benson got himself arrested twice in the 2008 offseason, the Bears found themselves with Forte as their rookie starter as Benson was cut. Forte responded by rushing for 1,200 + yards, caught 63 passes and scored 12 total touchdowns as a rookie. Following a down sophomore season, he bounced back in 2010 with 1000+ rushing yards, 9 touchdowns and 51 receptions. 2011 was his best year of them all until he badly sprained a knee ligament. At the time Forte led the league in yards from scrimmage. Prior to the injury in the twelfth game of the 2011 season, Forte had started every game of his career (60 straight). That was nothing short of Walter Payton-esque. As of this writing, Forte is designated the Bears’ franchise player, but threatens to hold out for a franchise running back contract. Absolutely one of Angelo’s best picks.