As the dust settled on the opening night of the NFL season a spirited Bears side were close to pulling off a shock against the NFC champions. In the game on Sunday, a new hero emerged by the name of Tarik Cohen. His performance got Bears fans and Fantasy Football players alike very excited by what the future could hold for the rookie but where would he fit into the Bears plans.

It is easy to forget but in the last 2 seasons, there has been a few players anointed the natural heir to Matt Forte. Jeremy Langford burst on to the scene in the 2015 season. Langford showed promise in his rookie season and finished with 537 yards and six touchdowns on the ground alongside 279 yards and a touchdown receiving. That was enough to earn the rookie of the year award from the Bears. However, after a slow start to the 2016 season and injury to Ka’deem Carey an opportunity presented to Jordan Howard and he did not disappoint in his first start. In the game versus the Detroit Lions, Howard became the first Bear to reach a 100 yards on the ground since Matt Forte in week 1 of the 2015 season against the Green Bay Packers. Howard had an explosive season making the feature back role his own finishing 2nd in the league only behind Ezekiel Elliot in rushing yards with 1,313.

With the Bears been incredibly short at the Wide receiver position which has only further been troubled by the news Kevin White has been moved to IR. There is a great opportunity for both Howard and Cohen to play major parts in the offence. On Sunday Cohen led the bears with 66 rushing yards and 47 receiving yards. The rookie certainly made the most of his opportunity behind Howard in the running game with highlights including a 46-yard run and a 19-yard touchdown reception. Whilst Howard is locked in as the lead runner with the limited options and the threat that Cohen can offer in the passing game it is abundantly clear that both are going to be key to any success the Bears can achieve this season.

Whilst there is great reason to be excited about the potential of Tarik Cohen who has a great pedigree from the College game. He became the MEAC’S all-time leading rusher and the first three-time conference Offensive player of the year became an All-American in 2016 with 1,588 yards and 19 touchdowns. He is a rookie who is still learning the system and I hope the fans don’t raise expectations on this player too high as there has been mixed fortunes of the previous heir to the Forte thrown with Langford going from lavished with praise in 2015 to cut in 2017. If Cohen and Howard can work cohesively in the system the future of the backfield in Chicago looks very positive for Bears fans and fantasy players alike.

Follow on Twitter @adam_theaker

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