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Bears' new RB Cohen compared to Eagles' Sproles

By
Alex Butler
The Chicago Bears drafted North Carolina A&T running back Tarik Cohen Saturday in the fourth-round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Photo courtesy of NCAT Athletics/Instagram
The Chicago Bears drafted North Carolina A&T running back Tarik Cohen Saturday in the fourth-round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Photo courtesy of NCAT Athletics/Instagram

April 30 (UPI) -- Tarik Cohen has similar size and speed to Darren Sproles, making the comparisons easy for the Chicago Bears.

The Bears' No. 119 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft wowed scouts with a 4.42 second 40-yard dash at the March NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

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Cohen was the first-ever three-time MEAC Offensive Player of the Year at North Carolina A&T. He had 868 carries for 5,619 yards and 56 touchdowns in college. He also had 98 receptions.

"That's a good comparison," Bears general manager Ryan Pace told reporters after the draft. "I was with Sproles and saw the value of that back. When you have a back like that on third down it can be a mismatched problem for the defense, because it's hard to cover those guys."

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"There are similar traits, and I don't want to put these expectations on these players because they haven't even gotten here yet, but man he's quick as a running back. He's instinctive as a running back, he was productive in every season he had there. Then you split him out of the back field, and he's going to shake and separate from a linebacker and a safety. So, he can create problems with his quickness and his suddenness, and his athleticism. Again, he was one of those guys we were all pretty fired up about and not just from the YouTube videos."

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Sproles is heading into his 12 NFL season. He had 865 yards from scrimmage, 52 receptions, and four touchdowns last season for the Eagles. In 2011, Sproles had 86 receptions for the New Orleans Saints.

Cohen was nicknamed the "Human Joystick" for his own shifty ability.

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"The nickname came from the guy at Just Bombs Productions," Cohen told reporters Saturday. "He makes highlights on YouTube, and when he made my YouTube highlight it had gotten a lot of views and that's what he titled it as. It was "Tarik Cohen: The Human Joystick Highlights" so that's what stuck, and everyone seemed to like that. I really prefer Chicken Salad. Someone on ESPN called me Chicken Salad and I really liked that. I don't think it's bad, the Human Joystick, I really like that too."

He also said that he looks up to Sproles and Kansas City Chiefs playmaker Tyreek Hill.

Cohen and Sproles are both listed at 5-feet, 6-inches. Hill is 5-foot, 10-inches.

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"Yeah, definitely. Sproles and Tyreek Hill does it all," Cohen said. "That's why I really feel like I can do the same things coming into the league my rookie year."

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Jordan Howard currently tops the Bears' depth chart at running back following a sensational rookie campaign. Last season he rushed for 1,313 yards and six touchdowns. But Cohen could be in for a complementary role. The Bears also have Jeremy Langford and Benny Cunningham on its current roster.

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