In recent years, the Bears have had a penchant for signing veteran running backs to big contracts only to see them put up subpar production. Chester Taylor, Marion Barber and Michael Bush come to mind.
The team currently sits with Matt Forte as the obvious workhorse but only have 2013 undrafted free agent Michael Ford as Forte's current backup. Ford showed some promise during the 2013 preseason but did not contribute much during the regular season.
Chicago could still look to free agency to find a veteran to spell Forte, but the draft is the most cost-effective way to find depth.
The 5'9", 204-pound James White dealt with the naysayers throughout his career at Wisconsin due to his small size, but he finished his career as the program's fourth all-time leading rusher with 4,015 yards and ended up third all-time with 45 touchdowns—all despite spending much of his career splitting time with Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon.
Despite his size, White is strong and shows a good burst and uses his low center of gravity to find space. He's not necessarily a power back, but has a nose for the end zone, particularly near the goal line.
He would likely compete with Ford for either the No. 2 or No. 3 running back spot. White also has the ability to be a kick return, something the Bears need.
In 2013 the Bears finally found a tight end who is both an effective pass-catcher and blocker in Martellus Bennett. While the Bears are more than happy with the production that Bennett gave them in 2013, the team still needs depth at the position and could benefit from having a "hybrid" tight end who can help spread defenses.
Oregon's Colt Lyerla was once viewed as a dynamic pass-catching tight end who could become a force in the NFL until he was arrested and pled guilty to cocaine-possession charges in October and left the team.
Lyerla is built like the new-age hybrid tight ends that are becoming the norm in the NFL and is similar to former Bears draft pick Evan Rodriguez.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com said of Lyerla, "He has the speed to blow past defenders on vertical routes and displays the short-area quickness and burst to run away from linebackers out of breaks."
He showed his versatility at Oregon, being used both as an in-line tight end as well as lining up at times in the backfield.
He has all of the potential to be a playmaker in the NFL, but due to Lyerla's off-the-field issues, the Bears would have to look long and hard at him to determine whether or not he has righted himself in his personal life and can help the team on the field.
If they feel they can provide the right environment, Lyerla has the potential to push backups Dante Rosario and Fendi Onobun for the No. 2 spot and be a weapon for Jay Cutler and the Bears' dynamic offense.