Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press
After foregoing his senior season at LSU and entering the 2013 draft, Michael Ford's disappointment of going undrafted did not last long as he was quickly signed by the Bears as an undrafted free agent.
Viewed as a long shot to make the team's final 53-man roster last season, Ford beat out Armando Allen and played in 12 games last season, finishing with three special teams tackles and returned five kickoffs for 37 yards.
Heading into the 2014 offseason, Ford was the only running back on the roster besides starter Matt Forte and looked to be the lead candidate to be the No. 2 in the regular season. General manager Phil Emery opted to bolster the position in free agency by signing veteran Shaun Draughn, as well as drafting Ka'Deem Carey in the fourth round and signing undrafted free agent Jordan Lynch this past May.
Carey seems like the likely No. 2 behind Forte, leaving Ford to battle with Draughn and Lynch for what will likely only be one final running back spot.
The best way for Ford to make the roster over Draughn and Lynch will be to prove his worth not only as a kick returner but on special teams as a whole.
Ford understands that it will be difficult to make this roster with the new influx of talent, telling Gavin Crowell of the Chicago Sun-Times, “Right now, my mindset is doing whatever it takes to stay with the team.”
While he proved his worth as a special teams contributor, he may have some difficulty trying to win the kick return job.
The team signed wide receiver Chris Williams late last season and the former CFL standout appears to be the front runner for the returner job.
Along with battling Williams for a role as a return man, Ford will also be in competition with the likes of Eric Weems, Armanti Edwards and Micheal Spurlock.
One big reason that Ford struggled to get on the field as a running back last season was his need to improve in pass protection.
He likely won't be the team's first option as a kick returner, leaving him to compete as a legitimate third option at running back. Draughn has more NFL experience, albeit very limited, but did show the ability to be effective in pass production during his time with the Kansas City Chiefs.
If Ford can have as productive of a preseason as he did last year and improves in pass protection he could wind up being the team's No. 3 running back, but given the experience of Draughn, as well as having more proven kick returners on the roster, Ford will have to have an impressive training camp to make the roster this season.