Chicago Bears RB Khalil Herbert going to IR means big opportunity for this rookie

Chicago Bears (Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Bears (Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports) /

Finding the silver lining in bad news is something Chicago Bears fans are accustomed to. Living as gluttons for punishment has made some of us this way, and here we are again, having to deal with some bad news.

Second-year running back Khalil Herbert was placed on IR due to a hip injury, meaning he will miss at least a month.

But, there is hope. The Bears’ rushing attack has been tops in the league this year thanks to a three-headed monster featuring Herbert, David Montgomery and, of course, the breakout of Justin Fields.

All they need is for the “next man up” to step in and perform just like last year’s sixth-round rookie was able to do. Funny enough, the Bears’ next man up is also a sixth-round rookie from the 2022 class: Trestan Ebner.

With Khalil Herbert out for a while, the Chicago Bears could see Trestan Ebner step right in and succeed.

Today’s NFL has proven one thing over the last few years: running backs had been over-valued and over-drafted. Seeing guys like Herbert, Elijah Mitchell and Dameon Pierce succeed in recent years proves that you don’t absolutely need to find a running back on Day 1 or Day 2 of the draft.

For that reason, the Bears may have struck gold again going with Ebner this year. The former Baylor Bears running back and return man likely locks in the number two role going forward, and has some similarities to Herbert which could help the offense not lose a step.

Ebner is actually two inches taller and a similar size, but runs even quicker than Herbert. If you thought Herbert had “the juice,” Ebner is actually faster, believe it or not. Ebner ran a 4.43 versus Herbert’s 4.5.

Ebner can be shifty in the open field, too, which gives the Bears a similar runner to Herbert, able to step in and fill that void.

Montgomery should still see the bulk of the carries, but Ebner’s skill set is going to come in nicely when filling Herbert’s shoes. Ebner is also a phenomenal pass catcher, and he averaged 11.9 yards per reception at Baylor on a total of 127 catches.

The Bears take on an Atlanta Falcons defense this weekend — a defense that gives up nearly 120 yards per game on the ground. Meanwhile, the Bears have averaged a ridiculous 201.7 yards per game rushing, which would be only the 11th time a team has averaged that number since 1980.

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Assuming Luke Getsy stays committed — and he will — Ebner should see a good amount of touches; right around 10-14, most likely. Could we be getting ready to see another late-round pick flourish?