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Howard ranked as league’s fourth most elusive back

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After ranking as the NFL's most elusive running back as a rookie in 2016, Jordan Howard finished fourth in the same category this past season.

One of the Next Gen Stats metrics featured on NFL.com, the rankings determine the backs who created the most yardage on their own by measuring yards gained after defenders close to within one yard. The data is tracked via chips placed inside each player's shoulder pads.

After rushing for a Bears rookie record 1,313 yards and six touchdowns on 252 carries in 2016, Howard ran for 1,122 yards and nine TDs on 276 attempts this past season.

"Howard followed up his excellent rookie season with yet another 1,000-yard rushing campaign in 2017," wrote NFL.com's Matt Harmon. "He's a tough back to bring down when he gets rolling. Howard gained an average of 4.06 yards after defenders closed within 1 yard of him. He was also a top performer in this metric in 2016, as his 4.64 yards gained after close ranked first among backs with over 175 carries.

"The Bears hired former Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy to take over as their head coach this offseason. While Howard doesn't come with the receiving chops of some of the backs featured in Nagy's Kansas City offenses, Chicago's new coach will no doubt look to keep the bruising Howard in place as the scoring attack's identity."

The only three running backs who finished ahead of Howard in the rankings this past season were the Chiefs' Kareem Hunt, the Patriots' Dion Lewis and the Titans' Derrick Henry.

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