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Chicago Bears Rookie Diary: RB Joel Bouagnon
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NIU32 Online
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Chicago Bears Rookie Diary: RB Joel Bouagnon
Chicago Bears Rookie Diary: RB Joel Bouagnon

Yesterday at 1:08 PM / Originally published onBear Report
Bear Report sits down with Chicago Bears rookie RB Joel Bouagnon, a local product who made his name toting the rock for the Huskies at Northern Illinois.

The Chicago Bears signed former Northern Illinois running back Joel Bouagnon shortly after the conclusion of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Bouagnon is a local product who rushed for 5.9 yards per carry as a sophomore for the Huskies, then exploded for 1,286 rushing yards and 18 TDs his junior year.
The 6-2, 225-pound ball carrier brings added power to Chicago's backfield but he's shown throughout rookie minicamp and OTAs his fluidity and light feet as well.
The Bears have decent depth at running back but the unit is not without serious question marks, which may leave the door open for Bouagnon, especially if he excels during the preseason.
We sat down with Bouagnon to discuss competing for a spot on his hometown roster.
"Driving up to Halas Hall for rookie camp that first time was a huge step for me but in another sense it wasn’t. My home is in St. Charles so that initial commute was a familiar drive. Unlike a lot of the rookies there that weekend, I was kind of in hometown territory. No big culture shock to deal with.

"But once I actually arrived here everything changed. I looked around and suddenly it dawned on me that I was in the NFL. It's something I’d hoped for and worked towards my entire life. When a dream like that finally comes true you are kind of startled for a little bit. You’re wondering if this can possibly be real. Luckily it was.

"For college I went to NIU, kind of familiar territory geographically in terms of Halas Hall. The coaching there was on an extremely high level. I got as good a background as possible to make the transition to the pros. But even with the game time experience and my confidence as a result of that, being here has been an enormous transition.

"Everybody is really good. Everybody is a star athlete. They’re fast, they’re tough and they are going all out competing for a position. I am feeling good about my skill level but it's certainly been clear to me that there is a steep learning curve ahead, as is the case for every rookie. It's up to me to learn fast and execute well so I can show the coaches that their faith in me is justified.

"Things so far are coming along well. It's all beginning to click and I think I’m improving every day. In rookie minicamp the main focus is on the plays. You learn as much as you can from the playbook every night, then you bring that knowledge to the field. You take what you learn every day then try to build on it.

"Now with the veterans on the field the pace is a lot faster. It's more comfortable in a sense because everything isn’t completely unfamiliar. I've been here for a little while already. Right now I’m working on making my reads, speeding things up a bit.

"The veterans are guys you've only seen on TV so it's pretty impressive. That can be distracting at first but it passes soon enough. You realize they are working hard just like you are. We're a team now. We all want to be successful, whether as a new player or a seasoned veteran.

"How did I get here? I think I showed the Bears my patience with my play, my ability to run and my blocking. I was pretty successful in those phases of the game in college. I’m good in the backfield and in pass protection. I’m a hard worker and a hard runner. I never give up and I love the challenges of an up-tempo game.

"I’ve been playing football since the fourth grade so it's a process I'm very familiar with. Why did I choose football over other sports? Easy, my mom said I couldn’t play.

"I played football and hockey as a little kid. Anything with contact was appealing to me. But as time went by I realized my real enjoyment came from football. Also there was the rebellious kid factor. There’s no better way to make something appealing than when a parent says you shouldn’t do it. Eventually my mom came around and it was all good. I think she really enjoyed going to my games.

"Draft weekend wasn’t discouraging. I’d had tryouts prior to draft weekend and I felt fairly confident that even if I wasn’t picked, I'd be getting some calls right after the draft was done. The important thing during the process was to stay relaxed and open minded. It all turns out eventually. No matter when that call comes, whether it's during draft weekend or right after, you are really excited that somebody has interest in you and wants you to join their team.

"I’m originally from California though I grew up in the Aurora-St. Charles area. I never had a favorite NFL team as a kid but when the Bears contacted me I knew right away it would be a perfect fit. I respect the history of the team. The fact that I’ll be working here in the Chicago area where my friends and family live makes it that much better. I'm really excited and grateful to be here now. It's a best-case scenario. Also, I have a pretty strong feeling that I’ll be hearing from a lot of friends who will be in Soldier Field on game day."

06-06-2017 10:51 AM
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Teamduh Offline
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RE: Chicago Bears Rookie Diary: RB Joel Bouagnon
"I think I showed the Bears my patience with my play, my ability to run and my blocking. "

Joel gets it and why he has a chance at the next level. Sure there were faster, homerun hitters on the team but he understood what the coaches needed him to do and what was best for the team. I hope this year's RBs learned from watching him lead last year.

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06-06-2017 02:21 PM
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NIU007 Online

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RE: Chicago Bears Rookie Diary: RB Joel Bouagnon
Unless he's a fullback, being able to block won't be enough though.
06-06-2017 10:03 PM
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thetachihuskie Offline
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RE: Chicago Bears Rookie Diary: RB Joel Bouagnon
Fullback would be a logical conclusion for his future playing days.
06-07-2017 01:12 PM
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epasnoopy Offline
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RE: Chicago Bears Rookie Diary: RB Joel Bouagnon
(06-06-2017 10:03 PM)NIU007 Wrote:  Unless he's a fullback, being able to block won't be enough though.

Right, he wasn't fast enough at the college level to beat defenders so probably won't be fast enough in the NFL.
06-07-2017 02:58 PM
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