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2012 RB Rankings

April 10, 2012

Running Back

Prototype in the NFL: Adrian Peterson

Best In Class

Best Pure Speed: Lamar Miller                        Best Inside Runner: Trent Richardson

Best Pass Blocker: Trent Richardson             Best Open Field Runner: David Wilson

Best Pass Catcher: Chris Rainey                     Best Vision: LaMichael James

Best Burst: David Wilson                                  Best Goal Line Runner: Trent Richardson

1. Trent RichardsonAlabama #3 5’9 ¼ 228 Jr.

Comparison: A mixture of Emmitt Smith and Ricky Williams

Background: Backup RB in 2009 as true freshman earning SEC Freshman Team. Had 109 yds in BCS Championship Game vs.Texas. In 2010 he missed 2 games due to sprained knee. In 2011 he won the Doak Walker Award, 1st team All American, 1st team SEC, and finished 3rd in Heisman voting behindGriffin and Luck.Richardson has 2 daughters 3 and 5 years old but did not marry and currently isn’t living with the woman.

Stats: SEC, 540 carries

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011

1679

5.9

21

29

338

3

 

2010

700

6.3

6

23

266

4

 

2007

751

5.2

8

16

126

0

 

Combine: Decided against performing any drills.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5092

228

 

9.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

51.8

Pro Day: 3/29 (Some are saying 4.48 but most are saying 4.58 40)

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5101

227

 

 

 4.58

25 

 

 

 

 

NA

Notes: Was ESPN #1 ranked RB and was the “has been the most productive back in Orlando. His great hands out of the backfield have surprised me. He’s also lived up to his ability to bounce off initial contact.” His game film looks impressive as he seems to not just have great speed and quickness but a nasty running style that could gain him fans and maybe injuries. #6 in ESPN 150 for ’09. Was clearly the best RB for Alabama in 2010 which is saying a lot as his counterpart was Mark Ingram who was a 1st round pick and had been coming off a Heisman trophy winning campaign. Yet the tape and the numbers don’t lie as Richardson had 6.3 ypc vs. Ingram’s 5.5 and was the stronger, faster back of the two. When I watch Richardson I see an uber athlete comparable to Adrian Peterson, who actually has superior run instincts and body lean to Peterson who has runs upright. Very nice catch on an out and up route from the backfield in the 2011 Alabama Spring Practice, catching a ball on the run with his hands. Going into 2011 Richardson is my pick for the Heisman with Luck 2nd and Weedon a distant 3rd. Enters the 2011 season ranked #4 on my Big Board only behind Luck, Mike Adams, and Blackmon. In the 2011 Penn St. game he showed his strength immediately getting whalloped by a DT as he got the handoff yet somehow breaking the tackle for a few yards (7:24 1st), showed a good but not elite burst on 22 yd stretch play but did show impressive vision, cutting ability, and strength breaking tackles and dragging tacklers the final few yards (12:02 2nd), good strength and balance getting hit in the flat on a short pass on 3rd and 2 but staying up long enough to get 7 yards and the 1st (2:00 2nd), good nose for the end zone bouncing around tacklers and OL alike with little room he still was able to get in for a 3 yd TD (0:25 2nd), poor cut block on DE who hurdled it and batted ball in the air on 3rd down for a punt (13:46 3rd), good pass block hitting LB up high and not being pushed back (8:42 3rd), and gashed a tired Penn St. defense for a 13 yd TD running right through S Nick Sukay’s tackle (6:15 4th). He was still the physical specimen I remember him as but his lack of elite burst was noticeable in this game and makes me consider downgrading him out of the top 10. His vision, quickness, and pure power still guarantee a 1st round grade but without the Peterson or McFadden burst I question his top 10 pedigree right now 9/20/11. Went to same HS as Emmitt Smith. Tattoo on his right arm is of his mom and left arm is of grandmother. In the 2011 Florida game he showed his elite power in the 1st Q breaking numerous tackles against the smaller, faster Florida D. Had a great 6 yd run on inside run where most RBs would get 2-3 yds as he bullied through the hole then dragged a tackler and extended ball as he was falling (3:04 1st), nice vision cutting back on 6 yd TD run again getting through where there was little room (0:55 1st),  dropped easy screen pass. Going into the 2011 Auburn game he had 1 fumble in past 583 touches, had a 5 yd TD on short out from backfield showing only average speed and hands (9:13 2nd), dropped easy catch on drop off across the middle-has poor hands, had a great 40 yd run down sideline showing a good burst but again lacking the deep speed to take it the distance (13:35 3rd), showed his elite power getting hit and gang tackled yet moving the pile 8 yds before falling down!-announcer compared it to an Earl Campbell type run (11:45 3rd), had an elite run bursting through big hole to reach sideline then cutting on dime and shoving safety out of bounds then juking a defender and cutting back inside showing good speed to get the final 30 yds for a 57 yd run-again though caught from behind showing everything you want in a back except breakaway speed (8:10 4th). In the 2011 LSU game #2 he had a nice jump cut avoiding defender but just nicked to dive fro 4 yds on 3rd and 5, good cut and vision on 5 yd run, elite pad level and power on 6 yd inside run, good stutter step and vision getting 20 yd run breaking it outside from inside run, great 34 yd TD run starting inside then breaking it outside and racing down the sideline to cap the title run going up 22-0 (4:40 4th). Top 10 1/18/12.

Tape: 2011 Alabama Spring Practice,Penn St.,Auburn,Florida, LSU #1, LSU #2 2010: Bowl Game vs.Michigan St.,Auburn

Overall: Richardson is similar to Mark Barron and Peter Konz in that I’ve had them rated as the #1 player at their position the past 2 years. That consistency is impressive at any position let alone running back where injuries are such a part of the game and either knock out players or reduce their effectiveness. WhenRichardson came out of HS as the #1 RB (#2 on some boards behind Bryce Brown) I loved his game but was worried about the potential for injury with his extremely physical style. Yet after 3 years of college that concern appears to be irrelevant as he only missed 2 games due to injury, despite a workhorse role, and looks the part of a future Pro Bowl RB. He has elite strength and lower body power with the only RB I can compare him to from college being Ricky Williams with his freakish thick thighs.Richardson though could be considered more powerful than even Ricky as he’s shorter and seems to relish the weight room a bit more withAlabama’s trainers forcing him to stop adding weight to his bench press (465 lbs), squats (600 lbs), and power clean (365 lbs). Also unlike Ricky who had great power but a bit of fat on him as well,Richardson is 228 lbs on only 6% body fat. That dedication in the weight room is seen in other parts of his game as he’s an incredibly polished runner with good hands, quick feet, and natural vision to go along with a ferocity and hunger that is rare to see in such a talented back. His overall power as a runner is one of the best I’ve ever graded and is his hallmark as he has the rare ability to break tackles and move the pile against even the best defenders. In the two LSU games this year he went up against a defense full of NFL talent yet even in those matchups it was rare to see him taken down by one defender. He’s a true inside runner that will force defenses to commit defenders in this area and will give his team’s passing game a huge lift as it will open up single coverage for them on the outside. Yet he isn’t just about power as he’s shown good hands and solid speed (the reports that he has run a low 4.4 seem exaggerated both from his game film and his pro day workout as he has good speed but isn’t a burner I at times hear him called) making him a solid pass catcher out of the backfield and will surely be a 3 down back as he’s the best pass blocking RB in this draft. This is a very underrated skill as it often keeps players off the field as rookies and his ability to not just cut a rusher but stay strong and meet him high without being pushed back is elite. Also, while I think his speed is a bit overrated, his quickness is top notch as is his cutting ability with the 57 yd run vs.Auburn being all the proof a scout needs that he can juke defenders in the open field with the best of them. Trent Richardson is that rare specimen that has the speed and quickness to turn the edge and make big runs yet also the power and yards after contact ability to churn out the tough yards and be a beast in the red zone. Add to that his elite work ethic, his leadership skills, and his production the past 3 years for the best program in the nation in the best conference in the nation and you get one of the greatest RBs I’ve ever graded. Richardson’s only red flags are a burst that is only above average, long speed that is below average (plays at a 4.55 type speed), the fact that his bruising style could someday catch up to him and shorten his career, and that he has 3 and 5 year old daughters with another woman who he isn’t married too or even seeing right now. Overall though I have no doubt thatTrent will step in and immediately be a Top 5 running back in the NFL as he reminds me of a taller, more athletic Maurice Jones-Drew who I regard as the 2nd best RB in the NFL right now. That’s high praise and deserving as his power is elite, his ball security is elite, his weight room numbers are elite, his production is elite, his quickness is above average, and his burst is above average. He’s the 2nd best RB I’ve graded in my 14 years of grading the NFL Draft just behind Ricky Williams and ahead of Darren McFadden and Adrian Peterson. As you can see the top 3 RBs I’ve ever graded have all been to the Pro Bowl and I expect that to continue with Richardson joining that trio as I think he’ll be ROY and, though he might lack the speed to make the long TD runs like McFadden and Peterson, he could challenge Emmitt Smith as the greatest red zone RB of all time as in the right offense he could score 25-30 TDs in a year. The extremely rare RB who gets a Top 5 Grade from me as my #1 RB in the 2012 NFL Draft 4/6/12.

2. David Wilson Virginia Tech 5’9 5/8 206 Jr.

Background: #49 in ESPN 150 for ’09. 2nd team All American in 2011. Has a cool trick where he can do up to 10 backflips in a row showing elite dexterity. Is an energetic, hard working practice player.

Stats: ACC, 462 carries

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011

1709

5.9

9

22

129

1

5

2010

619

5.5

5

15

234

4

 

2009

334

5.7

4

0

0

0

 

Combine: Had an incredibly fast start and a solid overall 40 (4.49 official-4.40 unofficial) but a bit disappointing as I thought he was a 4.3 type guy on film. Very good on inside run dummy drill. Solid hands on flare out route drill. Very smooth then toe tapped on corner route drill-one of the best in drill. Very good speed and easy catch over his head on wheel route drill-best in drill. Good in flat route drill. Dropped first ball and it got him out of rhythm in shuttle gauntlet drill-worst in drill which is surprising as he’s been great everywhere else. I was disappointed in his 40 time but overall he showed elite athleticism ending with the #1 vertical and broad jump out of the 29 RBs, 6th in the 40, 3rd in the shuttle, and 10th in the 3 cone showing a great combination of speed, quickness, and explosion.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5095

206

30.25

9.38

4.49

 

41

1100

4.12

7.09

91.2

Notes: Soph elite speed guy who will be a change of pace in ’10. Incredibly fast player who was 2nd in nation in rushing going into GA Tech game. Took KR in ’10 vs. Georgia Tech that was the winning score. In the 2011 Georgia Tech game had very poor pad level on inside run getting clocked in the hole on a very normal run that he should have handled better (13:06 1st), same thing 1 play later, showed nice strength twisting and spinning away from tackler after 4 yds to get 14 (0:48 1st), broke tackle after 3 then zoomed down sideline for 25 getting hammered at end of play-I do worry about the fact he seems to take a lot of big hits (7:00 2nd), outstanding speed on 13 yd inside run as there was a hole but most get 5-7 on that play (5:41 2nd), had to adjust to poorly thrown ball in flat but ball still hit him right in hands and he dropped it, tied up in pile on short run and temporarily had ball stripped but he regained it at least to jump ball status to keep possession (10:00 3rd), fumbled after barely getting hit on inside run (7:26 3rd), hit hard in backfield but broke flying tackle and switched fields turning a -5 into a +5 (2:53 3rd), elite 43 yd run showing great speed down the sideline then power breaking a tackle for the final 15 keeping his legs churning the entire time, elite juke in the hole after 10 to pickup another 20 on a +30 yd run that had it all burst, vision, and quickness (5:47 4th). I was expecting a speedy, weak track type RB yet instead saw a speedy, powerful back who keeps his legs moving, has good jukes, quickness, and vision. I will need to see more of him to verify this grade but right now he looks like a 2nd rounder and possibly could sneak into the late 1st. Broke Ryan Williams single season rushing record. In the 2011 Michigan game he had an elite 2 yd run on 2nd and 2 breaking a DL tackle in backfield then plowing into another defender pushing him forward for the final yard (10:45 1st), great 12 yd run showing very good speed on option that he had to catch with his fingertips as it was a little ahead of him, horrible decision getting off tackle blocked and circling around for 22 yd loss!-Va Tech was 116th in run plays for negative yardage so he is very much a boom/bust runner (8:45 1st), elite 38 yd run showing the talent he has when he gets in the open field as he took the pitch on the option and raced down the sideline juked a defender then cut it inside for the final 15 yds-will be one of the 5 fastest RBs in the NFL when he joins the league (9:40 2nd), elite speed for 10 yds on off tackle that didn’t look promising at all-his burst surprises me it’s so rare, solid strength on 4 yd inside run, no juke on dump off in flat-hit hard, good strength moving pile 2 yds, good speed on 13 yd run, big hit taken by NT on goal line run-he gets hit hard so regularly I fear he’ll be injury prone, great 8 yd run with no hole on right reversing field and breaking an ankle tackle in backfield then shooting through hole for gain (3:50 4th). He’s a tough RB to grade as he has elite long speed and an elite burst to go along with underrated strength. Yet he doesn’t have good pad level, goes for the homerun too much, and could be injury prone in the NFL as he gets clobbered a few times a game every time I scout him. His talent and potential though make up for his deficiencies so while they weigh him down he’s still a 1st rounder. Mid 1st 1/5/12.

Tape: 2011: Georgia Tech, Michigan 2010: Stanford

Overall: David Wilson potentially could be the best RB to come out of this draft. There I said it. Everyone is currently having a love fest with Trent Richardson, and with good reason as his power and ability to break tackles is elite, yet Wilson’s speed, burst, and vision are elite making me think that the difference between the two is much smaller than most believe. They’re extremely different runners so it’s like comparing apples to oranges but Wilson is faster, has a better burst, and will be better in the passing game so it wouldn’t shock me if 5 years from now Wilson not Richardson was regarded as the #1 RB from this draft. That’s high praise and you won’t find it anywhere else as I’ve been obsessed with Wilson’s potential for awhile now and think, even with Mayock and others starting to mention him as a late 1st rounder, he’s a steal that many people still don’t understand. The biggest thing they don’t understand is that he’s not a 4.49 40 guy. Most RBs would be quite happy with that time he put up at the Combine but just put on a highlight reel of his and it’s obvious that he plays like a 4.3 guy. Another thing to keep in mind is that he doesn’t run like a 206 lb back as he has very underrated strength that pops out in every game I’ve scouted of his as countless times he breaks a tackle not just with his jukes but with his raw strength. I’ve already compared one RB in this draft class to Cadillac Williams (Isaiah Pead) but Wilson has a little Caddy in him too as he’s so aggressive and runs with a recklessness that inspires a team. Unfortunately that’s why Wilson maxes out as a Top 15 player while Richardson is bordering on Top 5 status as I do worry about him being injury prone. He stayed upright all 13 games this season despite being used like a true workhorse (290 carries) yet he seems to have Ed McCaffrey disease as he takes vicious hits on a regular basis. Part of it’s because of his reckless style and part of it is because at 206 lbs he doesn’t have too terribly much to cushion a blow. David Wilson is a leader, a great practice player, has an elite burst, good vision, top end long speed to take it the distance, has been a dynamic kick returner, has great hands, and was one of the most dynamic and productive players in the country last year. He doesn’t go higher than a Top 15 grade due to his possible injury prone nature and his fumbles this year which aren’t terrible on a per carry basis (was 9th in the nation in rushing attempts so his 5 carries don’t seem as bad) but still hurts him as I’m very much against running backs that fumble. He’s a guy who will probably go in the late 1st/early 2nd but looks like a future Pro Bowl RB and a guy who could giveRichardson a run for his money in terms of best RB from the 2012 Draft. Top 15 as my #2 RB 4/4/12.

3. LaMichael James Oregon #21 5’8 194 Jr.

Comparison: Ray Rice

Background: Redshirted in ’08. 2nd team Pac-10 in ’09 despite being a backup initially to LeGarrette Blount. 1st team Pac-10 and All American in ’10 being 3rd in Heisman vote. 1st team Pac-10 and 2nd team All American in 2011. Missed season opener after pleading guilty to misdemeanor harassment charge (4 other charges dropped) in incident with his girlfriend.

Stats: Pac-10, 771 carries

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011

1805

7.3

18

17

210

1

 

2010

1731

5.9

21

17

208

3

 

2009

1546

6.7

14

17

168

0

 

Combine: Good 40 time (4.45) looking very fast. 4.37 40 unofficial on both his attempts. Very nice hands on flare out route drill-2nd best in drill. Good hands again on arrow route drill. Solid on corner route drill. Good extended hands catch in flat route drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5080

194

30.25

9

4.45

15

35

1003

4.12

6.88

78.8

Notes: Replaced LeGarret Blount after his incident and has been absolutely dominant early on as Oregon has salvaged it’s season. Had a great game vs. Utah in their upset win (152 1 TD 5.6 ypc) then followed it up with another dominant performance in another upset win of a top 10 team, this time against Cal (118 1 TD 5.6 ypc). Finished 3rd in the Heisman vote after having an outstanding Soph year in ’10 (1,682 6.0 ypc 21 TD) but didn’t contribute too much in the passing game (13 169 1). His numbers are even more impressive as he missed the first game of the year after being suspended for pleading guilty to a charge of harassment by his ex-girlfriend. His impressive numbers each of the past two years get an even bigger boost when seeing how good LeGarrette Blount did as a rookie with the Bucs in 2010 as everyone saw how much more talented James was when they were sharing duties in 2009. I do worry a bit about his decline in ypc from 6.7 to 5.9 as a similar thing occurred 4 straight years with Noel Devine at West Virginia and their body style is unnervingly similar as well. James will need to go to the right offense and be used correctly but I see Pro Bowl potential from him as a regular back and not just as a 3rd down or change of pace type like some might suggest due to his size. Goes into 2011 as my #13 player and my #2 RB only behind Trent Richardson. Handles kickoffs for Oregon as well. In the 2011 LSU game had a nice 4 yd gain showing his possible abilities as an inside runner at the next level as he juked a guy in the hole then jumped over a DL diving for an extra few yards (7:38 1st), showed good speed on his 12 yd shovel pass (6:45 1st), nice 4 yard run switching fields and going all the way across the defense showing good speed (12:45 2nd), showed his elite quickness on a 12 yd run where he darted between OL being pushed by LSU DL backwards yet also shows his lack of elite speed as he had a longer run but was caught by S Brandon Taylor (8:05 2nd),  good 6 yd TD run setting up his blocks perfectly to run in untouched (5:20 2nd), injured his ankle when DE Barkevious Mingo crashed down the line and hit him for TFL(0:37 2nd), and a very good 16 yd screen pass breaking one tackle and then showing good speed (12:17 4th). In the 2011 Stanford game he had a number of huge runs showing improved strength on inside runs as well as the speed, quickness, and jukes in open space but did have a could be costly fumble on a PR (11:10 3rd), showed his underrated strength and vision on inside runs on 4 yd TD avoiding DT in backfield, making a hard cut downhill and powering in from the 2 yd line-knee down at half yd line (14:20 4th). In the 2011 Wisconsin game (Rose Bowl) he had very nice 20 yd run showing good but not great speed yet good vision and ability to sneak through hole (10:50 1st), 4 yd inside run, dropped high pass on RB screen-catchable, good spin move in hole on inside run getting 5 when most get 1-2, good quickness and vision cutting inside run outside for final 15 on 25 yd run (3:15 2nd), looked for sure caught for 1 yd loss but slipped free diving for 5 yds-very slippery, slipped by another few tacklers on way to 18 yd weaving run, nice cut on inside run getting 18 on quick run-elite cut and vision (0:30 3rd), fumbled ball at end of inside run for no gain, nice dive on 3rd and 1 getting 2 yds on inside run. He’s known as this fast, big play threat but he’s really a short, quick, slippery back with elite vision and lateral quickness. Those things set up his big runs but in the NFL he probably will be caught from behind as I expect him to run a mid 4.4-hardly jaw dropping. Still though I think his strength, vision, quickness, and ability to slip by defenders makes him a very underrated inside runner and I have him as a 2nd rounder 1/11/12.

Tape: 2011: LSU,Arizona St., Stanford, UCLA,Wisconsin

Overall: For as much press and exposure LaMichael has gotten he sure is a misunderstood player. Everyone has this impression of him as a speedy scat back but his game is much more about lateral quickness, cutting ability, vision, and his innate ability to set up blockers. If I had one word to describe him it wouldn’t be fast (I correctly called his mid 4.4 40 time which is good but hardly elite) but slippery. So often on tape he gets into the hole and a slight juke or cut allows him to avoid a defender who had him dead to right and is a skill that is makes me think he’l be a far superior inside runner than people give him credit for. Yet don’t get me wrong his abilities will best be used in space so it was exciting to see him look so smooth and effortless in his route running and catching (plucked it like a veteran WR) at the Combine. LaMichael looks to me to be a 3 down back who won’t be great at short yardage situations but solid enough to leave on the field. Even if a team pairs him with a bigger back it’s likely James will only be taken out for these situations as he’s very durable and has an efficiency statistically that is rare. While many compare him to a scat back like Darren Sproles I compare him to a smaller workhorse back like Ray Rice and I think the comparison is apt. Rice was 5’8 199 and ran a 4.42 40 at the Combine in 2008. James is 5’8 194 and ran a 4.45 40 at the Combine this year. Rice in 3 years atRutgers had 4,926 yds 49 TDs and a ypc between 5.3 and 5.7 in that span. James in 3 years atOregon had 5,082 yds 53 TDs and a ypc between 5.9 and 7.3 in that span. They both are smaller backs who showed workhorse ability in college, NFL athleticism at the Combine, yet both were considered too small to continue that role in the NFL. Rice went in the 2nd round and proved the doubters wrong and James is graded right now as a 2nd-3rd rounder who I also think will prove the doubters wrong. Surprisingly I think James is one of the more underrated players in this draft as I see a future Pro Bowler who is far more versatile and durable than people give him credit for. Future Pro Bowler with workhorse abilities to go along with elite vision, productivity, and quickness. Late 1st round as my #3 RB 3/22/12.

4. Lamar MillerMiami #6 5’10 ¾ 212 Soph

Comparison: Laurence Maroney

Stats: ACC, 335 carries

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011

1272

5.6

9

17

85

1

 

2010

646

6.0

6

11

96

0

 

Combine: Didn’t do any of the position drills after running the fastest official 40 time among the 29 RBs (4.40).

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5106

212

31.38

9.25

4.40

 

33

 

 

 

65.3

Notes: Parade All American in HS with 1,749 yds and 22 TDs as a senior. Redshirted as a freshman in ’09. Has good vision and a smoothness about his running but doesn’t look overly fast or strong. In the 2011 Maryland game he broke a tackle at the LOS to get 11 yds (6:34 1st), good kickoff return to the 43 yd line yet again didn’t show very good speed (12:45 2nd), showed really good speed running straight through their defense for a 41 yd TD run (4:04 2nd), showed very good speed again on cutback run for 20 yards as I guess he has sneaky speed since he went from slow in my eyes to pretty fast-run came back on hold (0:33 2nd), good 14 yd carry showing his good pad level and quick feet as he kept slightly shifting making defenders either miss or bounce off him (11:45 4th), broke tackle of LB Darin Drakeford for 12 yard gain as he is pretty strong (8:14 4th), and good speed to turn the corner on the off tackle run for 7 yards but again was a hold (5:40). He is a difficult player to grade as he is sneaky fast and doesn’t seem to have a noticeable “extra gear” but he is smooth running the ball, is strong, and has good vision making me very intrigued by him 9/8/11. In the 2011 Boston College game he had a 7 yd loss on end around unable to shake LB Luke Kuehly, great long speed on 79 yd run with only CB Donnie Fletcher gaining on him but still able to make it (4:55 1st), smooth 24 yd run as he runs so effortlessly and smoothly that you don’t realize he is going fast until he beats a LB with an angle to the sidelines like he did here, elite 2 yd run as a CB was flying at him when he got handoff and if tackled would have been safety yet he juked him in backfield and got a positive gain out of it (3:40 3rd), solid strength breaking tackle then off to the races again getting +50 yd run barely being tripped up at 25 yd line but came back due to hold (14:30 4th). Turns 21 days before the 2012 NFL Draft. In 6 of his 12 games he had a +30 yd run with 5 of those 6 being for +40 and 3 of those 6 being for +50. He has legit game breaking ability as shown by his 4.40 40. Yet it’s a bit of a catch 22 as if you take out his 6 longest runs of the season his ypc drops to 4.3 which is very poor.        

Tape: 2011:Maryland,BostonCollege, Clemson

Overall: Miller and LaMichael James have been the two toughest RBs to grade in this draft as they flash stardom but have red flags that a team has to work through. With James I became comfortable with his lack of size yet with Miller I’m still unsure of him even as I finish up my rankings. Normally I’m unsure due to a lack of familiarity with a prospect but I watched 3 of his games, scouted 2 of them, and then saw another couple via You Tube clips yet still am unsure about him. The reason is because I’m unsure if the holes that I think are in his game are actually there or just appear to be there b/c of how Miami used him in 2011. What’s obvious is that Lamar Miller has legit wheels and should have a slew of big plays in the NFL. He ran a 4.40 40 at the Combine verifying it for scouts but all you have to do is put on one of his games and it’s likely he had a long run somewhere in there as in 6 of his 12 games this year he had a +30 yd run. Unfortunately most of his game film is either feast or famine as if you take out his 6 longest runs for the year his ypc drops from 5.6 to 4.3, going from good to bad. That might seem unfair but no other RBs in this draft have their ypc so intertwined with their big runs that taking them away affects them like it does Lamar. He’s truly a feast or famine player that has a lot of film of him easily being taken down for a TFL or short gain as he always sought the big play, sometimes to the detriment of the team. He also doesn’t seem to be the toughest runner, there is some footage (Clemson in particular) where he ran with authority and lowered his shoulder for extra yards but it’s a rarity, and I worry that Miami knew this and played him accordingly as he almost never was in on short yardage or goal line runs. Of his 9 rushing TDs, a lower number in itself for a top back, 7 were from outside the red zone (on an average run of 42.1 yards) and only 2 were from inside the 20 (average run of 3 yards). Miami essentially demoted him to 2nd string once the offense moved into the red zone as Mike James took over and racked up 7 TDs himself, almost solely from inside the red zone. This worries me as he doesn’t seem tough from his tape, he left school after only his Soph year, and the fact that Miami didn’t trust him in the red zone all make it look like he’s a finesse runner. It doesn’t help that his running style reminds me of Laurence Maroney who was great at Minnesota but a huge bust in the NFL due to his inability to pick up the tough yards inside and his injury prone nature. Miller doesn’t seem to have any injury issues to deal with but he does have Maroney’s softness that concerns me. I will admit that I’m still unsure of how good Miller is as some will say he has a great burst, good vision, made big plays against good and bad defenses, and shows a smoothness to his running that is rare. Others will say he struggles running inside, gets arm tackled regularly, isn’t extremely shifty (more a cut and go type), and is completely inexperienced as a pass blocker or pass catcher (only 28 career receptions) making it likely he’ll be a 2 down back and taken out in the red zone. The reality is that both opinions will be correct initially and the one that’s correct long term will be whether Miller improves over time and becomes a complete back or settles for a Tatum Bell style role as a backup RB who never gets a sniff once in the red zone. 2nd round as my #4 RB who has Pro Bowl potential but the potential to be a pretty big bust as well 4/8/12.

5. Cyrus Gray Texas A&M #32 5’10 3/8 206 Sr.

Comparison: LeSean McCoy

Background: Backup RB as true freshman in ’08. 9/13 in ’09 earning Honorable Mention Big 12. 7/13 in ’10 again earning Honorable Mention Big 12. 2nd team Big 12 in ’11.

Stats: Big 12, 632 carries

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2011

1045

5.3

12

31

239

3

 

2010

1133

5.7

12

34

251

1

 

2009

757

4.8

5

28

226

8.1

 

2008

363

4.8

1

10

60

6.0

 

Combine: HS teammate of Von Miller. Had a very good 40 (4.47) putting to rest those ludicrous doubts that he wasn’t very fast. Hit a bag but ultra quick in pad step drill. Very quick on inside run dummy drill-he goes after Gannaway and it’s night and day between the two. Solid catch on ball behind him on flare out route drill. Good on arrow route drill. Couldn’t locate ball on corner route drill. Solid in flat route drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5103

206

29.5

9.13

4.47

21

32.5

906

 

 

67.4

Notes: #5 ranked RB ’08 HS class (4 star recruit). Had 363 1TD 4.8 ypc in ’08 in an okay year considering everything that occurred in the 4-8 campaign. Very humble guy per Darryl Johnson. Doesn’t say a word on or off the field. Has elite vision, patience, and short area burst giving him all the makings of a between the tackles stud. In the ’10 Cotton Bowl vs. LSU had an NFL run as he avoided DT Drake Nevis in backfield on off tackle play then turned the corner outrunning LB Kelvin Sheppard and burst downfield near sidelines showing very good straight line speed (5:55 1st), good 14 yd TD throw on fake run showing good accuracy but a poor motion and arm strength (7:48 2nd), and had a good 5 yd gain breaking a DT’s tackle for extra yards (9:55 3rd). Ended the game with good numbers (100 5.0) and looked very good against an elite college D peppered with NFL prospects. Consistently beat MLB Kelvin Sheppard to the edge, broke DT’s tackles, and continued to show his elite vision. Gray went from a 5th round pick in ’09 to a 2nd round in ’10 as he really improved his speed in the offseason, adding a new dimension to his game which was previously based solely on inside running and elite vision. He is quickly becoming an elite back and a bonafide future NFL starter 1/25/11. Enters the 2011 season ranked #16 on my Big Board. In the 2011 SMU game had a nice 10 yd inside run cutting to daylight (8:30 1st), good 5 yd TD run getting hit at the 3 yd line but dragging the defender, plowing through another defender, and extending ball to the goal line (6:41 1st), great 6 yd run stiff arming a CB Kenneth Acker multiple times eventually tossing him to the turf as he stayed on his feet out of bounds (3:10 1st), nice 2 yd TD run following blockers showing great vision and patience in his running (2:18 1st), amazing 18 yd run where he showed his elite lateral quickness making a safety completely whiff on him with only a few feet of room to work with yet there was a holding call on the play (13:49 2nd), just an outstanding 9 yard run as he broke a tackle after 3 yds, was hit and held on to by 2 defenders after 5 yds yet spun, churned his legs, and stretched out for the full 9 yds showing his power and determination (7:48 2nd), made safety miss in the hole with short area quickness opening up the 35 yd run that would have been a TD but he was caught from behind (13:05 3rd), and fumbled ball in the red zone getting hit right on the ball yet luckily Fuller recovered (11:38 3rd). In the 2011 Oklahoma St. game had a sneaky 5 yd run getting hit at LOS yet spinning then diving just before his knee hit the ground to somehow create a 3rd and 1 (8:35 1st), avoided blitzer in backfield then strung play out on 3rd and 1 making a quick cut inside to get 4 yds with defenders all around him (8:22 1st), solid dive of 2 more yards at end of fast inside run for 8 (13:30 2nd), elite lateral quickness on this run for 11 yds juking sideways incredibly to avoid tackler (6:55 2nd), elite quickness on juke catching ball out of backfield and making the first defender look silly to get 10 yds on 3rd and 10 (6:00 4th). Late 2nd 1/18/12. I was glad to see Gray run a fast 40 at the Combine because there was talk that he wasn’t a fast player which just isn’t true. The 2010Texas game could prove that as he broke into the open field with 3 drafteable DBs (Williams and the 2 Browns) on the field and he outran them all. The theory made circles as Gray’s patented patience at times became too patient in 2011 and the coaches began starting Christine Michael in his play. That was unfortunate as theArkansas game probably was lost on Michael’s fumbles and Gray has seemed to provide the team with leadership and consistency that stats can’t quantify. The Aggies best wins came with Gray not Michael as the starter and focal point (6 game winning streak to end 2010 and early part of 2011).

Tape: 2011: SMU, Oklahoma St., Arkansas, Idaho, Texas Tech, Baylor, Iowa St., Kansas St., Texas, Northwestern 2010: LSU (Cotton Bowl)

Overall: I’ve scouted Gray more than probably any player in college football the past 2 years as I’ve watched 90% of their games and RB is a position that you can easily scout just by watching the game as they’re involved regularly. Gray has elite vision, elite quickness, good speed, good patience (possibly too much), and is a hard working professional who I think will be a very good RB at the next level. His ability to juke a player in a small space and the way he runs behind his pads reminds me of LeSean McCoy and while I don’t think he’ll probably be as productive of a pro I do think he has the chance to be a better pro than collegiate. Gray seemed to be in a time share his entire career and seemed to be taken out far too often at critical moments. If it weren’t for the fact that Christine Michael also has a high draft rating I would be worried but being forced to split carries with a future early round draft pick is hardly a red flat. Gray has +100 career receptions which puts him near the top of this draft class in terms of experience as a receiver out of the backfield and at the Combine he showed soft hands and good routes that show me he’s a future 3 down back just like McCoy. Gray isn’t the toughest inside runner and won’t be a big time pile mover but in the open field he is very tough to bring down and regularly dives or spins off a player for key additional yards. Going into this season most scouts had a late 1st round grade on Gray yet that grade has gone down a lot due to his stats being good but not great and b/c A&M’s season was such a disappointment as a whole. Yet Gray looks like a future very good starting RB who has no real holes and can be in on all 3 downs. Surprisingly Gray is beginning to look like one of the more underrated RBs in this draft and will be an outright steal if taken any later than the early 3rd round. 2nd round as my #5 RB 3/21/12.

6. Chris RaineyFlorida #1 5’8 3/8 180 Sr.

Comparison: CJ Spiller

Stats: SEC, 396 carries

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2011

861

5.0

2

31

381

2

6

2010

366

7.2

2

25

216

3

 

2009

575

6.5

5

10

161

1

 

2008

652

7.8

4

3

37

0

 

2007

10

10.0

0

0

0

0

0

Combine: 1st team SEC All Purpose. Surprisingly poor on inside run dummy drill. Very smooth on flare out route drill-best in drill. Very good adjustment and over the head catch on corner route drill-best in drill. Dropped easy ball on wheel route drill. Solid in flat route drill. Nice and day quicker thanPoole before him in shuttle gauntlet drill-best in drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5083

180

30.75

9.5

4.45

16

36.5

1000

3.93

6.5

90.7

Notes: Had an almost identical season with Jeff Demps in ’08 (652 4TD 7.8ypc) yet has been the less used back after 5 games (35 carries to 44) and Demps ypc is better (8.9 to 7.8). Still he has big play capability as well and should be a good 3rd down back at the next level, just not quite on Demps level. Suspended 5 games in 2010 for off field incident. Had running, receiving, and punt block return (not his block just his return) for TDs against Florida Atlantic. One of two fastest RBs Charlie Weis had ever coached in 32 years.  In the 2011 Tennessee game he showed his elite speed on a 20 yd RB screen where a DT was right next to him yet he still was able to make a huge gain out of it (14:50 1st), great 5 yd run with DT nearly hitting him upon handoff then two other DL attacking forcing a wide loop outside that he was able to make due to his elite speed-also had  a nice cut inside around LOS (5:07 1st), great speed on blocked punt sneaking behind blockers and just way too quick for last man to get to him to even touch him (14:45 2nd), slipped on PR after 13 yds otherwise might have been a TD as punter had been in his own end zone so it wasn’t a long one (10:30 2nd), speedy 12 yd run showing nice quickness and vision following blockers (4:46 2nd), one play after getting crumpled backwards on an inside run he took a short dump off pass 82 yds finding a seam and outrunning all of the secondary for a TD-top 5 fastest player in the NFL when he joins (8:20 3rd), solid strength on off tackle run getting another few yards after hitting CB (13:22 4th), this run really made me question his rep as nothing more than a scat back as he was hit and hit hard by a DT in the backfield yet stayed balanced and rolled wide left then got hit by another defender and stayed up eventually diving exhaustedly for 8 yds on what should have been -3-hurt his left shoulder on play but nothing serious (9:55 3rd). Rainey was always fast but he looks faster, quicker, and more decisive this year than I’ve ever seen him. It will be fun to watch him vs. the Alabama defense as a good showing could really move him up the rankings big time. He’s already a 3rd or 4th round talent as a scat back but if he can show durability and productivity vs. Alabama he could move up to the late 1st/early 2nd 9/30/11. In the 2011 LSU game he got killed early in the game with no room to run vs. their fast D and beat up on inside runs. Had arguably the best run of his career on a 30 yd run dodging 3 defenders near LOS then breaking out of small hole and shooting down the sidelines to show his world class speed outrunning everyone but CB Tyrann Mathieu who had an angle (4:01 1st), fumbled ball at end of short gain but recovered it himself, great 20 yd run on wildcat QB keeper read option speeding down sideline again showing his is even too fast for LSU (13:10 2nd), outstanding one handed catch of shovel pass to keep play alive for short gain, nice PR for about 8 yds making two defenders miss with his shiftiness (0:50 3rd). In the 2011 Alabama game he had a great 20 yd catch and run on dump off getting in pile of 3 defenders yet somehow bouncing around and staying up to spin off for the final 12 yds-NFL run (1:36 2nd). Rainey looked like a legit NFL back against both the Alabama and Florida defenses despite having an average QB and going against a D each time that was keying on him. These performances really make me think he has big time value as more than just a 3rd down back and puts a 4th round grade on him right now 10/19/11.  In the 2011 Florida St. game he had a great pass block pancaking the blitzing CB at the last second (14:16 2nd). In the 2011 Ohio St. game he had a nice catch out of the backfield showing elite speed and quickness for 8 yds (14:55 1st), solid speed and vision taking it outside for 8 yds after no hole on inside, solid 8 yd inside run showing strength but getting walloped at the end, blocked punt with teammate returning for TD-6th in career (11:14 3rd), great 2 yd run cutting in backfield to avoid one tackler then taking a direct hit and staying up to avoid another to make -2 into +2 (5:40 3rd), couldn’t catch dump off well over his head-terrible throw but catcheable. He again impressed me with his burst, quickness, and underrated strength looking superior to Dan Herron. 4th round 1/10/12. Senior Bowl: Day 2: 1×1: Great separation on wheel route vs. DE Jake Bequette but dropped it. Good separation vs. CB Janoris Jenkins who expected deep curl and only slightly caught up to him after big gainer, no separation vs. Jenkins on in route (borderline PI), small separation vs. CB Brandon Boykin on curl but came up with it showing toughness and good hands. 11×11: Good just bouncing run outside when LB shot gap and went for TFL getting 8 yds. Day 3: 1×1: No separation vs. CB Dwight Bentley but major PI on slant so hard to judge, jammed hard by CB Casey Heyward then he grabbed him to stay up and in the process got open on cross-weird play. 11×11: Great separation vs. Heyward on 9 route but couldn’t catch ball that was catchable but a bit outside causing awkward angle, very nice hands grabbing low ball on dump off with defender next to him. In the 2011 Senior Bowl Game: Had dropped WR screen in flat-ball tipped by DE, good speed on 6 yd reverse with nothing else there. In the 2011 Senior Bowl Game: Played WR most of the game, dropped tipped WR screen in flat, nothing special on KR to 20 yd line, nice speed and elusiveness on end around for 6 yds when little was there. Out of the 8 RBs (Rainey, Pead, Martin, Ballard, Gannaway, Polk, Creer, Herron, Morris) he finished #1 as he spread out wide at WR and beat Janoris Jenkins at times, then showed elite quickness and vision as a RB. In the right offense he could be special.

Tape: 2011:Tennessee, LSU,Alabama,Florida St.,OhioSt., Senior Bowl Practices and Game

Overall: I hope Rainey goes to the right team b/c in the perfect system he could be as good as Darren Sproles was this year for the New Orleans Saints. The moment he steps onto an NFL field as a rookie he’ll be one of the 10 fastest players in the NFL and unlike stiff straight line speed guys like Darrius Heyward-Bey, Torrey Smith, and others he has elite quickness making him comparable to DeSean Jackson in the open field. Yet that’s just in the open field and he’s far more versatile than that as his strength is very underrated (16 reps which was middle of the pack despite him being the lightest RB) and numerous times I saw him lower his shoulder and plow into a defender or break a tackle for an additional few yards. Obviously he’ll make his money on the outside in space but having just enough strength to run inside occasionally will keep the defense honest and allow him to stay on the field longer. Yet what really excites me about Rainey and has me giving him a higher grade than most is his versatility as he runs routes and plucks the ball better than most wideouts, he’s an electrifying punt returner, and he’s one of the best punt blockers in the country (6 career blocks). He’ll be a GM’s dream as he can be a PR, KR, punt blocker, slot receiver, and backup RB saving numerous roster spots in the process. Rainey is one of the more misunderstood players in this draft as he has a similar skill set to CJ Spiller and Reggie Bush who both were top 10 picks yet right now Chris is projected as a 4th or 5th rounder. Darren Sproles was one of the most valuable players in the NFL last year and Chris has the ability to be that and more due to his punt blocking skills. If put in the wrong system he’ll just be a 3rd down back and a PR yet if drafted for an innovative coach he could be one of the 20 best players to come out of this draft. Just like Darren Sproles was in 2005. Late 2nd round as my #6 RB 3/21/12.

7. Isaiah Pead Cincinnati #23 5’10 1/8 197 Sr.

Comparison: Less aggressive Cadillac Williams

Stats: Big East, 545 carries

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2011

1259

5.3

12

39

319

3

6

2010

1029

6.6

6

26

190

1

 

2009

806

6.7

9

20

201

2

 

2008

194

6.5

0

2

11

0

 

Combine: Solid on inside run dummy drill. Nice hands on flare out route drill. Average route but great hands on corner route drill. Solid on wheel route drill. Solid in flat route drill-has been a step below Rainey, James, Wilson, and Gray but in that next group on most drills.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5101

197

31

8.63

4.47

 

33

908

4.32

6.95

66.8

Notes: Is the team jokester taking a camera into the locker room for ESPN all access and being an open personality. Has a hightop haircut early 90’s style. Ran for +1,000 yds in back to back seasons. In the 2011 Rutgers game he showed me very good speed turning corner on toss left despite very average blocking getting 8 yds, has a choppy style of running and doesn’t have great pad level, good hard run and low pad level for 4 yds on 4th and 1 up the gut, good vision but average burst on 4 yd run against run blitz. Big East OPOY in 2011. In the 2011 Vanderbilt game he had a fumble on a very average hit on sweep right but ball went oob, nice burst on 10 yd run cutting back after limited hole on inside run-good vision, easily broke weak tackle by CB Casey Heyward getting 13, good burst on 17 yd run and broke tackle but showed his lack of elite burst or long speed as there was a hole to take it 50 (2:05 1st), best run of the day getting 15 on off tackle showing a good burst, vision, and quickness on the cut-he doesn’t have a suddenness to his cut like most but is just so smooth it takes awhile to realize he is stopping on a dime (8:40 2nd), no juke vs. CB on RB screen for TFL, bad late hit oob on PR but not called, showed potential as a 3rd down back getting 11 yds on RB screen from WR position juking a defender and cutting well plus breaking a tackle getting far more yards than most would (2:00 2nd), good pad level on 9 yd run-always falling forward, good speed on 11 yd draw, dropped wide open pass in flat, broke two tackles but tackled by 3rd for TFL-very tough to get down-hurt on play and went to locker room, elite run getting 9 yds when few get more than 1 as he broke a tackle at LOS with spin move then juked to avoid another and dove for the final 3 (11:00 4th), great 19 yd run cutting back to make defender miss then dragging defenders the final 5 yds-really finishes runs well (8:25 4th), great 15 yd run to get first and keep killing clock showing great patience on off tackle then getting to sideline and bursting upfield for most cutting back at the end for a few more (2:30 4th), great vision and cut to wide open lane for 12 yd TD-elite vision (1:55 4th). Is a tough, quick runner with good size, good burst, and great vision who isn’t elite physically but makes up for it with tough, smart running. He reminds me a lot of Kevin Smith for the Lions in that he doesn’t wow you but the more you watch him the more you pick up on all of the little things he does. He also has good hands and some jukes in the open field making it likely he could be an every down back. Far superior to Bernard Pierce to my eyes though they are very different backs. 3rd round 1/3/12. Very thin legs for a RB. Senior Bowl: Day 1: Nice jump cut on inside run, very nice jumpcut inside juking S Trenton Robinson in space on outside run. Day 2: 11×11: No separation vs. LB Bobby Wagner on short out. Day 3: Great move on inside route vs. LB Lavonte David for good separation-great quickness and suddenness on cut, no separation vs. David on wheel route. 11×11: Completely whiffed on DE Derek Wolfe’s blitz giving up sack. Broke Archie Griffen’s records in HS. Wanted to go to Ohio St. but not offered (born in Columbus). In the 2011 Senior Bowl Game: #3 RB, solid quickness on 5 yd inside run, good speed but only got small separation on wheel route vs. LB Keenan Robinson, miscom with QB on handoff-I think Pead went the wrong way, showed his only negative in that he took it up into a pile for no gain and was pushed back 5 yds-very little strength to move piles and get tough yards so will need to be handcuffed with a bigger short yardage back, great PR showing speed and vision taking it back 60 yds and would be longer for TD but his own guy (Jamell Fleming) tripped him when he went to make a late block (2:40 2nd), solid 7 yd catch and run on dump off, probably even better PR getting 38 yds and starting left then going back right to find blocks and shoot down sideline-did receive a big hit from CB Janoris Jenkins but bounced right back up (1:12 2nd), elite burst up middle then a great juke of CB Dwight Bentley to get an additional few yards on 9 yd run (7:48 4th), great 17 yd run showing a burst for the first 10 then vision to cut outside for more and power at the end to give a shot to a LB-he’s undersized but he’s all muscle though his skinny legs will keep him from getting too much YAC (3:01 4th), Herron had a run right after this and the difference in burst is so glaring! Is an incredibly nice, engaging kid as seen in his interview after selected MVP. His teammates also love him as they were cheering him more than anyone else when he made plays. Out of the 8 RBs (Rainey, Pead, Martin, Ballard, Gannaway, Polk, Creer, Herron, Morris) he finished #2 as he showed an elite burst to go along with good vision, good jukes, and underrated strength. His poor lower body means he likely won’t have much YAC but I’m not worried about him being injury prone as he’s only about 200 lbs but it’s all muscle.

Tape: 2011:Rutgers, Vanderbilt, Senior Bowl Practices and Game

Overall: Pead is a player who can do almost everything a team could ask of him but who lacks the body to stay healthy in that role. He’s a quick back with a good burst, good not great long speed, great vision, and a toughness and recklessness in his running style that reminds me of Cadillac Williams. He also has 87 career receptions, showed great hands at the Combine, and is very elusive in the open field so he should be a very good 3rd down back in the running game. Finally Pead showed at the Senior Bowl another aspect of his game that wasn’t on display at Cincinatti: his skills as a punt returner. He had a 60 yd and 38 yd punt return in the game but more importantly showed a comfort level back there with good hands and an innate ability to read the punt that probably made quite a few GMs comfortable with him as a possibility to be a PR for them next year.  Pead’s production is also interesting as 3 of his 4 seasons are of +6.0 ypc, all 4 of his seasons are +5.0 ypc, and his back to back seasons of +1,000 yds shows that durability shouldn’t be a huge issue. Pead can’t be used as a workhorse back yet few of those exist in today’s NFL anyways and as a 15-20 carry player I have no worries about his ability to last in a 16 game season. Yet Pead does have some holes to his game as he fumbles the ball a lot, with 5 fumbles in 2011, the year he had a career high in carries was also his least efficient year showing that while he doesn’t have injury concerns he could wear down by the end of an NFL season, and he has an extremely thin lower body which will reduce his ability to get yards after contact and could limit his effectiveness as a short yardage or goal line back. Pead looks like a highly talented, versatile RB who can do a lot of things but will need to be paired with another player, preferably who is a bigger back, who can take some carries away from him and keep him fresh. Used correctly Pead should be a very good RB as his burst, vision, jukes, and aggressive running style have set him apart from the competition no matter where I saw him at. He was effective against Big East defenses, SEC defenses (Tennessee in regular season, then Vanderbilt in the Liberty Bowl), and at the Senior Bowl. His lack of size and especially his thin lower body makes it necessary that he be paired with another back but on a per carry basis he’s one of the best in this draft and he’ll add receiving skills and return skills to a team. A versatile, underrated RB who barely stays in the late 2nd round despite lacking as a workhorse and ends as my #7 RB 4/4/12.

8. Doug Martin Boise St. #22 5’9 ¼ 215 Sr.

Comparison: Matt Forte

Stats: MWC, 617 carries

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2011

1299

4.9

16

28

255

2

 

2010

1260

6.3

12

28

338

2

 

2009

765

5.9

15

8

68

0

 

2008

107

4.5

0

3

54

0

 

Combine: Okay on inside run dummy drill. Solid hands on flare out route drill. Good cut on arrow route drill. Solid on corner route drill. Dropped easy ball in flat route drill. Dropped ball in shuttle gauntlet drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5092

223

30.5

9

4.55

28

36

1000

4.16

6.79

97.9

Notes: Had a solid ’09 (765 5.9 15 TD) and followed it up with a very good Jr. year in ’10 (1113 6.2 ypc 11 TD) as well as a dominating Las Vegas Bowl(147 8.6 1 TD) vs. a good D in Utah. Had a great 84 yard burst against Utah for a TD where he outran their entire secondary. Also showed great power breaking numerous tackles on inside runs as well as on an impressive pass out in the flat. Appears to be a complete back with strength and speed who I am a big fan of. 2nd or 3rd rounder as of 12/23/10. Enters the 2011 season ranked #37 on my Big Board. In the 2011 Georgia game had nice hands catch on awkward angle catching it while going the opposite way but hit immediately for 2 yd gain forcing punt on 3rd and 5 (9:45 1st), outstanding 9 yd run avoiding or breaking 3 tackles with the final one being a great spin move that I don’t know how he made him miss as he had no room to operate on the sideline (5:01 1st), smacked into S Shawn Williams knocking the breath out of defender and spinning for another few showing his power (4:50 1st), doesn’t show great burst but has enough to get corner on toss left then jukes and finally stiff arms CB Branden Smith for 7 yd TD run (11:04 3rd), great 15 yd catch and run taking short dump off then spinning off tackler for the last 7 (10:07 4th), great 4 yd run diving into defender at the sticks to push him back 2 yds for easy 1st on 3rd and 2 during clock killing 4th Q drive (7:03 4th). Had a 79 yd reception and a 51 yd run vs. Nevada showing outstanding explosiveness. In the 2011 Arizona St. game he had a 102 yd KR for a TD on the opening kickoff looking actually kind of slow on it (14:55 1st), nice burst on 4 yd gain with quick cut back, average speed but good vision on 10 yd run juking defender in space and taking it outside to sideline, broke tackle on LB in space on dump off pass getting 11 yds-isn’t fast but has a good burst, power, and shiftiness to break tackles and make defenders miss, nice 16 yd run showing very good quickness breaking tackle in backfield and bursting through hole-top notch run (14:40 2nd), great strength bursting 10 yds then dragging two defenders another 10 on the 20 yd run up the middle (13:46 2nd), nice spin move breaking LB Vontaze Burfict’s tackle in backfield for 6 yds, solid KR to 29 yd line getting final 5 after he bounced off hard hit, quick cut and hard drive on 4 yd inside run-just looks so comfortable on those inside runs, good 14 yd run cutting hard to outside on inside run getting tripped up barely not getting TD run as he was inches from breaking it (2:55 2nd), good burst on 10 yd run up middle, solid catch on low ball to him in flat then turned upfield for 5 yds, good burst on 11 yd catch and run on dump off looking comfortable catching ball (1:22 3rd), very nice 15 yd run breaking like tackle at LOS and bursting through hole in middle for the rest (6:50 4th), easy 3 yd TD getting hit but falling forward into end zone (2:35 4th). He isn’t a game breaker as he will probably run a poor 40 time at the combine and be called slow but he has great vision, good strength, good quickness, and a short area burst that is very noticeable. Most have him farther down than this but he’s an early 3rd rounder in my eyes 12/29/11. Played nickel back on defense early in his career b/c of a talented RB ahead of him but switched back when the back (DJ Harper) blew out his knee. Senior Bowl: Day 3: Average speed barely getting any separation vs. LB Audie Cole but made very smooth catch on wheel route. In the 2011 Senior Bowl Game: #2 RB, he took fake handoff then leveled DE Melvin Ingram on cut block, nice 12 yd handoff running behind his pads with a burst, great run getting hit in backfield by DT Jaye Howard but spinning off to get 5 instead of -3 (12:34 3rd), slight separation on wheel route vs. LB Keenan Robinson. Out of the 8 RBs (Rainey, Pead, Martin, Ballard, Gannaway, Polk, Creer, Herron, Morris) he finished #3 and should be called Mr. Underrated as everyone says he is. Not sure how much longer he can be if everyone keeps gushing about him but he’s a smooth runner with great vision, underrated quickness, and power as he’s a bigger back and runs behind his pads.

Tape: 2011:Georgia,Arizona St., TCU, Senior Bowl Practice and Game

Overall: If I had a penny for every time I heard Doug Martin called underrated I’d be a very rich man. It’s interesting how players sometimes swing from underrated to overrated in such a short time and I think the phenomenon has occurred with Martin. One of the biggest complements a scout can give a back is to say he’s a complete back and that’s exactly what Martin is as he has the frame (5’9 1/4 223), strength, and vision to be a workhorse back but also has underrated speed to break the long run, has solid hands to be a capable pass catcher, and is one of the better pass blocking backs in this draft. It’s true that he can do everything relatively well and that’s begun to grow on scouts as he’s been a good producer the past two years for Boise St., had a very good Senior Bowl, and finished it with a solid Combine where he showed okay speed (4.55 40) for a back his size but more impressively showed top notch explosion (’36 vertical, 10’00 broad) that I wasn’t expecting. Yet lately I’ve heard Martin get talk as a possible late 1st rounder and that’s when you know scouts have jumped the shark with him as Martin is not a 1st round back. What people fail to mention when they say he can do everything well is that Martin does nothing great. He broke some long runs in college but probably lacks the speed to do it in the NFL, most likely settling for 30 and 40 yarders instead of the 102 yd KR he had vs. Georgia or the 84 yd TD run he had vs. Utah. Also this lack of top end speed makes it unlikely he’ll be anything more than a serviceable pass threat out of the backfield as he rarely got separation vs. the top LBs at the Senior Bowl and doesn’t have the frame built for speed. Add in that he’s strong and can move the pile but doesn’t have elite strength or YAC ability like Trent Richardson and that his yards per carry average dropped noticeably (6.3 vs. 4.9) after Kellen Moore’s two top receivers left (Titus Young and Austin Pettis) as the defense could focus more on him and you get a player that looks to be a good, capable starter in the NFL but hardly a Pro Bowl back. Martin is a guy who can do everything well yet nothing great and should be a good, dependable starter in the NFL for a long time. That being said I don’t see Pro Bowl potential in him and think his ceiling is a bit limited so he settles in as an early 3rd rounder as my #8 RB who was underrated the past two years but is eerily close to now being overrated by many scouts 4/5/12.

9. Chris PolkWashington #1 5’10 ½ 215 Sr. (never applied for a redshirt)

Comparison: LaMontJordan

Stats: Pac-12, 799 carries

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2011

1488

5.1

12

31

332

4

 

2010

1415

5.4

9

22

180

0

 

2009

1113

4.9

5

25

171

0

 

2008

33

1.7

0

1

0

0

 

Combine: Only had 5 fumbles in his career. Average on inside run dummy drill. Looked very slow on corner route drill. Average on wheel route drill-has good hands but just looks slow and a 2 down back. Solid in shuttle gauntlet drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5104

215

31.5

9.75

4.57

 

31.5

903

4.21

7.13

73.6

Notes: In ’08 had 20 33 1.7 until injured for the year. Very fast player who looked faster than most of the LSU players he played against in the ’09 opener. Had a great start yet fumbled the ball near the goal line in the 1st Q to kill a key drive. Had a great Soph year in ’10 (1,415 5.4 9 TD including bowl win vs. Nebraska). That is a nice improvement over his very solid redshirt freshman year in ’09 (1,113 4.9 5 TD), especially his ypc. In the 2011 Stanford game made LB miss in flat on RB screen for 4 yds, very nice 46 yd TD run starting inside then showing vision to bounce outside, made defender miss by setting up WR block, and then got into open space and had no one nearby-doesn’t have great speed or burst but is above average in both (3:03 1st), solid 8 yd gain pushing for final 3 yds, good 62 yd TD getting into the open and just beating the CB with an angle to the end zone showing good speed-I would say it was partially poor speed on the CB though (13:46 2nd), solid 11 yd run on draw play showing vision and speed, very nice 9 yd gain showing solid burst to get 6 then squeezed through two defenders to somehow get the final 3 falling forward. Already has graduated. In the 2011 Baylor game he had solid hands and good strength on dump off attacking LB to plow ahead for final 3 on 5 yd catch and run, good separation on wheel route from LB but safety came over for pbu, solid speed on 15 yd draw with huge hole, separated again on wheel route forcing PI as they tackled him, 2 yd run on 4th and 1 plowing through defender at LOS-his strength is very noticeable on film, strong 5 yd run in red zone hitting two defenders hard, solid speed on 5 yd off tackle, determined 14 yd run getting caught in wash but emerging in open space then plowing through defender for extra 4 yds (2:50 2nd), very nice speed and vision on 56 yd run starting inside cutting left then eventually moving all the way to the right for the final 35 yds (0:40 2nd), unable to turn corner on off tackle, solid 4 yd inside run but fumbled on hit when tied up by another defender (8:45 3rd), 9 yd inside run, solid speed on 4 yd sweep right, barely missed breaking tackle on 0 route vs. off CB getting only 2, good strength on inside run getting hit but continuing to churn for final 3 on 7 yd run, huge run getting hit at LOS by LB on 4th and 1 and powering his way through for 3 yds (6:30 4th). He is a tall, strong, physical back with a good burst and solid long speed that has all the makings of a solid NFL starter. He likely will have a limited ceiling due to not having elite speed, burst, or jukes yet for a 220 lb back he has those qualities in good supply and will fit well into a normal offense that expects him to run most of his carries up the middle or a little outside the tackles. 3rd round 1/14/12. Hurt his knee and had scope 10 days before season opener but came back and had +100 yds in the game-very tough and wants to play. Senior Bowl: Day 2: Pancaked by LB Lavonte David on pass block drill. Day 3: Looked very slow on route vs. LB Bobby Wagner but hurt by his blatant PI-still looked slow and big, has looked slow all week and while the no hitting goes against his game which is based on power it still concerns me. In the 2011 Senior Bowl Game: Got the start at RB, 4 yds and pile of dust type run lowering head and getting final 2 yds vs. S Antonio Allen, not fast but nice feet and vision side stepping traffic to get 9 instead of 5 yds on inside run, no separation vs. LB Sam Acho on short dump off-his lack of speed could hurt him in the run game but for sure will make him only a 2 down back, 4 yds and a pile of dust with fumble at the end-lacks burst, slow out of backfield on route, terrible lack of agility falling down on short out, easily taken down for TFL by DT-hit right after handoff but still he fell down too easily. Out of the 8 RBs (Rainey, Pead, Martin, Ballard, Gannaway, Polk, Creer, Herron, Morris) he finished #6 and has to be considered one of the biggest disappointments as he’s a power back but his lack of burst or speed was noticeably in almost every drill and play.

Tape: 2011: Stanford, Baylor, Senior Bowl Practices and Game

Overall: Polk has really seen his stock drop during the “Underwear Olympics” as he’s a bigger back with a solid burst for his size but is a guy who looks downright slow next to an Isaiah Pead, LaMichael James, or Chris Rainey. His game is all about vision, strength, and just enough burst to make a guy move a bit in the hole so he can plow through his shoulder or arm instead of his chest. Yet there are question marks with Polk as his yards per carry maxed out at 5.4 (2010) for his career, he lacks top end speed or a great burst, and throughout this offseason (Senior Bowl, Combine) he looked slow. He looks to be a future 2 down back for a team that is run oriented and focus more on inside runs as I question if he’ll have the speed to turn the corner. He definitely has NFL skills and at times this season I flirted with giving him a 2nd round grade but there are also some major red flags for me and in the end they somewhat overwhelm him. I think he’ll be an average starting RB who can be a workhorse for a team but probably won’t be efficient enough for a team to really want him to be in that role. 2 down back whose a very good inside runner and little else. Late 3rd round as my #9 RB 3/21/12.

10. Bernard Pierce Temple #30 6’0 ¼ 218 Jr.

Comparison: Less athletic Eddie George

Stats:

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011

1481

5.4

27

3

52

0

 

2010

728

4.7

10

8

87

1

 

2009

1361

5.8

16

8

39

0

 

Combine: Poor job on inside run dummy drill. Very slow on wheel route drill. Very nice extended hands catch in shuttle gauntlet drill-was slow doing it but still a nice catch.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

6002

218

31.5

9.25

4.49

17

36.5

1003

4.28

7.07

97.9

Notes: Missed a game this year with a concussion. Changed his diet and worked harder in the weight room this year to be a better player late in the year unlike previous years when he wore down. Is the focal point of their tough, power running attack. In the 2011 Wyoming game he had a strong 4 yds pushing MLB final 2 yds on 4th and 1, 9 yd run up middle-is a tall kid and has long strides making him faster than he appears, two easy walk in TDs from a short ways out, great lower body strength allows him to move the pile and carry defenders, great run on 3rd and 1 avoiding or breaking 3 tackles at LOS showing his great lateral agility to get in space and pick up 10 yds-isn’t a very fast runner but that run right there showed he is more than just a N-S runner as he is tough to get down and has a little wiggle to him (11:30 2nd), has an Eddie George/Arian Foster style to him, nice stutter step and quick cut inside to freeze LBs on edge and get 8 yds inside. I’m impressed by a lot of what he does as he has good vision, nice lateral quickness, has power legs that make him always going forward, and his long stride gets him yards quicker than you expect. Yet he doesn’t have a great burst, has poor straight line long speed, it seems like he wasn’t the hardest worker up until this year, and his ypc is only average. I think he has the potential to be a quality workhorse back but lacks the burst of a Foster or the power of a George and just as easily could be a quality short yardage and change of pace back for a team. 4th round 12/17/11.

Tape: 2011:Wyoming

Overall: Bernard is an interesting RB who reminds me of a poor man’s Eddie George as he’s tall, has long strides, and is a bruiser who is the rare back that seems to get stronger as the game goes on. Due to this last attribute I think that worst case scenario he would be a quality short yardage back and “closer” type that gets the carries late in the 4th when there are 8 or 9 men in the box and every yard is a battle. Yet I’m extremely unsure if he’s anything more than this as he ran a great 40 (4.49) for a back his size and with 53 TDs in 3 years he definitely has a nose for the end zone that could make him a workhorse bruiser who gets +250 carries a year. Unfortunately he doesn’t look that quick or fast on film and the coaches talking about how he wore down his first two seasons makes me think he had a poor work ethic that only improved in his final collegiate season. QB and RB are two positions in the NFL where slackers rarely succeed as the QB position is so cerebral and the RB position is so taxing that only the most prepared and fit players last long. I’m unsure about this and even if he’s a hard worker I wonder how much more talent he really has over a later round guy like Robert Turbin. Big guys with speed and athleticism often come out of nowhere to be stars (Jamaal Anderson, Arian Foster) yet big guys without a burst are rarely heard from again. He’s still a bit of a mystery to me as I’m unsure which one he is and will be watching him closely as a rookie to see for myself. Tentatively I give him a 4th round grade as my #10 RB 3/21/12.

11. Ronnie Hillman San Diego St. #13 5’8 ¾ 200 Soph

Comparison: Jordan Todman

Stats: 573 carries

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011

1711

5.5

19

24

270

1

6

2010

1532

5.8

17

9

68

1

 

Combine: Looked extremely fast in 40 both eyeball and time (4.45). Very nice pluck on arrow route drill. Good speed on corner route drill. Solid in flat route drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5086

200

30

8.5

4.45

17

37

 

 

 

58.1

Notes: Redshirted in ’09. Freshman who had a great 2010 (1,304 5.6 ypc 14 TD) as well as an amazing ’10 Poinsettia Bowl vs. Navy (228 8.1 ypc 3 TD). Was the Mountain West Freshman of the year, his 1,304 set a MW freshman record, and his 1,532 (including bowl game) broke Marshall Faulk’s freshman Aztec record. Is Jordan Todman with a superior burst. In the 2011 Louisiana-Lafayette game he had 3 of his first 5 runs where he danced too much resulting in bad TFLs instead of just plunging ahead for 1 yd, dropped easy dump off pass over the middle nearly allowing INT on deflection, cut block on quick blitzer flipping him over, taken down on diving ankle tackle for TFL, nice cut in backfield making defender fly by to avoid TFL yet showed lack of power hitting LB 1 yd from first and not moving him at all, very nice burst on 15 yd inside run, PF as he threw ball at an opponent’s coach after a run.

Tape: 2011:Louisiana Lafayette 2010: Navy

Overall: Ronnie is a guy who initially surprised me when he announced he was leaving 2 years early for the NFL Draft but after I thought about it I realized it was a smart move. He’s been a workhorse the past 2 years with 573 carries for +3,200 yds and 36 TDs who had nothing else to prove and would only have been risking injury. I’m not a huge fan of his as he, Todman, and Jerome Harrison all are of the same style and I’ve yet to any great successes in that group yet one can argue that Hillman is the most talented of them all. He’s clearly the most productive (though Todman was Big East OPOY in 2010) but more importantly he has the best burst and his strength (200 lbs and 17 reps) is very underrated. While 573 carries the past two years does make me hesitate I still question whether he has the ability to be a feature back and suspect he’ll probably have a season or two of trying and then settle for a change of pace role ala Jerious Norwood a few years back. A quick, fast player who has underrated inside running skills but lacks the size to probably be a full time starter. Early 5th round as my #11 RB 3/21/12.

12. Jeff DempsFlorida #3 5’10 7/8 195 Sr.

Stats: SEC, 367

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2011

569

5.8

6

16

172

0

 

2010

551

6.0

3

18

116

0

 

2009

745

7.5

7

8

52

0

 

2008

605

7.8

7

15

141

1

 

Combine: Invited to combine but didn’t come. Didn’t have a pro day

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes: Had a good freshman year (605 7TD 7.8ypc) and looks to continue having a Felix Jones level ypc as he will make it in the NFL as a big play back. Incredible speed (consistent 4.3 guy per team officials), he is a short, scat back type who doesn’t seem to have the build to handle the big workload but looks like an NFL ready 3rd down back already 9/4/09. Had a great game vs. LSU (86 5.4ypc) showing that his style of speed over size works even against elite athletes. I am more convinced than ever that he will be a great 3rd down back and have a Darren Sproles like career. One of two fastest RBs Charlie Weis had ever coached in 32 years. In the 2011 Tennessee game he did the same RB screen as Rainey a play earlier yet showed far inferior speed (14:30 1st), good speed blowing past everyone but safeties on quick snap play that netted him 28 yds setting them up at the one (13:05 1st), incredible speed on short dump off he took 27 yds embarrassing solid MLB Austin Johnson in coverage (3:21 1st), stupidly went out of bounds on 9 route negating TD catch (9:10 2nd), slipped on RB screen pass losing yards (9:03 2nd), stripped of ball in a pile as he is going down (5:30 3rd). In the 2011 Alabama game he had a 28 yd KR and hurt his thigh on the play never really being a factor after that collision early in the 1st Q. He isn’t just a track star but a borderline future Olympian: NCAA Champ in ’10 and ’11 in 60 meter dash and Indoor Track & Field Team. Also in 2010 he was NCAA Champ in 100 meter dash and 4×100 meter relay. In the 2011 Ohio St. game he was never noticed. He’s got elite speed but this is the 3rd game in which Rainey looked legit and Demps was invisible. 6th round mainly as a KR 1/10/12.

Tape: 2011:Tennessee, LSU,Alabama,Florida St.,OhioSt., Senior Bowl Practices and Game

Overall: Demps is a unique case in that he’s an extremely undersized player without a real position who has shown recently that his true love is actually track not football and will possibly go that route professionally. Charlie Weis last year said that Demps and Rainey were the two fastest RBs he’s ever coached and with Demps noticeably faster than Rainey it’s not hard to argue that he could step onto an NFL field and immediately be the fastest player in the sport. Yet I’m curious how high he will be drafted as this January he advised everyone that he was focusing full time on track as his goal isn’t to get drafted but to make it on the Olympic track team. It will be a great story if he’s successful but if not I could see him regretting the decision as it’s forced him to miss the Senior Bowl, the Combine, and drop about 15 pounds from his already thin frame of 190 lbs. The bigger issue comes back to Demps desire to play football as there were already questions about his work ethic (work ethic isn’t the right word as he’s training in the offseason just not for football) and his stats show a player that was more successful his first two years (1,350 yds 14 TD on 7.5 and 7.8 ypc) than his final two (1,120 yds 9 TDs on 5.8 and 6.0 ypc). Add to his questionable desire the fact that team’s already worry about his durability in the NFL due to his lack of size and surprising lack of jukes in the open field (is very much a speedster and not really a quick guy) and that he’s poor on inside runs and a team could be drafting little more than a speedy kick returner who occasionally can be used on end arounds or reverses. He and Rainey were option 1 and 1A atFlorida the past 4 years but Rainey has steadily grown into a football player and moved away from the label of track star while Demps has actually embraced that label and seems to be slipping away from football. I still love Demps speed and think he can be a very productive player if properly used but with his lack of development during his Florida career, Rainey passing him on the depth chart this season, and his current attempt to make the Olympic track team I think he drops from the 3rd or 4th round grade he deserves talent wise to a 5th round grade as he now looks like a major gamble. 5th round as my #12 RB who is a boom/bust type due to his potential upcoming decommitment from football 4/5/12.

13. Vick Ballard Mississippi St. 5’10 ¼ 219 Sr.

Comparison: Anthony Allen

Stats: SEC, 380 carries

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2011 

1189 

6.2 

10 

20 

187 

 

2010 

981 

5.3 

20 

93 

 

 JUCO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 JUCO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Combine:

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5102

219

31.75

9.5

4.65

23

33

907

4.19

7.03

89.1

Notes: Had an underrated ’10 in by far the best conference in football (968 5.2 19 TD). Compact runner whose burst doesn’t wow you but he does have good power and solid moves. The more I watched him vs. Michigan in the ’10 Gator Bowl the slower and less NFL like he looked. He runs behind a very good OL and is tough and strong but he just doesn’t have NFL speed. Undrafteable 1/13/11. In the 2011 LSU game showed an okay burst but a quicker cut than I expected on 6 yd run (5:40 1st), good catch out of the backfield showing solid hands for 12 yds on 3rd and 9 (9:07 2nd), poor job getting taken down by the LBs arm tackle costing him at least 10 yds as he had open field in front of him (8:46 2nd), very nice extended hands catch at a weird angle on short dump off that he turned upfield for more showing solid speed (8:15 2nd), very NFL run showing quick feet to turn the corner then turn in back inside for a 10 yd run (0:45 2nd), showed great toughness holding onto ball on 8 yd dump off when he got decleated, also in how quick he bounced back up (0:45 3rd). Very lightly recruited out of HS. Has a great attitude and work ethic. In the 2011 Wake Forest game he had an okay 4 yd catch and run from dump off in flat-good quickness for his zie but still average quickness, false start?, fumbled on weak hit on inside run, very good speed on 61 yd TD run through wide open hole not being touched (3:07 1st), looked slow on toss left for 8 yds showing no burst-has good straight line speed but poor lateral quickness, good catch of overthrown ball but OOB, very good straight line speed for 25 yds on pitch (10:10 3rd), great speed again on straight line 70 yd TD run-very impressive as he outran the safety on an angle (13:02 4th). He was even faster on straight line runs than I remember but outside of his big plays, where he ran untouched in a straight line on, he was very very mediocre. I don’t know what to make of him as he keeps making big plays but has poor lateral quickness and no noticeable burst. 5th round 1/4/12 who could move far lower.

Tape: 2011: LSU,WakeForest, Senior Bowl Practices and Game

Overall: After being an incredibly prolific running back out of High School, Ballard only received one scholarship offer (Houston-Art Briles) which subsequently was pulled when the coach left for Baylor. Ballard then went the JUCO route successfully as he was an All American atGulfCoastCommunity College yet was snubbed by most of the bigger SEC schools and eventually choseMississippiState. Now after 2 seasons of +5.0 ypc and a total of 2,170 rushing yds and 30 TDs he finds himself once again overlooked, this time as a draft prospect. Unfortunately for him it’s because he has such a strange running style that I’m not really a fan of and apparently, neither is the majority of scouts. He has poor lateral quickness, gets taken down too regularly by arm tackles, doesn’t have a great burst, and for a 220 lb back he almost never moves the pile on short yardage runs. 80% of his game screams undrafteable yet time and again the past two years he’s burst out into the open field and had long TD runs, often of +50 yds. He also has relatively quick feet, solid vision, and is well known to be a good kid with a great attitude who is a hard worker. I continue to question whether his game will translate to the NFL but there are too many good things about him for scouts to just focus on his flaws and deem him undrafteable, which I unfortunately did last year. I like him as a mid to late round guy with limited starting potential but who will probably settle in as a solid backup. Late 5th round as my #13 RB 4/4/12.

14. Brandon Bolden Ole Miss 5’10 7/8 222 Sr.

Stats: SEC, 486 carries

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2011 

472 

4.9 

14 

147 

 

2010 

976 

6.0 

14 

32 

344 

 

2009 

614 

4.8 

20 

209 

 

2008 

535 

5.5 

10 

107 

 

Combine: Looked quick in pad step drill. Looked quick on inside run dummy drill. Quick and strong hands on arrow route drill. Quick again in flat route drill-looks quick and explosive in all of these drills so far.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5107

222

32.25

10

4.66

21

38

911

4.44

6.96

100

Notes: In the 2011 LSU game he dropped a wide open pass in flat on a short hitch after going in motion, solid 11 yd gain on big hole up the middle showing a burst (4:00 1st), dropped ball in flat again this time with LB coming on hard, threw an absolutely horrible pass on halfback option pass throwing it about as high in the air as you can. Was their leading rusher (976 14 TD 6.0 ypc) and receiver (32 344 3 TD) in 2010.

Tape: 2011: LSU

Overall: Brandon is a player who was on my radar going into this season but completely fell off due to his average year productivity wise (less than half his 2010 yardage output and dropped from 6.0 ypc to 4.9) and the fact that the entire Ole Miss season was an embarrassment. The second reason might lead to many scouts giving Bolden a pass for his down year as a RB’s productivity is directly tied to the rest of the team as an OL that can’t block, WRs that can’t get open, or a QB that can’t throw all lead to fewer running lanes for a RB yet his down year concerns me b/c it looks like a pattern. In 2008 he burst onto the scene as a freshman with a very nice 5.5 ypc and looked like a future star yet in 2009 he took a step back with his ypc dropping to 4.8. He then bounced back in 2010 with his best season yet (976 yds 6.0 ypc) but continued the pattern with an off year in 2011. It’s a legitimate argument to say that Bolden often was the best player on a bad offense in the best conference in the nation. Yet I don’t think his teammates lack of talent tells the whole story and I think Bolden seems to be a bit of a fair weather player who, despite being 222 lbs, lacks the consistency and toughness to battle an opponent at all times. Yet for a back that big he has a noticeable burst and I like him as a backup type RB who can help on short yardage or late game, clock bleeding situations. His resume has holes but any back who can have nearly a thousand yards on a 6.0 ypc in the SEC has talent and he reminded me of that fact at the Combine. His 2011 season is likely to make him a late round flier type but at that value he could be a steal as RBs at +220 lbs with a burst, quickness, and vision shouldn’t be going that late. Late 5th round as my #14 RB 4/4/12.

15. Robert Turbin Utah St. 5’10 222 Jr.

Comparison: Chris Henry

Stats:

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2011

1517

6.1

19

17

171

4

 

2010

1296

6.3

13

30

418

5

 

2009

485

4.6

8

20

256

2

 

2008

17

5.7

0

0

0

0

 

Combine: Looks absolutely ripped in his upper body. Had a great 40 time (4.50) for a guy his size. Son of single father, absentee mother, brother in and out of jail, one sister passed away at 21, and another sister paralyzed from neck down. Missed two full seasons with leg injuries. Solid cut on inside run dummy drill. Good hands catch on corner route drill-his massive arms made it look funny but solid hands catch. Average on wheel route drill-very tight everywhere but again has good hands.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5100

222

31

9.75

4.50

28

36

1002

4.31

7.16

98.9

Notes: WAC OPOY in 2011. Has dreadlocks. Is a strong, tough RB without any special burst. In the 2011 Ohio game he pushed the pile a bit but still unable to get 4th and goal from the 2 for the TO, nice 9 yd gain on inside run showing quick feet to jump cut around defenders, solid 7 yd inside run, looked slow on 3 yd run, strong 5 yd run carrying DL final 2 yds, has good pad level and always seems to be falling forward, solid burst on 9 yd run showing good patience as well, good speed on 6 yd run that would have been +10 yds if not taken down on shoestring tackle, nice 28 yd run showing solid speed-easily caught by LBs though so not too fast, good speed getting edge after LBs penetration forced him outside, no separation vs. LB on wheel route down the field. I want to see him in another setting like an All-Star game but to me he looks like a tough inside runner who doesn’t have the burst, quickness, or long speed to be anything more than a backup. 6th round 12/18/11.

Tape: 2011:Ohio

Overall: Turbin is a guy I want to succeed as he’s had probably the worst set of circumstances of any player in this draft. He comes from a single parent household having lost one sister at the age of 21 and the other being paralyzed from the neck down. He also has a brother who is in and out of jail and has suffered two major leg injuries in his collegiate career. When you look at his ripped upper body it’s evident he’s used those negatives as motivation to make something of his life and this constant motivation is a very underrated thing that will ensure a team gets the best he has to offer. Unfortunately I don’t see that much talent in him when I watch him on the field as he looks like a big, strong guy with an average burst who doesn’t play nearly as fast as his 40 time (4.50) would suggest. There have been moments where I’ve seen a quick jump cut or a breakaway run but it’s rare and definitely not what his game is about. Yet I like him as a later round short yardage back who can spell a starter and grind out the tough yards as he seems better suited to this specific role than a Gannaway or Ballard who have similar size but seem to dance too much and don’t play behind their pads as well as he does. Turbin is a very poor man’s Greg Jones and maybe he continues to bulk himself up and becomes a FB like Jones did with the Jaguars. As a RB he isn’t anything special but fits a role well and his constant source of motivation might allow him to have a better career than many expect. 6th round as my #15 RB 3/21/12.

16. Tauren PooleTennessee #28 5’10 205 Sr.

Stats: SEC, 423 carries

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2011

693

3.7

5

21

164

0

 

2010

1034

5.1

11

22

171

1

 

2009

85

8.5

0

1

9

0

 

2008

86

3.9

0

1

-1

0

 

Combine: Below average on flare out route drill. Good route on corner route drill. Solid route and very nice extended hands catch in stride on wheel route drill. Dropped ball in flat route drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5100

205

29.75

8

4.54

24

34

910

4.19

7.36

71

Notes: In the 2011 Florida game had a quick 10 yd gain with open hole that he showed very nice acceleration on (10:20 1st), solid 7 yd draw making a LB miss with slight space (5:34 4th). In the 2011 Georgia game he showed no noticeable burst on inside run where there was a slight hole he couldn’t get to in time before it closed for 1 yd gain (6:13 1st), good downhill run getting his shoulder pads squared and going hard for 6 yds (10:25 2nd), again showed no speed on off tackle being forced sideways for -3 yds-is definitely a one cut downhill runner with no versatility (9:40 2nd). Clearly an inferior player to Marlin Lane and a guy I can’t get too terribly excited about. Free Agent 11/24/11. Won 2011 Pat Tillman award (on and off the field accomplishments). Impressed the week of the practice at the East-West Shrine Game. In the 2011 East-West Shrine Game he had a nice cut on LB Josh Kaddu avoiding tackle for no gain on edge and picking up 15 yds (15:00 1st), noticeable speed on runs, dropped RB screen-hit hard but ball dropped before contact, good quick cut on dump off out of backfield getting separation from LB Tank Carder and showing superior speed for 10 yd catch and run (0:40 2nd), superior speed to teammates Morris and Meggett, poor job near sideline catching pass with both feet just out of bounds, very solid tackle on PR catching PR by his legs. Out of the 6 RBs at East-West Shrine Game he was the best at #1. 5th round 1/22/12.

Tape: 2011:Florida,Georgia, East-West Shrine Game

Overall: Poole was a guy who I saw a few times in 2011 and was not that impressed as he was noticeably inferior to teammate Marlin Lane. Yet Lane is a very good prospect in his own right and when he left his shadow during the East-West Shrine Game and practices I saw him in a new light. He is a quick RB with a solid burst who wasn’t 100% at times this year and saw his numbers take a nosedive compared to his 2010 stats. He isn’t anything special though as at 205 lbs he lacks the size to be a workhorse or the speed to be a top level efficiency back and compounds the problem with average hands. Yet as a later round guy I like the quickness, vision, and burst I saw this offseason at the Combine and the East-West Shrine Game and think 2010 was the norm and his 2011 season was a fluke. 6th round as my #16 RB 3/21/12.

17. Marc Tyler USC #26 5’10 5/8 219 Sr.

Stats: Pac-12

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2011 

568 

4.7 

11 

108 

 

2010 

913 

5.3 

17 

127 

 

2009

72

14.4 

 

2008 

198 

5.5 

10 

 

Combine: Dad went to UCLA and was a RB as well. Had a terrible 40 (4.76) even as a big back. Poor on inside run dummy drill. Slow on flare out route drill. Good route but dropped ball on corner route drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5105

219

32

9.5

4.76

19

30.5

902

 

 

62.7

Notes: In the 2011 East-West Shrine Game he had very nice burst on 6 yd run up middle-superior burst to teammate Lennon Creer, good speed again on 15 yd run-looks clearly faster than LB Max Gruder trailing him, good 10 yd run breaking arm tackle for final 4, good catch of RB screen on tough ball-had to sort of one hand it in, solid burst getting 5 yds nearly breaking tackle for more. Out of the 6 RBs at East-West Shrine Game he was #2 (Poole). 6th round 1/22/12.

Tape: 2011:Stanford,Minnesota, Notre Dame

Overall: Tyler looked slow, fat, and ill prepared at the Combine as he put on one of the worst performances of the week. This is coming after he was suspended for much of the 2011 season and put up average numbers that ended with him being essentially replaced by an undersized younger player. All of this normally would add up to a free agent or undrafteable grade yet he barely stays drafteable in my opinion b/c just last year he was the player that kept Allen Bradford mainly on the bench all year. Bradford was a great prospect in my eyes with an enviable combination of size/speed yet the USC coaches liked the toughness and burst Tyler brought to the field and used him as the primary ball carrier. One year later he fell out of favor but at the East-West Shrine game he showed that same power and underrated burst (I noticed it more than teammate Lennon Creer’s) and a terrible Combine can’t make me forget those things. There’s a good chance he doesn’t get drafted, and with good reason, yet he has a sliver of a chance to develop into a solid starting RB in the NFL and that’s a pretty rare thing to find in the late rounds. 7th round as my #17 RB 3/21/12.

18. Dan Herron Ohio St. 5’10 202 Sr.

Stats: Big 10, 593 carries

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2011

678

5.0

3

8

34

0

 

2010

1155

5.3

16

19

180

0

 

2009

600

3.9

7

11

66

1

 

2008

439

4.9

6

6

29

0

 

Combine: False start in 40. Had a very poor 40 (4.66) proving again my point that this kid isn’t explosive and isn’t anything but a future backup at best. Poor job on inside run dummy drill. Average hands on arrow route drill. Good route on corner route drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5093

213

32

9

4.66

22

35

909

4.04

6.97

81.3

Notes: 1st team Big 10 in 2010. Made a huge jump from his Soph year (600 3.9 ypc 7 TD) to his Jr. year (1,068 5.6 ypc 15 TD). Some compare him to a poor man’s Trent Richardson. Has good speed, great height and weight ratio and looks like an NFL runner. Is running behind an NFL LT, LG, and C in 2010 so his numbers could easily be inflated. Had huge fumble on 4th and 1 dive over the pile in the ’10 Sugar Bowl vs. Arkansas but otherwise had a pretty good game showing nice size, speed, and vision. He wasn’t dynamic and isn’t incredibly big but I like him as a quality backup or average starter at the next level: 5th round 1/18/11. After getting ready to come back from the 5 game suspension that occurred at the end of 2010 he was suspended for another 1 game on a different scandal. In the 2011 Florida game he had unimpressive 12 yd run up middle, fumbled as he fell on back after 5 yd inside run, very nice subtle move in hole making LB miss for final 5 yds of 15 yd inside run, average athleticism avoiding DT in backfield and taking awhile to get to full speed again (13:18 3rd), looked slow on RB screen for TFL, solid 8 yd run with good vision and stiff arm but average speed. The more I watch Herron I see a less athletic Chris Polk who has solid vision, average size, and solid overall athleticism but nothing that makes you say wow or gives me the impression that he will be anything other than a backup at the next level. 6th round 1/10/12. In the 2011 Senior Bowl Game: #4 RB, couldn’t juke LB Zach Brown in space for TFL on screen pass, no separation vs. LB Nigel Bradham for pbu on short dump off, poor speed on 2 yd run as he had a hole but had to go lateral and got caught from behind by a DT, got separation from Bradham for 5 yd out, solid quickness and vision cutting back for 6 yds, no gain on inside run but not his fault as nothing there, 3 yd and pile of dust-running out clock and nowhere to go, 2 yds and pile of dust-the difference between his burst and Pead’s is so glaring. Out of the 8 RBs (Rainey, Pead, Martin, Ballard, Gannaway, Polk, Creer, Herron, Morris) he finished #7 and again showed a lack of burst, jukes, or power.

Tape: 2011: Nebraska, Michigan, Florida, Senior Bowl Game and Practices

Overall: Herron has been one of the more overrated players in this draft class for quite some time in my opinion as even in 2010 when he was in the process of an 1,100 yd season on a solid ypc (5.3) I still only considered him a 5th rounder. Now he’s coming off a suspension, an average season statistically, and a Combine that left a lot to be desired. I always thought he was at best an average starter but most likely a career backup and after studying him closer I think you can definitively take starter out of his projection. A tough, inside runner with no burst and limited wiggle or power who will be a career backup. 7th round as my #18 RB 3/21/12.

19. Leenar CreerLouisiana Tech #5 5’11 3/8 219 Sr.

Stats: Tennessee in ’07-‘08

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2011

838

4.2

9

18

93

1

 

2010

1181

5.6

10

25

181

0

 

2009

RS

 

 

 

 

 

 

2008

388

5.3

4

3

10

0

 

2007

214

5.9

1

2

13

0

 

Combine: Transfer fromTennessee. Really bad in pad step drill hitting one and looking slow. Terrible on inside run dummy drill falling down in hole-worst on both drills so far. Double caught ball on flare out route drill. Good hands but weak cut on arrow route drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

5113

219

31.5

9.25

4.71

21

33.5

902

4.4

7.26

72

Notes: He missed the final 3 games, including the 2011 TCU bowl game, due to an injury. In the 2011 East-West Shrine Game he average dump off in flat showing comfortable hands but nothing special speed or juke wise, inferior burst to teammate Marc Tyler, dropped dump off pass with space to run, solid 8 yd run bouncing inside run outside, slow cut but still worked on RB screen avoiding LB for 5 yds, solid 8 yd run with one cut and go inside run, good speed getting corner easily on off tackle run vs. LB Joshua Linum for 6 yd gain plowing head in to get last few yds, solid 8 yd run up middle, solid quickness on 9 yd TD run to win the game (0:50 4th). Out of the 6 RBs at East-West Shrine Game he was #3 (Poole, Tyler). 7th round 1/22/12. MVP of East-West Shrine Game. Late addition replacing Cyrus Gray after he failed his physical. Senior Bowl: Day 2: 1×1: Looked very slow getting no separation vs. LB Keenan Robinson on option route. Avoided jam of LB Sean Spence to get wide open gainer in drill. 11×11: Good gainer up middle showing nice quickness and vision. Day 3: 11×11: Has a very upright running style-too the extreme, showed good speed on sweep outside-not a burner but has NFL speed and looked faster than CB Dequan Menzie, strong inside run breaking a tackle on DT, solid burst on dump off catch in flat. In the 2011 Senior Bowl Game: 3rd string RB, no room on inside run but ducked his head and got 2 yds instead of 0, beat LB Audie Cole to the edge for +5 then lowered his shoulder and walloped him for final few-great job dishing it out (0:02 3rd). Out of the 8 RBs (Rainey, Pead, Martin, Ballard, Gannaway, Polk, Creer, Herron, Morris) he finished #7 as he looked like a big fish in a small pond who just showed up to a big pond.

Tape: 2011: East-West Shrine Game

Overall: The 2011 East-West Shrine Game MVP Lennon Creer ended his career on a high note but still doesn’t appear to be getting scouts too terribly excited about his future prospects in the NFL. The reason is that Creer looks like little more than a solid backup as he’s a bigger back (219 lbs) but not big enough to be a specialized short yardage back, lacks the hands to be a 3rd down back, and lacks the burst, agility, or pure speed (4.71 40) to compete as a starter. He does show good vision and solid strength so a backup job in a zone scheme where he one cuts and goes downhill could work but he looks too scheme specific to be of much value. Some scouts might disagree but I see little use for him aside from a #3 RB and even that is iffy as he doesn’t bring a change of pace or role specific strength that I would prefer. Late 7th round who barely gets a drafteable grade as my #19 RB 3/21/12.

20. Michael Hayes Houston #28 5’9 185 Sr.

Stats: C-USA, 288 carries

Year

Yards

Avg

TD

Rec

Yards

TD

Fum

2011

727

5.3

11

44

483

4

 

2010

629

4.2

8

30

327

2

 

JUCO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUCO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro Day: 3/19/12

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

 

 

 

 

4.55

23

35

909

4.22

7.1

 

Notes: Went JUCO first two years then tried to go to USF but denied (low scores but academically eligible scores) and went to Houston instead. Named CUSA Honorable Mention in 2011. In the 2011 Southern Miss game (CUSA Championship) he showed off his great long speed on run that was called back but allowed him to get free to race 75 yds for a  score, solid strength on 5 yd run fighting defenders and drawing a PF on one for late hit-not his forte but isn’t soft, slipped on field back to back plays, nice dump off speeding for 10 yds and diving for last yard to get 1st, great diving 1 yd TD over the pile-better than many NFL backs do it (5:50 2nd), good run breaking tackle and nearly breaking a second which would have been TD but fell 2 yds short for 6 yd run. In the 2011 Penn St. game he had a nice juke on dump off over middle for 1st down, great run up middle getting upended but somehow keeping balanced for another 5 YAC (1:20 3rd), good strength getting 6 yds on dump off despite being hit immediately by LB. Once again he impressed me with his speed and power making me think he’s a late round guy I would love to take. Then again I can almost guarantee he won’t be drafted so he’s a guy I would probably target as a free agent despite me giving him a 7th round grade 1/3/12.

Tape: 2011: Southern Miss, Penn St.

Overall: Hayes is so far off scouts’ radars I would be shocked if he’s drafted. It also doesn’t help matters that not only did he play in a passing offense but he was dramatically outproduced by a younger back who had a ypc of +7.0. Yet when I watch Hayes I see an NFL caliber scat back who has underrated strength (23 reps-+30 yd TD run vs. UCLA where he broke numerous tackles), a good burst, and is one of the most experienced receivers at the RB position in this draft (74 catches the past 2 years). He won’t be drafted and it’s not really much of a slight as I myself barely have a drafteable grade on him but don’t be surprised if the small mighty mouse makes an NFL roster and sticks around for a few years. Late 7th round as my #20 RB 3/21/12.

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