RB in the 2007 NFL Draft
The main targets of their desire have an interesting blend of size, speed, pass-catching skills and versatility. The top tier, like the quarterback position, comprises just two players, but there is a solid nucleus of 10 or so prospects that can fit into the first three rounds based on the blocking scheme/ground attack preferred by teams still in need of a back past the first round.
There are also a number of mid-round type backs that have driven up their value. These include Eldra Buckley (Tennessee-Chattanooga), Alonzo Coleman (Hampton), Jackie Battle (Houston) and D.D. Terry (Sam Houston State).
TOP RUNNING BACKS
1. Adrian Peterson - 6016, 215, 4.40, Oklahoma
He's one of the most explosive running backs to enter the draft in recent years, but there is concern about his long-range durability. He has a rare blend of size, speed and power, and he did a much better job of setting up his runs this past season, showing a little more patience following his blocks and then bursting through the hole. Peterson reads and adjusts to opposing defensive units as he is such a threat to take it to the outside and cut up the field. He's a burner in terms of straight-line speed and is flexible enough to cut back or make defenders miss in the open field. He's also the type of back that can wear down opponents: Over 70 percent of his yards in college came after initial contact.
An average receiver out of the backfield, Peterson lacks natural hands and needs to work on running better routes. He does a solid job of picking up blitzes but will drop his head on some cut blocks and get engulfed by some bigger defenders.
His injury history, including both shoulders and some ankle issues, has some teams concerned about his long-term durability. They feel that he will be great for four to five years and then break down. He has a history of fumbling, too, usually after contact or when he is fighting for extra yards.
2. Marshawn Lynch - 5112, 217, 4.46, California
Marshawn is referred to as "the beast" by his California teammates. He's an excellent fit for any team looking for an every-down back that can also contribute as a receiver, both out of the backfield or if motioned to the slot. He runs with great vision and quickness while showing the power to finish off runs, and he shows the keen ability to cut and maintain his current level of speed and then further accelerate in a few strides. He is impossible to bring down in stride, and will usually take 2-3 defenders to finally drag him down. Lynch is very quick and elusive, and when he's near the endzone, he doesn't miss often. Lynch has showed natural hands as a receiver and is a smooth route runner out of the backfield. He does a good job of picking up the blitz but can be overwhelmed at times by bull rushers. He's a great effort player even though he is so naturally gifted, and he's known to be a great teammate and leader by others on the Cal offense. Can also return punts and kickoffs.
In his career, Lynch has had a few fumbles, which mainly come because he does not always switch the ball to protect it in the open field. He also mishandled a few on toss or pitch plays, but that comes from looking up field rather than securing the ball first.
Marshawn is a complete back. He is quick, fast, strong, can catch the ball, can run the ball, can even play special teams. Teams that are looking for a dual-threat back may favor Lynch over Peterson. He is a can't miss prospect.
3. Brian Leonard - 6016, 226, 4.52, Rutgers
This is one of the best pure football players in this year's draft – one that is versatile enough to play either running back or fullback at the next level. Leonard bulked up for his senior campaign in order to serve as the lead blocker for Ray Rice, but what impressed both scouts, coaches and teammates alike was that, unlike most potential pro athletes, he put his team and its needs ahead of his own after having gained over 3,900 yards of total offense in his first three seasons with the Scarlet Knights.
He has some of the draft's best hands out of the backfield, having totaled 207 career receptions. He was able to bruise his way to yardage in the second half of games, but he also has quick feet to the hole and can bounce a few carries outside for big gains. A good cutback-style runner, Leonard uses very good vision, balance and power to consistently gain yardage. That said, he needs to make better use of his size once he gets into the open field. He has been susceptible to being tackled around the ankles or when defenders grab at his legs.
Still not a great blocker. A very good cut blocker, he can stand his ground firmly when picking up the blitz. He will dip his head at times and lead in without having the full balance of his body weight underneath him. Can not be locked into a slot. May not be considered an elite player at either fullback, halfback or tightend. Takes too many hits.
Great college talent who may produce less than some expect at the next level if he goes to the wrong team that doesn't use him properly. Leonard proved to be a viable and productive member of the backfield from both the fullback position and half back position.
4. Michael Bush, RB, 6013, 243, DNR 4.54 (Unofficial), Louisville
He's an intriguing, huge runner who plays with the instincts of a small, elusive back. He lacks explosive speed. Has some outstanding lateral moves and agility for a guy of his dimensions. Runs downhill hard. Will run people over. Has really concentrated on getting more YAC, and will carry tacklers. A smart, patient runner with great power who can move a pile. Can be deadly in the halfback option pass area, as he is a former top-drawer HS quarterback. Has superb hands and runs good routes. Was productive both as a receiver out of the backfield as well as splitting out wide. Good hands. Improving blocker. Was very productive at every level and just seems to have a nose for the endzone.
If he can learn to stay a little lower through the pile and avoid some big hits, he'll be able to avoid far fewer injuries. Too upright and needs to run with a lower pad level. Is not quite as physical of a runner as you'd think he would be considering his size. Lacks breakaway speed and won't run away from people in the pros. Not overly nifty or elusive. Will get overweight at times and has durability concerns.
He broke his leg in the 2006 and will need to show he is willing to work and keep himself in shape, especially coming off the major injury. A phenomenal athlete. A versatile prospect with starting potential in the mold of Jamal Lewis who may wind up being a steal for someone if he falls to the latter portion of Day One
5. Antonio Pittman - 5108, 207, 4.40, Ohio State
Prototypical inside runner who prefers to go up the gut. Won't loose yards and uses north-south lanes to move forward. Power; is very tough to bring down and won't go down on first contact. Deceptively fast. With the ability to both grind out tough yards between the tackles and effortlessly scoot past defenders when bouncing the play outside. In terms of ball security, having turned the ball over just once in each of the past two years despite 250-plus touches in each of those campaigns. Nifty, has good balance and does not go down easily. A big play threat who can take it the distance. Showed good hands and pass catching potential in limited chances. A solid effort blocker. Was very productive and he got better every year
He has stayed away from major collisions at the point of attack and can be more of a finesse runner than just bull his way when confronted with tight situations. Does not possess elite speed. Runs very upright which could lead to injury. Is not a threat to catch passes out of the backfield. Used purely as a safety valve with the Buckeyes, Pittman needs work on his route running. He could probably bulk up.
Of the top-ranked running backs, he is on the smaller side, which shows you where today's game is headed when 5-foot-11 and nearly 200 pounds can be thought of as being under-sized.
6. Tony Hunt - 6016, 233, 4.68, Penn State.
This is the best "big" back in the draft in terms of size, power and ability to carry the load (25 to 30 carries per game) on a consistent basis at the next level. He showed good hands out of the backfield and is tough to bring down. Hunt's ability to force the pile forward comes from his strong lower body and the fact that he runs hard and with determination. He's not a flashy runner, but he gets better throughout the game and can pound a defense for four quarters.
He lacks ideal straight-line speed. Hunt needs to lower his pad level on short-yardage carries, and he gets too high and fails to pull away when surrounded at the point of attack. Hunt's upright style leads to some big hits and a few forced fumbles, but he is not known or thought of as a fumbler. He will try to bounce a few plays outside rather than bull his way to the yards available in front of him.
Jack of All Trades. Hunt can block, catch, and run. Is your rare kind of back that is good at all aspects of the game. Downhill runner who rarely looses yards.
7. Kenny Irons - 5107, 203, 4.45, Auburn
Kenny Irons originally enrolled and played at South Carolina, but transferred (sitting out the 2004 season) because he wasn't assured of consistent playing time and he also wanted to play with his brother, David, who had signed with Auburn out of JuCo. Irons has good size and strength for the RB position. He displays good vision and instincts and is a natural runner He's an explosive player who can get skinny to slide through even the smallest holes. Is more quick than fast. He's patient and will ride a blocker waiting for a sliver of daylight to burst through. Irons has a very good darting running style that makes it hard for players to get a bead on him. He will run with authority and plays like a much bigger back. He has tremendous balance and runs with a good, low pad level and a nice body lean. He can change direction without having to gather himself and can change speeds to throw off defenders. Even though he's primarily a runner who avoids contact, he's willing to run through a player at times, showing off surprising power. Irons also runs good routes out of the backfield and is dangerous in space and will run away from people. Doesn't have a lot of mileage on his tires. You simply can't ignore the history his school has of sending guys at his position to the pros.
Irons is quick and shifty, but he's not a burner. Timed speed is only average. He does not have the type of size, strength or bulk you'd prefer. Irons is very effective when he has a hole, but he's really unable to create on his own despite his shiftiness and agility. Ball security is an issue. Does not break a ton of tackles and won't run people over. Does his best as a blocker but is only adequate and will get overwhelmed. He probably needs to add some bulk to be able to take some more hits. Struggles a bit as a receiver as he doesn't have great ball-tracking skills when it's in the air and he body-catches. His hands are questionable. Was hurt a lot in '06 and durability is a concern
Irons appeared poised to have a monster senior season and was a pre-season contender for the Heisman. Injuries and offensive ineffectiveness put a halt to that campaign and Irons struggled through a mediocre season. He was bothered by a number of injuries (turf toe, groin, ankle sprain, bone bruise) this past season. , as demonstrated by a number of dropped passes during Senior Bowl practices. Irons hasn't been asked to block much and doesn't look good doing it when he is asked.
7. Brandon Jackson - 5097, 210, 4.42, Nebraska
The 2007 running back class has been characterized by many as being Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch and not much else. Jackson is one of several backs competing to be among the next group selected at the position. Showed flashes of brilliance this season. Has good burst to the hole and makes people miss in the open field. A very good athlete that plays faster than he times. Has excellent vision, patience and instincts. Tough, strong and runs hard. He is able to run inside and outside effectively. Good balance and changes direction well. Shifty. Was a productive receiver. Not much mileage on his tires. Big-time upside.
Does not have much experience at all. Size is only average. Won't run away from anyone and isn't a big play threat. He's sub par as a blocker. Injury prone; Must stay healthy to excel at next level.
A guy who could be underrated because he most certainly has talent and appeared to finally be coming into his own this past season. May have been the top senior running back for 2008 so he could end up being a big steal for someone this year.
8. Lorenzo Booker - 5104, 191, 4.46, Florida State
Booker was supposed to be THE MAN at FSU this season but shared the spotlight (or lack thereof) with Antoine Smith. Luckily, he's a 4.4 guy. Great athlete with very good timed speed and excellent quickness. Explosive big play threat with a burst and is elusive and tough to tackle in the open field. Hits while being hit. Turns the corner quickly. Patient runner with decent vision. Agile and changes directions well. Can cut on a dime. Cat-like quickness. Has outstanding hands, runs fine routes and is an exceptional receiver. Soft hands (receiving).Gives good effort as a blocker.
Undersized and doesn't have either the height or bulk that you look for and might be a little light. After dishing it out has to take some time to regroup. Running between the tackles is a little questionable. Likes to bend plays to the outside. Underachiever who has not played up to his potential. Never carried the load. He may be limited to just a situational role. Needs to improve his blocking.
Will more than likely end up being more of a 3rd down back / role player but he can certainly contribute in that capacity and enjoy a nice, long pro career.
9. Kolby Smith - 5114, 220, 4.51, Louisville
Kolby stepped in during week #2 of the 2006 season after all-American RB Michael Bush went down with a broken leg in week #1. Kolby did a nice job picking up the load, and finished the season with one of the better YPCs in IA football. Hits the hole quickly and delivers a pop bigger than you would expect for a 214-pounder. Excellent athlete with great balance and agility. Tough, physical and runs hard. Has very good size and a solid frame. Plays faster than he times and is elusive. Has nimble feet and changes direction well. Good vision and has a burst through the hole. Outstanding receiver out of the backfield. Shows good moves in the openfield. Willing to block. Works hard. Never complained although he sat behind a bevy of elite and near-elite backs at Louisville for three years before getting his shot in '06. Versatile. He still has a lot of upside.
Lacks an elite phyiscal characteristic. Lacks breakaway speed. Has really only been featured for a year, and durability has not yet been proven. Will not be an inside runner at the next level, and lacks speed to threaten the corners.Needs to run with a lower pad level. Underachiever ?
Lack of elite triangle numbers keeps him out of the first day, but he is a good football player who should go somewhere mid-second day. A jack-of-all-trades but a master of none. Potentially a backup in the pros and maybe a great deal more.
10. Chris Henry - 5113, 230, 4.40, Arizona
Chris is widely considered the second best "big back" in the draft with Louisville's Michael Bush's surprise announcement that he will not seek a medical RS year. Chris is HUGE and still runs a legit 4.4 40 time. He is a physical specimen. Chris is a downhill runner, and uses his incredible size to carry defenders for the extra 2-3 yards. Has a terrific burst. He's able to run up the middle or kick it outside and turn the corner. Henry is also a very good receiver out of the backfield, providing a safety blanket for QB Willie Tuitama all season. Henry has no problem picking up the blitz. Does not have a lot of mileage on his tires. Still has upside.
A huge weakness is his lack of college production. 859 CAREER rushing yards and a career yard per carry of of just 3.4. Chris had to sit behind some very good running backs ahead of him and never really established himself among the younger guys. Not overly tough or aggressive and has not played up to those great physical tools. . A questionable motor. Runs too high and is an impatient runner. He's not shifty or elusive. Sub par blocker. May have character concerns
All scouts really can go off of is his potential and postseason workouts. Classic workout warrior who "Looks like Tarzan, Plays like Jane?" He will likely get picked much higher than his production would indicate thanks to the show he put on at the Combine but it will be based almost solely on his potential. If nothing else will be a very good 3rd down back in the NFL.
11. Dwayne Wright - 5116, 228, 4.66, Fresno St.
A former JC transfer, Dwayne is a very mature married athlete with two children, who has fought through adversity, and has not taken anything for granted in his rise to stardom at FSU. Suffered a season-ending injury early in the 2004 campaign and rehabbed for most of two years before exploding back onto the scene in '06. Very productive senior season coming back from injury. Natural runner with terrific vision, instincts and balance. Powerful runner with deceptive speed. Nice size. Keeps the pile moving forward. Very good leg drive and deterimnation. Runs with good pad level. Enough lateral movement to hit the edge and be deadly in open spaces. Has good hands and can help as a receiver out of the backfield. An above average blocker. Extremely versatile. Great character. Listens and leads by example. Showed his hard-work with extensive rehab.
Injury concerns (left PT) are minor as he has played very well since returning. Does not possess elite speed. Does not possess terrific moves. Not overly quick or elusive. Not likely to be a full-time breakway back at the next level, but his character and hands give him a chance. Has some durability questions. Does everything well but nothing great. A little older than the average prospect. May not have a huge upside.
Had one more year of eligibility if he wanted it but instead opted to go pro. Might also be looked at as a fullback at the next level. An underrated player who will be pushed down draft boards due to a lack of speed and questions about his health but could very well end up being a steal for someone. At the very least he will be a quality backup and maybe a lot more.
12. Darius Walker - 5100, 206, 4.55, Notre Dame
Darius Walker is a versatile running back. Natural runner with excellent vision, patience, balance and instincts. Walker has good speed and quickness. He can beat most defenders to the edge and turn it up field for big gains. He is an elusive back, who can make defenders miss in the hole. He runs low to the ground and doesn't take many big hits. He runs with more power than he is given credit for, and he never shies away from contact. His outstanding vision allows him to see the hole before it opens and to see cutback lanes develop. He also has outstanding ball security, rarely coughing up the ball. He is probably the best receiver out of the backfield in this draft. He combines soft hands and excellent route running to become a productive part of the passing game. A willing blocker, Walker knows how to square up and deliver a jolt to pass rushers. Has lots of experience, smart with top-notch intangibles.
He doesn't break solid tackles, and goes down on the first hit many times. He isn't an ideal short yardage back. He has a strong lower body, but doesn't push the pile forward. He is a willing blocker, but he can have trouble with bigger defenders. He doesn't have ideal size for the position. Is not a big play threat and he won't run away from anyone. A 'tweener who is not a speed or power back. His upside is likely limited.
The type who does everything well but nothing great. Probably profiles as more of a backup at the next level. Could potentially thrive in a 3rd down / situational role.
13. DeShawn Wynn - 5103, 232, 4.47, Florida
DeShawn Wynn never managed to put it all together at Florida. He was a highly prized recruit and was unable to make the impact that most thought he would. He landed in Urban Meyer's doghouse almost immediately upon the coach's arrival and struggled to get out of it. Wynn is a bruising back with excellent power and a nice low center of gravity. He runs with a low pad level and shows good balance. He displays a nice cutback and can accelerate quickly into the hole. He is able to change directions quickly with a solid plant and drive. A terrific athlete with nimble feet and outstanding balance. Quick with a burst. Solid vision and natural instincts. Runs good routes and has decent hands. Adequate blocker. Still has upside.
He has the red flags of several coaching confrontations and was not much of a "team guy" at Florida. He's not a threat in the passing game and doesn't display good catching technique on those rare occasions that he gets a pass. He's also a poor blocker, mostly a result of his own lack of desire and selfishness. With his size and strength, he should be more of a power runner, but he tries to be a finesse runner instead. Lacks toughness. His work ethic and conditioning have been issues. Durability is a concern
If Wynn can get his head screwed on right and show some maturity and a desire to be coached, he could be a very good NFL back. His fate will be determined in large part by how well he interviews with the teams. If someone senses that he can change, he could go early on day two, but my guess is that no one will be willing to take a shot on him until the last couple rounds of the draft. As a senior he fought some injuries that limited his effectiveness.
14. Garrett Wolfe - 5076, 186, 4.39, Northern Illinois
Two year starter who was showcased on Thursday night football. Was extremely productive and excelled against big time opponents like Ohio St. and Michigan. Tough, fearless, and is not intimidated. Will take the big hit, get up,and run right back at the defense. Explosive big play threat with great speed, quickness, acceleration and a burst. Makes great cuts and is able to squeeze through holes. Has great instincts and vision. Has good balance and can cut on a dime. Can make something out of nothing. Very elusive and hard to tackle. Has solid hands. Tough pound-for-pound.
Size. NFL scouts will have a hard time seeing past his limitations. Will not be able to block rushing safeties and LBs.Durability is a major concern. Has very little, if any, experience as a return man. He will more than likely be limited to a role as a 3rd down back and special teamer. Intelligence issues? Doesn't have much upside.
Will never be a long-term starter in the pros but could carve out a niche for himself as a situational guy and a return man. Projects to a stud on ST and a 3rd down back.
15. Jon Cornish - 5115, 206, 4.62, Kansas
Was named the John Hadl Most Valuable Offensive Player of the Year at the team's annual end of the year awards banquet after his junior year.An Academic All-Big 12 second-team selection. Natural runner with excellent instincts, patience and vision. Very strong and has great balance. Makes good decisions on his cuts and is able to follow his blockers. Can be effective both inside and outside. Decent hands to be a good receiver out of the backfield. Very smart and a hard worker with top intangibles. A return man with special teams value.
Does not have very good speed and runs upright too often. Is not overly strong or physical and does not often put the hit on defenders but rather allows himself to take the hit first. Lacks wiggle and isn't very elusive. Only average as a blocker. Has some minor durability concerns. Ball security of a concern. Doesn't have much upside.
A late rounder for sure, he is also a valuable special teams player and could develop further. The type who does everything well but nothing great.
A 2nd round pick of the CFL's Calgary Stampeders in 2006...
Ramonce Taylor best write up
16. Jackie Battle - 6021, 235, 4.42 Houston
Battle is a hard running bruiser and a short-yardage ball carrier who only started during his senior year, but made the most of his chances in the Cougar's high-powered, pass-first offense. Talented player who gave the Cougars a powerful presence in the offensive backfield. One of the toughest players to bring down. Always falls forward. Has great vision and sees the holes well. Very good short yardage back. Elite size and measurables.
Needs to improve receiving skills and has to become a better blocker. Also needs to work on his break away speed and overall acceleration. Runs too straight sometimes. Great timed speed, but does not always play to that speed.
A mid rounder after his incredible numbers posted at his pro day, but may be best suited as a fullback at the pro level.
Houston RB Jackie Battle ran and caught the ball extremely well in his Pro Day on March 23. Had he been invited to the Combine, there would have been 10 NFL running back coaches on the UH campus.
17. Thomas Clayton - 5103, 218, 4.63, Kansas St.
Nicknames are "Hollywood" and "T-Gunn". Added to the Senior Bowl roster late as an injury replacement and made a positive impression. A good athlete with adequate speed and a burst. Terrific size and bulk. Physical, strong and runs hard. He will run through tackles and gain yards after contact. A big play threat who's able to take it the distance. Has solid hands as a receiver
Has some off-the-field trouble and character / attitude are major concerns. Not very elusive and will run too tall. Dances around too much. A sup par blocker with questionable instincts. Not a great route runner. He was never overly productive.
Arrested for aggravated battery in 2005, served multiple team issues suspensions and was demoted to 3rd string as a senior because he didn't get along with the coaching staff. Has the talent to make it at the next level but intangibles, not physical tools, are the main question marks.
18. Selvin Young - 5112, 207, 4.60, Texas
Never carried the load at the college level, serving as a backup to Cedric Benson and Jamaal Charles. Size, speed and bulk are adequate. Has a nice burst and is instinctive with good vision. Extremely versatile. Has good hands and is a weapon out of the backfield and is an above average blocker. Can also contribute as a return man on special teams.
Durability is a big concern. Many have wondered about his toughness. Not a strong or physical runner. Lacks wiggle and just isn't very elusive. His intangibles and work ethic are question marks. Does not consistently play up to his talent level.
Jack of all trades but master of none. Has talent but profiles as a backup. Could carve a niche for himself as a situational back / kick returner.
19. Kenneth Darby - 5103, 211, 4.75, Alabama
Ken Darby put together two straight 1000-yard rushing seasons for the Tide before seeing his production slide as a senior. He is one of the better RBs in the SEC because of his versatility and durability. Natural runner with great vision and instincts. He is a very elusive runner who possesses a sudden burst and the ability to change direction quickly without sacrificing speed. Shows very good patience. Darby has a compact, but solid frame with good lower body strength and exceptional balance. Tough, runs strong, hits the hole hard with a burst and always finishes. He protects the ball well and is comfortable carrying it in either hand as he's ambidextrous. He has been able to stay healthy in part because of his ability to avoid the big hit with his shiftiness.He's a capable receiver with good hands and precise route-running capabilities. Darby also is a solid blocker who doesn't shy away from contact and can read blitzes well. Carried the load in college and was very productive. Smart and a hard worker.
Despite his muscular build, Darby is more of a finesse runner than a power runner, and thus suffers a bit as a between-the-tackles runner if the hole isn't there. He is much more effective in space than in traffic. Runs too upright. His creative running sometimes has him taking chances and getting caught in the backfield. Has trouble turning the corner and won't do much damage running outside. While Darby has the ability to change and mask his speeds well, he doesn't possess much in the way of pure speed. While Darby is a willing and skilled blocker, he just doesn't have the bulk to do more than be a cut blocker or get in the way of the blitzers. Has some durability concerns. Upside is limited
Before the season, some prognosticators had Darby neck and neck with Kenny Irons in the SEC and had given Darby a first-round grade. Now, with a lackluster senior campaign and a poor showing at the combine, he has seen his stock drop and is likely a day two selection now. The type who does everything well but does not really stand out in any single area. An overachiever who gets the most out of his ability. Probably more of a backup at the next level. Darby would excel as a one-cut runner like the Broncos employ because of his field vision and burst through the hole.
20. Ramonce Taylor (5-11, 195 lbs.) Texas College RB/WR
Before anyone says anything, I know that Taylor played at the University of Texas. But Taylor is no longer a DI athlete, so he's in this group. Not too long ago he was the Longhorn's version of Reggie Bush, showing his ability to run the ball as well as split out WR and make plays in the passing game. Taylor's skills cannot be denied with blazing speed, incredible moves and excellent hands. His character, however, is definitely under some scrutiny. Great natural athlete that is more quick than fast and plays faster than he times. Has the speed to go outside and turn the corner. Extremely versatile and he has shown he can play with the best and stand out. Agile with nice balance. Very good hands and can be a weapon as a receiver. Explosive and is a big play threat. Really stood out at a couple of All-Star games. A fantastic return man. Still has upside.
Has some major off-the-field and character concerns. Intelligence and maturity are question marks. Size and bulk are just average. Not much of a blocker. Sub par inside runner. Doesn't break a lot of tackles. May only be a situational type.
Taylor's football career has spiraled into a nightmare. Ramonce, did you really call the police because someone broke your car window, all the while with five pounds of weed in your car? Either you are innocent or stupid….. Transferred to NAIA Texas College but did not play due to his academic troubles...Was kicked off the football team as a sophomore in high school ... Any-who, Taylor is still an incredible explosive athlete who I think projects very well as a slot receiver. If a team decides to roll the dice on his supreme athleticism, it could get a really good athlete. A top talent to be sure but some teams won't even consider drafting him due to all the baggage. A classic boom or bust pick who could be a steal if he keeps his head on straight or out of the league before he ever plays a game. An intriguing prospect to say the least.
D.D. Terry - 6006, 196, 4.40, Sam Houston State (RB/WR/S/LB/KR)
D. D. Terry, a senior from Willis, went from second string linebacker to Southland Conference “Offensive Player of the Year” in one incredible season.
Sam Houston State running back D.D. Terry first caught the attention of opposing coaches with an 85-yard rushing performance against the University of Texas. After that he caught fire, topping the century mark four straight games, including last week's 253-yard effort against McNeese State.
Not only did last week's game earn him Southland Conference player of the week recognition, but it also turned a few heads on the national scene. On Wednesday, Terry was one of three new players added to the Walter Payton Award watch list.
The Walter Payton award is presented annually by The Sports Network to the top offensive player in Division I-AA football. A total of 16 players are named to the watch list, which is revised throughout the season. The list will get one more revision on Nov. 20 before the ballot is sent out to selected media and sports information directors.
Gil Brandt, of NFL.com, reports Sam Houston State RB/DB D.D. Terry measured a height of 6-0 5/8 and a weight of 196 pounds at his Pro Day March 6. He had a 38 1/2-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot-1 broad jump and completed 12 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press.
ATT 215 | YDS 1,328 | TD 15
Clifton Dawson - 5100, 210, 4.49, Harvard
Harvard may not be known for cranking out football players any more, but Dawson is certainly the exception. He has already been drafted by the Toronto Argos of the CFL as Dawson is a native Ontarian. Toronto may have wasted a pick, though, as Dawson has what it takes to play Sundays in the NFL. During his senior season, he broke the career Ivy League rushing record held by Ed Marinaro. He originally enrolled at Northwestern and redshirted his freshman year before transferring to Harvard. Clifton Dawson possesses power and speed, two attributes that are wanted in a RB regardless of the league he plays in. He has excellent vision and can hit holes quickly. He's a patient runner who allows his linemen to block and then he chooses the path of least resistance. He's a tough runner who has avoided injury. He doesn't fumble. He's also a very good kick returner, having averaged more than 23 yards a return over his career. He's only returned 6 kicks in the past two years, but 2 of them have gone for TDs.
Dawson has gained all of his yards and scored all of his touchdowns against some dubious defenses, although, to his credit, his line doesn't do a whole lot for him either.
Dawson could really surprise people and hear his name called.
Gary Russell - 5103, 229, 4.77, Minnesota
This isn't any real surprise consider the problems that he's had in the classroom, but it does shake things up some. Following the 2005 season, Russell looked to be one of the budding superstars in college football, but all that feel apart when he was ruled academically ineligible for the 2006
season. He's bulked up to 215 pounds while retaining his speed. Good size and bulk. A natural runner with great vision, patience and instincts. Is more quick than fast and has a burst. Runs hard and doesn't go down easily. He knows how to get in the endzone. Does not have a lot of mileage on his tires. Can return kicks and help on special teams. Was very productive. Still has upside.
Timed speed is well below average. His intelligence and work ethic are question marks. Is not very strong. Limited as a receiver. He never carried the load in college. Overweight and out of shape at the Combine. Has not played in a year.
Backed up Laurence Maroney in 2005 and was set for a breakout season as the Gophers feature back in 2006 until he was forced to leave school due to his poor academics.
Blessed with as much talent as almost any running back in this draft, his interviews during individual workouts will be critical for him. Opted to go pro instead of getting his grades in order and applying for reinstatement. Was on pace to be a Day One pick and follow in the footsteps of Marion Barber and Maroney until he was sidetracked. Good player who could be a steal if he gets his head on straight. Terrific fit for a zone blocking scheme.
Ahmad Bradshaw - 5096, 198, 4.55, Marshall
Originally signed to play football at Virginia but never enrolled after he was arrested for underage alcohol possession and obstruction of justice. Was a walk-on at Marshall. Natural runner with top vision, instincts and patience. Very athletic. Gets the most out of every carry. Decent strength. Has excellent hands and is a good receiver out of the backfield. Has experience as a return man.
Size and bulk are just average. Lacks great timed speed, explosiveness and a burst. Won't run away from people. Racked up stats vs average competition. Sub par blocker. Not physical or tough. Has some character concerns. Limited upside.
Originally signed to play football at Virginia but never enrolled after he was arrested for underage alcohol possession and obstruction of justice. Was arrested again in 2006 for burglary and petit larceny. Not nearly the prospect his production would suggest. Profiles as more of a backup at the next level but his off-the-field troubles might very well cause him to go undrafted.
Nate Ilaoa - 5089, 245, 4.77, Hawaii
A unique runner who is a joy to watch. A poor man's Craig Heyward. A player on the rise who has just gotten better and better. Natural runner with great vision and instincts. Runs with authority. Breaks tackles galore and gets most of his yards after contact. Never avoids contact. Great, low, center of gravity. Productive. Runs like a player of his dimensions should. Blocks pretty well. Competes hard. Gets as much as he can possibly get on every touch. Started his career as a slot back and shows it with his hands. Extraordinary balance. Catches very well, and does the same after the catch that he does on running plays.
Shorter than you'd prefer. May be a little overweight. Timed speed is well below average. Leaves the ball exposed a bit. Running style may result in injury at the next level. Almost plays too hard at times, which leads to longevity concerns at the next level. Has some major durability and health issues. Upside is limited and he probably won't be more than a situational guy
A real warrior in every sense of the word who looks like a third-rounder at worst when you just watch him run and catch. Unfortunately, lack of notoriety may hurt some, and he will not run over NFL DBs and LBs the way he did WAC defensive players. Deserves to go no lower than the 5th round, but probably will. Could be a good third down/change of pace type in the pros due to his versatility if he can stay healthy.
Note: He was granted a rare sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA because he missed so much time due to injuries. Nate actually RSd in 2001, Bothered by a shoulder injury in '02, missed basically the entire '03 and '04 seasons with a knee injury and battled some minor ailments in '05 as well.
Tyrone Moss - 5092, 231, 4.75, Miami
Just when you thought Moss was going to be the next great University of Miami runningback, a torn ACL his junior season set him back. Has he fully recovered? He only played in 8 games this season. Numbers weren't great. Great size and bulk. A strong and powerful runner that plays faster than he times. Has excellent feet and plays with good pad level. Real tough. Good blocker. Terrific balance.
Timed speed is well below average and has battled weight problems for most of his career. Work ethic has been questioned. Sub par receiver. Won't make people miss. Suspended and lost his starting job as a senior. Health / Durability issues.
Will the knee hold up? Can he make you miss? A classic underachiever who has the talent but simply lacks the intangibles to maximize it. Junior year injury, early season suspension and low numbers may be the reason Moss goes undrafted.
Alonzo Coleman, 5-97/8 207 4.49, Hampton
Alonzo Coleman has been an incredibly durable and productive back and is 1 of 6 to have 4 1,000 seasons.He leaves Hampton as the MEAC's all-time leading rusher with 4,648 yards and 64 touchdowns. His Frosh year he way MEAC Rookie of the Year
Big back power and little back quickness has broken tackles, displayed good vision and cutback ability and can make big plays. Sudden and runs very hard but also shows the patience to allow blocks to develop. Can stop and go and make defenders miss in tight spaces. Can pull away once he gets in the open field.
Did not play against top competition. Doesn't have great hands and is a sub par blocker. Vision, instincts and patience are just average. Not a great inside runner. .He may only be a situational guy at the next level.
Not polished as a receiver and his running style may be a little to robust for his frame. At the next level he might get banged up unless he avoids solid contact. There are questions about if the talent rich HU squad made him look good. A terrific small school sleeper prospect but he'll have to make it as a 3rd down type at the next level and his lack of top receiving skills could hurt him. Might be a true bargain.
Ronnie McGill - 5108, 213, 4.65, North Carolina
Hard-nosed TB/FB tweener a little like Jamaal Anderson or Steven Davis, thou not as sudden. Has terrific size and bulk that is strong and powerful. Runs hard and breaks a lot of tackles. Good vision, instincts and patience. Excellent blocker. Smart and a hard worker. Has a nose for the endzone. A team leader with top-notch intangibles.
Not as big or fast as teams would like, has struggled to catch the ball and does not have good straight ahead speed. Timed speed and quickness are below average. Is not a big play threat and will not run away from anyone. Not real shifty or elusive. Has some durability concerns. Probably doesn't have a lot of upside.
Could also be looked at as a potential fullback. A jack-of-all-trades and the type who does everything well but nothing great. Probably won't ever be more than a backup in the NFL but if healthy he can contribute as a short-yardage/goaline guy.
His main strength is strength: squats 600+, a good blocker and could get bigger and become a Justin Griffiths type FB.
Justise Hairston - 6000, 222, 4.59, Central Connecticut St.
Justise Hairston is one of the most productive running-backs in 1-AA history. Hairston has been a monster as a senior at CCSU, clearly playing at a higher level than the competition. He was named the NEC Offensive Player of the Year and finished eigth in voting for the Walter Payton Award (1-AA's version of the Heisman). Hairston actually played a little at Rutgers, sharing the backfield with Brian Leonard as a freshman. Before that, he actually signed with Iowa (but ultimately went to Rutgers), and was recruited by teams like Michigan and Penn State. Clearly, he's a special talent. Opened eyes at both the Hula Bowl and the Texas v. The Nation game, and is a likely draft pick now. He has excellent size and bulk. A strong and powerful runner that is instinctive with nice vision. A patient runner. Tough and physical. Solid blocker. Coming off a great senior campaign. Athletic with some elusiveness and moves. He still has upside.
Level of competition, issues about why he didn't go to Iowa and transferred from Rutgers to CCSU. Timed speed is just average at best and isn't real explosive and lacks a burst. Runs too tall. Not a great receiver. May not be able to turn the corner and get outside in the NFL.
Played the first three years of his career at Rutgers but transferred down a level for his senior season when he was going to be stuck behind Ray Rice and Brian Leonard. A sleeper who could be a late round pick. Potentially a very pleasant surprise for someone.
Justin Vincent - 5104, 219, 4.65, L.S.U.
Justin Vincent is a real enigma. The former MVP of the national championship game, Vincent has fallen on hard times as a player. He's battled injuries and the doghouse and watched his opportunities and production decline. Has very good size and bulk with good vision and patience. More quick than fast and hits the hole hard. Good athlete with nice balance. A pretty good blocker. A great special teamer. Team leader with excellent intangibles. Might still have some upside.
Timed speed is below average and not very quick or explosive and lacks a burst. Does not have great hands and had some problems with fumbles. Not a big play threat. Struggles to get outside. Has durability issues.
He burst onto the scene as a true freshman and looked like a future star but was never able to recapture that glory. Tore his ACL at the end of the '05 season. A talented player who was stuck behind some other good running backs. Might be worth taking a late round flyer on in hopes that he can regain his confidence and fulfill that potential. He profiles as more of a backup at the next level if anything.
Eldra Buckley - 5095, 202, 4.48, Chattanooga
He became the leader of the offense and was the 2006 recipient of the Woodrow Wolford Sr. Football Scholarship.Very athletic. Solid size and bulk. Has pretty good speed and plays faster than he times. Nice vision and instincts. Quick, decisive with good vision and ability to cut back. Patient and understands blocking assignments and allows them to develop. Moves through the hole with purpose.A hard worker with nice intangibles. Has some upside and special teams potential.
Can be beaten to the edge and lacks the 2nd burst to accelerate once in the open field. Lacks size and power as a runner. Has improved as a receiver, but allows balls to get into his chest and lacks experience in pro-style route-running and pass blocking. Intelligence has been questioned. Upside is limited
A little like former Washington great Larry Brown he has muscular build, especially in his upper body. A solid sleeper prospect with decent measurables. He'll have to contribute as a return man and he probably won't ever be more than just a backup / situational type. An interesting late round developmental prospect.
2006 All-Southern Conference First Team: A senior from Charleston, Miss., Buckley led the league with 109.5 rushing yards per game. He gained 1,209 yards and scored seven touchdowns and produced back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons for the Mocs. First-Team All-SoCon by league’s coaches and Second-Team by the media and averaged 112.1 yards per game also the third-leading receiver with 15 catches for 137 yards and one score.
Danny Ware - 6-0, 225, 4.62, Georgia
Danny Ware declared as an early entry to the 2007 NFL Draft. He was part of a rotation at UGA before losing most of the carries to Kregg Lumpkin this past year. Not wanting to be part of the rotation again, he declared. Has great size and bulk. A natural runner with good instincts and vision. Nice balance. Decent hands and can contribute as a receiver out of the backfield. Versatile and has some experience at fullback. Solid blocker. Still has some potential.
Doesn't play like a guy who's as big as he is. Doesn't break a lot of tackles. Runs too high and has ball security issues. Is not explosive or a big play threat. Never carried the load in college and lost carries every year. Durability is a concern.
An intriguing developmental prospect who definitely has some physical tools to work with...Possible late round surprise.
Alvin Banks - 5109, 215, 4.52, James Madison
Very productive IAA back who put up some very good numbers in the Atlantic 10 over the years. Unfortunately, Alvin was injured in game 8 of the regular season in 2006. He bounced back well at the inaugural Inta-Juice Game on 1/13/07, however, and showed that he had returned to his earlier form. Has excellent size and bulk. He will break some tackles. Strong and powerful. More quick than fast and has good vision. Runs well between the tackles and can bounce well also. Decent hands as a receiver. Pretty productive with a nose for the endzone. He may also be able to contribute as a return man.
Did not play against top competition. Timed speed is just average at best and he is not very elusive. Is not explosive and lacks a burst. Runs too high. Won't be able to get outside in the NFL. He's not much of a big play threat. Has durability issues.
Missed a good portion of his senior season with a hamstring injury and dealt with a number of other ailments throughout his career. Interesting sleeper prospect who could get some looks late or as a free agent. At most he'll just be a backup.
Could make a roster as a UDFA because of his toughness and his ability to pick up short yardage when needed.
RB Arkee Whitlock (5-9, 195 lbs.) Southern Illinois
Whitlock really came on strong the past two years. He's shown a ton of development since leaving Coffeyville Community College. He's got a solid build, squatty frame and runs with a lot of quickness and he’s got a holster full of moves. He's been an incredibly productive player for SIU, and against pretty good competition. Two things really stand out that could hurt Whitlock this April. First is his straight line speed. Although he's very quick and elusive, he's not going to run away from anyone. Two years ago upon arriving at SIU, the team had some fun at Whitlock's expense because he could not outrun fellow running back, and current NY Giants RB Brandon Jacobs (Jacobs was 7 inches taller, and 60lbs heavier). The second thing that will hurt Whitlock’s draft stock is that he's a RB, a highly undervalued position. Despite the fact that Whitlock has all the making of a productive NFL player, he will be downgraded.
Courtney Lewis - 5109, 189, 4.51, Texas A&M
Natural runner with good vision and instincts...Displays good patience...Is more quick than fast and has a burst...Decent hands and runs good routes...Can also contribute as a return man...Pretty shifty and elusive...Has some big play ability.
Durability is a big concern...Size and bulk are just average...He lacks great timed speed...Is not very strong or tough...Is not a powerful runner...Won't break many tackles...His production decreased every year...Might only be a situational type.
Struggled in '06 and did not have a very good senior campaign...Showed some flashes early in his career and if he can stay healthy there's a chance he could revert to that form...Could contribute as a change of pace guy / special teamer.
Marcus O'Keith - 5110, 190, 4.42, California
RB Germaine Race - 5090, 218, 4.66, Pittsburg State
Race has been one of the most productive running backs in college football over the past 4 years at any level. He's amassed staggering rushing yards, and this past season became the leading scorer in NCAA history. Having personally watched Germaine play for his entire career, there's no doubt he runs very hard with a nice pad level, and works hard for every yard. But his speed is marginal, and to NFL scouts he's viewed as just another small school running back. At the start of the season his draft stock was firmly in day one, but some sub-par performances, especially in his all star game, have really driven him down. He's probably destined to go late on day two and end up a situational type player; short yardage, goal line carries, etc. Or if worked hard on his receiving and blocking, he could end up a hybrid FB/H-Back type of player.
Was dominant at the Division II level for the Gorillas...A top small school sleeper who was a big fish in a small pond...The speed factor will hold him back on Draft Day but it's hard to ignore those stats...Could be a decent backup / goal-line guy.
Hagan, we had kinda gone back and forth on the issue of Brian Leonard. I was wondering from this list, what other guys stand out to you as guys who we could draft later on (not as high as we would have to take Leonard) and who could contribute as a KR, situational 3rd down back in place of Stecker, and special teamer.
A few guys who stand out to me that I was familiar with prior to your analysis are Garrett Wolfe and Ramonce Taylor. But DD Terry and Clifton Dawson stand out after reading through your analysis. Wolfe would provide a solid presence as a return man, should be able to thrive on special teams if out of nothing else but a hard working attitude and trying to make his way through playing special teams, and would be a solid speedster on 3rd downs. My two concerns with him are although the analysis says solid hands, in the little time that I saw NIU play, he didnt seem much of a receiving threat out of the backfield. Also, his lack of size and ability to pick up rushers and blitzers on 3rd down worries me.
If, and this is a BIG if, Payton could straighten out Taylor's act, he could indeed be a huge steal. He has the speed and shiftiness to play KR. But the big appeal to me is the additional threat he would bring on third down. Essentially you could have Reggie 1 and Reggie Jr on the field at the same time with both being solid receiving threats, big play home run hitters, and both being able to split out wide and create hella mismatches. But of course, that is if he can straighten out his act.
Terry and Dawson also seem to be similar type players to these two that we could target in later rounds.
Are there any other guys that stand out to you, and what rounds do you think we could get some of these guys?
I wouldn't mind taking a flyer late on a RB. It would be folly to think that the Saints can keep Deuce and Reggie on the same team forever.
I'm a homer when it comes to SEC players, but I think Kenny Irons (Auburn had QB troubles, so teams keyed on Irons) and Kenneth Darby (Bama was a lot worse that people realize and it wasn't all Shula's fault) are going to be better than expected, and even Vincent may surprise people. I think we saw in the bowl games that the SEC defenses were way faster than the rest of the country.
To me, the most attractive guy is Wolfe. He was a top 5 back for his last two years and carried a sub-par Northern Ill. team against some quality opponents (as mentioned in Hagan's always top-notch analysis). He reminds me of a Kevin Faulk or a Westbrook or even Bush without the overwhelming talent. He's got good instincts and good character and could be a steal late.
Wolfe would make a very nice 2nd day pick. I've seen a majority of those backs play, besides the 2A guys, and this is the only guy I can see us drafting in the second day that would be worth it. I think he could make a good 3rd down back and help on special teams.
I wouldn't take a running back in the 3rd because we don't need one. But if we did, Hunt or Booker would be good 3rd round picks.
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