Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Prospects - Running Backs

1 – Mikel Leshoure (Illinois)
2 – Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech)
3 – Mark Ingram (Alabama)
4 – Jordan Todman (Connecticut)
5 – DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma)
6 – Daniel Thomas (Kansas State)
7 – Shane Vereen (California)
8 – Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State)
9 – Delone Carter (Syracuse)
10 – Bilal Powell (Louisville)
11 – Graig Cooper (Miami)
12 – Jamie Harper (Clemson)
13 – Noel Devine (West Virginia)
14 – Derrick Locke (Kentucky)
15 – Dion Lewis (Pittsburgh)
16 – Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State)
17 – Stevan Ridley (LSU)
18 – Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska)
19 – Taiwan Jones (Eastern Washington)
20 – Da’Rel Scott (Maryland)

This RB class has a bit of something for everyone. There’s power (Leshoure, Ingram, Thomas), speed (Todman, Devine, Locke), and versatility (Williams, Murray, Vereen). Leshoure is still my favorite; a complete back who has the durability to perform well in the pros for many years. For a guy who sits at about 230, he shows an impressive burst through the line and shake/cutting ability…..Williams had an unimpressive sophomore season, but I love his vision and ability to explode through the hole and consistently rack up positive yards. He’s a franchise back…..Ingram will likely be the first one off the board, and while I think he’ll be a fine pro, I believe the other two have higher upsides. Ingram reminds me of Emmitt Smith; not the best speed but a successful inside runner who displays consistently preferred pad level…..I was a little surprised that Todman declared, but he’s someone on my radar for the Bucs sitting as the first back behind what I see as the big three. He’s an explosive, shifty runner with plus vision; the type of compliment I think the Bucs need behind LeGarrette Blount. Connecticut ran the hell out of him this year to the tune of 334 carries, so he’s proven his durability…..Murray’s a quick accelerator with breakaway speed. I think he’ll make a big impact in the pros as a receiver out of the backfield. He runs too high at times and has had durability issues in the past, but I was impressed with how healthy and durable he was this season…..Vereen reminds me of a quicker but less solid/durable Ray Rice. He runs low to the ground and through more tackles than you’d expect for a guy his size…..Carter enters with some injury and off field baggage, but the dude is ripped and has the skill set to be a primary back at the next level. He’s not a true sleeper, but he’s getting very little buzz at this point…..This is higher than you’ll see him anywhere else, but if healthy, Cooper is going to be one of this draft’s best bargains. He was for real and was set to be a fairly high draft pick before he blew out his ACL in last year’s bowl game. He’s fallen off the radar, but prior to the injury, Cooper was projecting as a complete back at the next level. He isn’t spectacular in any particular area, but he’s a solid combination of power running, vision, and receiving skills. Again, I’d prefer someone like Todman for the Bucs, but I’d be very pleased with taking a flier on Cooper later on in the draft.

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