Running Backs

First Round


Kevin Jones

(6' 224 4.63) Virginia Tech Junior

Pros: Excellent quickness and elusiveness makes him tough to bring down in the open field. Has good power and the speed to break the long runs. Has solid hands out of the backfield. Shows good vision and can find holes.
Cons: Lacking pass protection and doesn't have a wealth of experience in the passing game. Tends to run a bit high.
NFL Forecast: Don't be fooled by his timed speed, Jones plays much faster than that number indicates. In fact, I'd be confident to say that on the field, he's at least a 4.4. It's been said that he has run as fast as a 4.1 in the past, which I think is much closer to his true speed than his recorded speed. He is going to be an excellent NFL player since he is a complete player. He's not the most dominating runner I've seen over the recent drafts, but he definitely will be a highly productive back on the next level. He needs some more polish especially in the passing game, but he possesses the soft hands you like and should be able to double his career totals (24 catches) in a single NFL season. As a runner he relies more on his speed than his power, so that will allow him to have added longevity in the NFL since he won't absorb as much punishment.
NFL Comparison: Terrell Davis.
Value: First Round. He's a complete back that should merit a Top 10 selection, but it's unlikely he will.

Steven Jackson

(6'2" 231) 4.56 Oregon State Junior

Pros: Has good power and loves to run through tacklers. Has good burst through hole and enough speed to bounce outside. Runs with good balance and has enough quickness to make tacklers miss. Has solid hands out of the backfield.
Cons: Lacks great vision and doesn't have burner speed. Needs more work on his pass protection and blitz pickup. Will sometimes make some poor decisions.
NFL Forecast: He's not a burner, but Jackson will not strictly be an inside runner. He has enough speed to make plays outside, although it's no secret that he'll do his best work inside. He needs a bit more polish as a runner, since I'm not enamored with his vision. He seems to be the type that does very well with what's given to him, but won't do much if you don't give him a lot. With a good group of guys up front, he's going to be a great workhorse. With a subpar line, he won't be too great, albeit still productive. He's not an off-field concern but some of his decision making looks to be a bit brash. That could lead to some problems down the line, but it's nothing that a little maturity will not cure, which will come with time.
NFL Comparison: Ricky Williams, Dolphins.
Value: First Round. Shows enough skills to be a Top 15 pick, but I'm not sure he's worth a Top 10 selection.

Second Round


Chris Perry

(6' 220 4.56) Michigan Senior

Pros: Runs with good power and balance. Has enough speed to get to the outside. Does a pretty good job in blitz pickup. He's a good north-south runner that has good vision.
Cons: He's no burner and won't outrun defenders and doesn't have great power to run through them.
NFL Forecast: Perry is a blue-collar running back like most of his Big Ten predecessors. Behind a good line, he can rack up big yards. Behind a so-so one, he'll rack up so-so yards. He's a good runner, but his speed and power don't stand out. He should be a productive pro, because he is a complete back, but he's never going to be a top runner. He may not be a feature back, more of a complementary type, although he's good enough to handle the No. 1 spot. He may be the best among the recent Big Ten runners, but not by a whole lot.
Value: Second Round.

Third Round


none.

Fourth Round


Ran Carthon

(5'11" 215 4.47) Florida Senior

Pros: He has good burst through and to the hole. He runs with good speed and power. Shows that he's capable of making plays in the passing game.
Cons: Doesn't have great speed to be able to run well outside the tackles. His vision is average.
NFL Forecast: Carthon is a good runner that looks like he can be a good complementary type on the next level. He's not a big play threat, but can consistently rack up yards between the tackles. He's not as fast on the field as his timed speed. He's nothing special, and probably won't be a feature back but he'd be a good pickup as a No. 2 that a team wanted to give the ball 10-15 carries per game. He seems to project best in the mold of Lamar Smith at the height of his career. He'll likely be capable of carrying the load, but he's not going to be the type of runner that scares defenses.
Value: Fourth Round. He has some good upside, but still needs work.

Cedric Cobbs

(6' 221 4.43) Arkansas Senior

Pros: Has good speed and ability to break the big runs. Shows good quickness and agility and can make tacklers miss in the open field. Shows nice burst through hole and good vision.
Cons: Not very powerful and won't run through tacklers. Doesn't play to his size and runs too upright. Will often hesitate and dance in the backfield before a hole opens up. Off-field incidents mar his record.
NFL Forecast: Cobbs has loads of upside, and has been doing a better job keeping his nose clean recently, but his "transgressions" are still a concern. He has good skills as a runner, although he'll need some time to adjust to the next level. He could develop into a quality feature back. But he has never been a reliable guy in college, so any team that drafts him should not expect him to be so in the NFL.
Value: Fourth round. His issues drop him to the second day although he probably is talented enough to be a late second round pick.

Maurice Clarett

(5'11" 237 4.63) Ohio State Sophomore

Pros: Has good power and shows ability to make people miss in the open field. Has capable hands and is good in pass protection and blitz pickup. Has pretty good vision.
Cons: Lacks great speed and won't breakaway from anybody. Dances too much in the backfield and doesn't hit the hole quickly or with a lot of power. Character issues are a concern. Durability is also a concern since he's never been healthy for a full season.
NFL Forecast: Clarett can eventually grow into a solid NFL player, but he's not ready yet. He doesn't really stand out as a runner. He's better running inside than he is outside since he lacks great edge speed. But he's not overly powerful and prefers to make people miss than mixing it up and throwing his body around. That will add a few more years to his career of course, but you would at least like to see him trying to run people over more. His character issues come in the form of his commitment to improving and playing football. He only seemed to be going through the motions at Ohio State, and was ready to push to go into the NFL after his freshman year despite not really being that good. He has good upside, but he's going to need a few years to grow up mentally and physically. I forecast that could develop into a decent starter, but won't be a top back in the NFL.
Value: His upside pushes him into the fourth round, on a player that really is only a fifth round talent. Not eligible for draft.

Fifth Round


Fred Russell

(5'7" 195 4.53) Iowa Senior

Pros: He has acceleration and burst to the hole. Good breakaway speed that allows him to turn any run into a touchdown. Is quick with sharp cuts and able to make tacklers miss.
Cons: Lacks size which brings up questions of durability. Won't run through tacklers and goes down on first contact most times. Lacks experience in the passing game. Will sometimes dance a bit too much in the backfield.
NFL Forecast: When he's juking and doding he reminds you a bit of Barry Sanders. Russell is a big play threat that like Sanders could take it to the house on any given play. Although he lacks size, he has enough strength in his small frame to carry the ball 15-20 times per game. But he really needs to improve himself in the passing game if he really wants to have a bright NFL future. Teams loathe small backs that can't catch, so his touches may be limited early in his career until he develops there.
NFL Comparison: Warrick Dunn, Falcons.
Value: Fifth Round. Good speed back, but his weaknesses in the passing game hurts his value

Brandon Miree

(6' 226 4.59) Pittsburgh Senior

Pros: A powerful insider runner that has good vision. Has some quickness and can make some people miss in the open field. Gets north to south quickly and has pretty good hands. Runs with good balance and low to the ground.
Cons: Lacks outside speed. Not a great receiver or in blitz pickup. Sometimes lacks burst to the hole. Won't break too many long runs.
NFL Forecast: He's a methodical type runner, that continually picks up yards. But he's never going to be a huge playmaker. He's better served in a complementary role since he is not truly gifted enough to be a feature back. He could make a good short-yardage back on the next level. He missed much of his senior year with a calf injury, but didn't seem to show any ill effects of it when he returned late in the season.
Value: Fourth Round. A good power inside runner that should be productive, but lacks the upside to be a feature back.

Sixth Round


Bruce Perry

(5'8" 196 4.42) Maryland Senior

Pros: Has good speed and can make tacklers miss. Will break the long runs and runs with good power for size. Is a decent receiver.
Cons: Struggles when running inside, and is always looking for a way to bounce outside. Has a poor injury history and has been unable to stay healthy the past two years. Usually goes down on first contact.
NFL Forecast: Perry will throw a flurry of moves in order to shake defenders, such as stiff arms, spins, and hurdles, but because he doesn't have blazing speed, he's not a great running back. He looks like he can be a good complementary runner on third downs if he can show more as a receiver. He's capable there, but nothing special. He won't ever be a feature back, but he should be a productive backup.
Value: Sixth Round. A capable runner, but injuries and lack of size hurt him.

Quincy Wilson

(5'9" 221 4.67) West Virginia Senior

Pros: Has decent speed and good power to run through tacklers. Because of lack of height runs with low center of gravity and good balance.
Cons: His speed is not great, and he won't be able to outrun a lot of people on the next level. He won't make a lot of people miss in the open field. Lacking as a receiver.
NFL Forecast: He looks like a nice option as an inside guy. I don't think he'll be a feature back, but a quality complementary type that gets his yards inside and on short-yardage situations. He's going to make it to the next level, but it's questionable if he'll ever be more than a situational backup.
Value: Sixth Round. Lacks upside to be a starter, so he's not worth much more than this.

Seventh Round


Zack Abron

(5'9" 231 4.68) Missouri Senior

Pros: Is a good north-south runner that runs with good power. He has good burst through the hole. Shows some ability as a blocker. Has some juke in his step. Has experience in the passing game.
Cons: Won't make tacklers miss in the open field. Loses balance and speed when he makes cuts. Lacks vision.
NFL Forecast: Shows he's the type that will run through defenders rather than around them. I could see Abron might get some looks as a fullback. He's not a very good blocker and would need a lot more polish, but if a team wanted him to make the switch and he was willing to learn, it could work. But I see him not as a fullback, but as a situational runner that will get a lot of work in goalline situations on the next level.
Value: Seventh round. He boosts depth, but he is only a situational guy.

Adim Echemandu

(5'11" 226 4.33) California Senior

Pros: Decent inside runner that hits the holes quickly. Has good burst shows some ability as a north-south runner. Shows that he can be a capable receiver and can pick up the blitz.
Cons: Doesn't have breakaway speed or outside speed. Needs get push up front to get positive yards since he won't break too much tackles. Lacks vision.
NFL Forecast: Looks like he could stick as a third down back, but he's not a gifted runner. Won't ever be the type of runner that can carry a full load, and may only deserve 5-10 touches per game at most. His abilities in the passing game, both as a receiver and blocker, are pretty solid relative to most collegiate prospects, which should help him stand out a bit. He has good size, but doesn't use it well to break tackles, it just gives him some added durability.
Value: Seventh Round. Has ability to contribute immediately on third downs, but won't be much more than a backup.

Jason Wright

(5'10" 209 4.66) Northwestern Senior

Pros: He runs hard and plays with good balance. Has good combination of strength and elusiveness. Makes good cuts in the open field. A good north-south runner that has good vision and burst and will hit holes quickly.
Cons: Needs to develop more in the passing game since his hands and blocking are lacking. Doesn't have great breakaway speed and won't outrun defenders. Won't run through tacklers.
NFL Forecast: Is physically overmatched for the NFL, but he is a hard worker and hard runner that is going to stick because of that. Similar things were said about Marcell Shipp when he came into the NFL as well. Won't become a feature back but could be a very productive No. 2 runner. He's the type of backup that coaches love having on their rosters.
Value:

Undrafted


Rodney Davis

(5'8" 216 4.75) Fresno State Senior

Pros: Has good speed and elusiveness in the open field. Can be a homerun hitter. Hits the hole quickly with good burst. Good outside runner that runs with good balance.
Cons: Doesn't have a lot of power and won't run through tacklers. Needs more development in the passing game. Not an inside guy.
NFL Forecast: He's not an in-between the tackles guy which is really going to hurt him when he tries to adjust to the next level. He looks like he could possibly be a decent change of pace runner, but really needs to improve his abilities as a receiver to stick on the next level. If he can improve his abilities in the passing game, he could be a decent third down option, but for the most part he's an NFL longshot.
Value:

Brandon Warfield

(5'10" 209 4.88) Utah Senior

Pros: Has good speed to bounce to the outside. Gets good burst through hole. Has nice power and runs with good momentum and balance
Cons: Will dance a bit in the backfield. Lacks the power that he is going to run through tacklers and is not overly shifty to make tacklers miss in the open field. Shows little ability in the passing game.
NFL Forecast: Warfield has enough speed to be a decent complementary runner on the next level. He needs to improve as a receiver in order to be a third down runner. Plays in a spread formation, so he would probably have difficulty adjusting to an offense where he would follow a lead blocker.
Value: Undrafted. A capable runner, but just doesn't have a whole lot of upside.

David Mikell

(5'10" 196 4.57) Boise State Senior

Pros: Has good burst and speed as a runner. Has good elusiveness and hard to bring down in the open field. Has ability as a kickoff returner.
Cons: Lacks size and power. Will go down on initial contact. His cuts and jukes are not as sharp as you would like. Needs more development in the passing game both as a receiver and blocker.
NFL Forecast: Mikell has a shot to make it as a complementary change of pace runner. But he's not as gifted a runner as some similarly sized players around the nation. His best chance lies in his abilities as a return man. If he can excel there, he has a chance to stick on an NFL roster.
Value: Undrafted. Only really has NFL upside if he can develop as a return man.

 

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