PROS: He has good speed, burst, and balance as a runner. He changes direction quickly with a good jump cut and nice footwork in the hole. Does a nice job weaving through traffic and making defenders miss at the second level. Has nice vision, follows his blocks and avoids hits. He can set up defenders on the second level. He's a capable receiver with good hands that can make the catch in the flat as well as be effective on screens and wheel routes. Doesn't appear to have a high learning curve in regards to pass protection.
CONS: Doesn't have much power, as his legs will go dead on contact at times. Also will run a bit too high. Looks to bounce it outside a bit too much. Needs to improve in pass protection and misses too many assignments there.
OVERVIEW: He is the cousin of Edgerrin James. He's a speed back that would work best in a one-cut zone-blocking scheme. He can be a solid third down receiver and can contribute fairly quickly in that role. But he's not the ideal back to be a full-time feature back.
NFL FORECAST: He should be able to quickly impact as a third down option for a team, particularly in his first year or two. He'll work ideally in tandem with another back, limiting his carries to around 10-15 per game. He'd be better off the bench than as a starter, but he could be an effective lead back behind a good offensive line. His skill set is comparable to Chester Taylor. But I think he's a little quicker than Taylor, and a little less powerful. Taylor was an effective starter for a year and a half in Minnesota, but spent the majority of his career as a reserve and third down. I think the same will be said of James, but he should be productive in that role just like Taylor has been.
ATL FORECAST: James has a chance to push Norwood as the third down back. He likely wouldn't supplant Norwood as a rookie, but in case Norwood can't stay healthy, he should make a nice depth option. James has the speed to be a factor as a change of pace back behind Turner, but I'm not sure he has the ideal upside to be a potential replacement for Turner in a few years. Instead, he'll probably be stuck behind a better back. But he would make a solid long-term third down option for the Falcons. But like a Chester Taylor, he's one of those guys htat would likely look for greener pastures after his rookie contract expires. So essentially the Falcons would be renting James as their third down back for about three years, assuming he replaces Norwood in 2011.
VALUE: He's a nice middle round pick. He'd be a solid fourth round pick, but a reach anytime before that.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average,4-very good, 5-elite
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.