PROS: Has dangerous speed and elusiveness, and is a very good cutback runner. Is consistently able to beat defenders to the corner and is dangerous once he gets on the second level and in the open field. Has good burst and acceleration, and breaks quickly out of his cuts to make defenders miss. Has good hands and shows nice ability to adjust to the pass. Can work in the slot as well and does a good job on screen passes. Shows elusiveness to avoid the big hits and shows some toughness as a runner between the tackles. Also showed excellent potential as a return threat.
CONS: Not a power runner and while he doesn't typically avoid contact, he won't get many yards after it or break much beyond arm tackles. Can be tentative at times running inside. Dances too much at times looking to bounce the play outside. Not used much in pass protection, so he's a work in progress there. Has durability issues.
OVERVIEW: Best is an explosive big-play threat that has speed to burn. But he's been nicked up quite a bit during his college career, so concerns about his durability. He suffered a concussion this past year which caused him to miss 4 games. He also had to deal with foot and elbow surgeries last spring. But still managed to be productive averaging 6.1 yards per carry on 141 carries and 867 yards. Also had 22 catches and 16 total touchdowns. Had a better year as a sophomore with 1580 yards (8.1 avg), 27 catches, and 16 total TDs. For his career returned 31 kickoffs and for an average 26.6 yards.
NFL FORECAST: Best and C.J. Spiller are similar players, but I think purely as a runner, Best is the better player. But at this point, I believe Spiller is the better blocker, slightly better return threat, and has far less lingering injury issues from college, so he's probably more likely to impact from day one. Best is going to have to get bigger and stronger if he's going to be a huge part of the offense. He can start off as a guy that gets 10-15 carries per game as a complementary back. Hopefully with a few years he can add 5-10 more pounds of muscle and stay healthy and prove that the durability issues are behind him. Remember Adrian Peterson also had a lot of injuries in college, and while he hasn't been perfectly healthy in the pros, he's been a lot more than he was in college. But with his slighter frame, I'm not sure he'll ever be able to hold up full-time to the NFL punishment. So it wouldn't surprise me at all if he isn't on the field anymore than someone like Jerious Norwood has been throughout his career. But Best is a more explosive playmaker than Norwood, so even if he is limited to only 100 or so carries a year, he'll make the most of it.
ATL FORECAST: Best has the potential to be a great complementary runner behind Turner. He's not a proven commodity in pass protection, so he may not be able to reach his full potential until two or three years down the road where he can be trusted as the sole option on passing downs. But he'll get opportunities to play because he's more explosive than Norwood, even if he's forced to split carries in order to keep both of them rested. He also could help out as a returner on special teams which won't help his durability, but at least would give the team a reason to keep him active on Sundays as a rookie. He has more potential to be an feared weapon for the Falcons offense down the road, but I'm not confident he'll stay on the field anymore than Norwood has over the past few years.
VALUE: If not for his durability issues, he'd be a rock-solid Top 15 talent. Instead, I'd probably drop him to the beginning of the second round because of those injuries.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average,4-very good, 5-elite
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.