ROY HELU JR.
40: 4.42 (estimated)
A tough, physical north-south runner with decent straight-line speed. Has good burst to and through hole and can deliver blow to linebacker in the hole. Craves contact and knows how to run behind his pads and smash up the middle. Keeps his feet moving after contact and fights for extra yards. Runs with nice balance.
Lacks speed to turn the corner. Lacks shiftiness and not a guy that can make guys miss. Lacks burst out of his cuts and has to stop his feet to change direction. Lacks the vision and lateral quickness spring the big run when he gets to the second level. Is a limited receiver out of the backfield and tends to body catch. Will miss some assignments when in blitz pickup.
Helu is a powerful straight-line runner that teams will be impressed with his power and toughness. But he's pretty one-dimensional player. He struggles when you force him to run outside the tackles, but shines when you can run him between them. And has the potential to fit a one-cut scheme as a reserve. He was a productive starter for Nebraska the past two years, combining for 408 carries, 2392 yards (5.9 avg) and 21 touchdowns, with 24 catches.
Helu can compete in the NFL, but he'll likely have to do so on special teams early on. He is a powerful runner, but his vision, speed, and ability in the passing game are too limited to be a valuable option on offense. He has potential to develop as a short-yardage back. He'll fit best on a team like Tennessee that has an explosive speed back like Chris Johnson, and will just use Helu to spell him on short-yardage and goalline situations. Some teams might be smart to try and convert him to a fullback, where his upside can be higher because of his limited versatility. If he was to bulk up to 240 or so, he could be a powerful lead blocker. But that's several years down the road, and in the mean time he'll have to produce on special teams to stick long enough to develop there. He can be a nice backup option for most teams, but he's not a guy that is an ideal fit to be a regular contributor on offense besides a situational role. The player he reminds me of is a smaller version of Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala.
Helu is a powerful runner that would mesh with the Falcons physical running attack, but he doesn't have the versatility to impact in the passing game to really like his chances in Atlanta. His value in Atlanta would probably be more likely to develop as a long-term option at fullback. As a reserve runner, he could be an OK third back, but lacks the upside to really move up the depth chart.
Helu is a nice late round option for a team looking for a short-yardage runner, and would be worth a sixth or seventh round pick for a team trying to use him in that role.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Scouting reports of the running backs and fullbacks in the 2011 Draft.
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