Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois

Scouting reports of the running backs and fullbacks in the 2011 Draft.
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Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois

Postby Pudge » Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:17 pm

Illinois Junior
40: 4.50 (estimated)


Has a good combo of power and speed. Keeps his feet moving upon contact and fights for extra yards. Shows ability to be a physical downhill runner, lowering the shoulder to deliver blow to linebacker or defensive back. Shows nice balance and burst as a runner, able to make guys miss on the second level. Hard to tackle one on one in space. Can make the jump cut to bounce things outside on the second level, or juke defender with a good spin move. Has the speed to make the big play. Patient, waits for his blocks. Is an effective outlet receiver out of the backfield.


Runs a bit too upright. Not as powerful a runner when he gets north and south, and not a great tackle breaker. Tends to try and juke too much rather than running behind his pads and running over guys. Needs to do a better job securing the ball against his body when he gets into the clear and open field. Has to slow or stop his feet at times when trying to make cuts, and doesn't always show that explosive lateral burst. Can be less effective when trying to go east and west because of that. Dances a bit too much in the backfield waiting for holes to open. Doesn't play with great vision and can be tentative about hitting the hole. Gives minimal effort in pass protection.


Leshoure has a good combo of quickness, speed, and power, but he doesn't really excel in any one area. His lack of vision may hurt him. He'll probably fit best in a one-cut system behind a zone blocking line and is probably not as good between the tackles as a player with his size should be. Became the full-time rusher as a junior, with 281 carries for 1697 yards (6.0 avg) and 17 touchdowns, finishing third in the nation in yards. As a sophomore, he was the leading rusher but split touches at running back, but still had 108 carries for 734 yards (6.8 avg) and 5 touchdowns. He combined for 31 receivers and 5 more scores in those two seasons.


Many will compare Leshoure to Rashard Mendenhall, and they are very similar with the way ran at Illinois, as well as their size/speed combo. I think Mendenhall was a bit more explosive and aggressive runner while in school. But what Mendenhall has done since joining the Steelers is really improve his footwork. If Leshoure were to do the same I think he could start to really live up to his potential. Leshoure has the potential to get better there because he's a good athlete, and if he does he can be a guy that can fit and do well in any scheme. I don't see him as an elite runner, but he can be productive guy that probably most years can give you 1100-1400 yards. How high he is in that range will largely depend on how many big runs he can break. He's not the fastest guy, but flashes the explosive potential to be dangerous on the second level. How good an NFL runner he will be ultimately I think will depend on him improving his footwork and doing a better job running lower to the ground to avoid the big shots. I think like Mendenhall, he's a guy that will be ideally used as a complementary rusher early in his career as a 15-20 carry before teams try to use him as a guy that logs 25-30 carries. I think he can be an effective receiver and be a guy that can catch 30-40 passes a year if a team wants, but a lot of that will depend on how quickly he adjusts to pass protection in order for him to get those opportunities. But I don't think that's going to take too long if he works at it. PLaying behind a more zone-oriented, single back offense probably is the easiest transition for him. But I think he can also play in a man-oriented line behind a fullback, it'll just take a bit longer for him to transition and develop there.


Leshoure has potential to be a good replacement for Turner down the road. I don't think he's going to come in as a rookie and make a huge impact. Not sure he's good enough in the passing game to take significant reps from Snelling there, and as a runner, he'd be used more in spots to spell Turner. More than likey he'd probably only get 3-5 touches per game as a rookie. But as time wears on, and presumably Turner begins to slow down as he approaches 30, Leshoure should get more opportunities, and probably by his third season if not sooner be ready to spell Turner as the Falcons lead back. He's more explosive than Turner, not as physical, but as he develops should be a fine lead back in the Mularkey-style offense. I don't think he would need to be as reliant on having a lead blocker like Mughelli, which would allow the Falcons to use a bit more spread formations in the future and try to get him more involved in the passing game as well.


Leshoure has good potential, but needs some polish which prevents him from being an ideal first round candidate. Instead, he's more in line with early second round talent, but is definitely worth a Top 50 pick because of his potential to be a good NFL running back.

1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

Speed: 3.5
Power: 3.5
Agility: 3.5
Vision: 2.5
Hands: 3.0
Blocking: 2.0
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Re: Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois

Postby OGDraft » Sun Mar 06, 2011 7:57 pm

Height: 6’0
Weight: 227
College: Illinois
40 Time: 4.55
Class: Junior
Projected: 1st-2nd Round


2010 – 282 rushes, 1706 yards, 6.1 avg, 17 TD’s, 17 catches, 196 yards, 3 TD’s
2009 – 108 rushes, 734 yards, 6.8 avg, 5 TD’s, 14 catches, 177 yards, 2 TD’s
2008 – 35 rushes, 126 yards, 3.6 avg, 1 TD, 6 catches, 66 yards


Mikel LeShoure climbed up draft boards this year after a very impressive season. He has the potential to be a good back at the next level but he has a lot of weaknesses to his game. He doesn’t have quick feet and his vision is average. He’s best suited in a one-cut system where he can just hit the hole and break a few tackles. Too often he tries to dance around and stops his feet which leads him to getting tackled for a loss.

Scouting Report:


- Nice combo of size and overall athleticism
- Extremely productive Junior season
- Powerful build
- Can run through tackles
- Lowers his pads and delivers hits on defenders
- Has a nice burst
- Hard to bring down in the open field
- Always falls forward when tackled
- Keeps his legs moving after contact
- Capable receiver out of the backfield
- Has the size to carry the load as a #1 back in the NFL


- Pretty inexperienced
- Lacks great vision
- Dances around too often instead of just hitting the hole
- Doesn’t have a lot of wiggle to his game
- Stops his feet at times
- Doesn’t have very quick feet or lateral quickness
- Lacks the speed to be a home run threat
- Sometimes he tries too hard to fall forward and goes down easily
- Body catches a lot of passes and could lead to drops
- Poor pass blocker
- Was suspended for a game in 2009 for violating team rules
- Got into a fight with a former teammate

1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

Speed: 2.5
Power: 3.5
Agility: 2.5
Vision: 2.5
Hands: 3.0
Blocking: 2.0
Pro Potential: 3.0
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