When linebackers roamed the gridiron in the 1940s, overy speed.
Feet: Step and replace, quickness, COD (change of direction).
Pedal: Traditional over toe technique, open bale, foot quickness/speed; smooth hip transition; upright in movement, smooth, stiffness, struggles in/out of transition; COD with burst; stem and adjust to receiver routes; maintain cushion and accelerate pedal.
Plant/Burst: Body control and balance in plant; transition smooth without hesitation; click and drive, initial burst to close on ball and receiver in space.
Bump/Press: Physical toughness, competitive, strong UOH, arm length, win at LOS, aggressive hand combat, re-route receiver.
Pursuit: Relentless chase and pursuit with production.ill, Penn State
DT and good UOH to stab defender breast plate with recoil and effective double arm bar. When his pad level and numbers get high, it allows defenders into his numbers; however, works to recover, sink hips and drop anchor. Plays with excellent technique, good knee bend with anchor and solid base; rarely knocked off balance, with great feet to slide and redirect to remain frontal of defender. DeCastroear with build-up acceleration; breakaway threat; explosive; never caught from behind.
Ball Control: High and tight, swings outside of frame when cutting or in traffic, two hands on goal line.
Fumbler: Why?; courage; careless; in/out of traffic; physical make-up.
Routes: Ability to avoid defenders in route, type (cross, out, swing etc); gathers self; quickness out of break with separation.
Adjust: Flexibility to adjust to poorly thrown balls.
Hands: Natural receiving skills, soft or hard; extends to catch outside of frame; body catcher; snatcher, cradle catcher.
Break Tackles: YAC (yards after contact) production; strength and toughness; exploding at POA; natural run instincts after contact.
Lower Body: Large thighs, buttocks, strength and explosion in lower extremity, powerful hips, good vertical jump.
Special Teams: Coverage ability; return skills.
*Trent Richardson Alabama 5-9 ¼ 228 4.43e 5A Player of the Year out of the state of Florida, didn’t miss a beat when he hit Alabama, other than splitting time with Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. Richardson is an underclassman, a true warrior, extremely competitive and tough with a compact frame, low center of gravity with explosive and powerful lower body, and an excellent athlete. Has exceptional balance with hit and spin and continuous movement bouncing off defenders. His large muscle mass accounts for his durability (knee scope results prior to Combine are not available), which will aid him in contributing immediately as a workhorse for the next level of competition. Very good initial quickness to press LOS (line of scrimmage) with burst and acceleration to bounce to open space off power and stretch plays. An inside runner to drop pad level and truck defenders with explosive collision, leg pump, drive and finish to drag multiple defenders on a single play, and always falls forward. Best running back in the draft in YAC (yards after contact) production, and second effort. Has excellent feet to skip and skate with exceptional vision in tight space to backside cut, and then moves north and south with no wasted movement. Has excellent football instincts with very good patience to follow pulling linemen, and leaks to open space quickly. Has a strong stiff arm to create separation. Very good speed in open space to defy angles, reaches top speed quickly. I love his energy level, starts the game and finishes the game with the same juice and explosiveness for a full 60 minutes. A blue player (playmaker and difference-maker) with impact plays in every game viewed in 2010 and 2011. Has natural receiving skills to catch balls with hands outside his frame with good RAC (run after catch) production. Very good ball protection in and out of traffic, will swing ball outside frame in open space at times, needs to clean that up, carries it high and tight most of the time, with no dominant hand and fumbling is not an issue. Talking with team sources at the Combine, several teams had concerns with the stiffness in hips and his ability to change direction and restart with burst at the next level. I do see some stiffness and want to see his short shuttle and three-cone numbers from his Pro Day as well. For me he is not a pick and slide runner, he is a north and south pounder. I love this player’s DNA (film). When I spoke with him at the Combine, his personality is as competitive as his in-game playing ability, a well-spoken young man. Richardson will need to continue to develop in pass protection, blitz recognition and route-running skills from NFL tutelage. Despite good kickoff return skills, they will not be needed at the next level. Several sources mentioned a few character concerns, but not enough major issues to effect draft status. Career Production: Games played/games started 38/15, attempts 540, yards 3,130, average per carry 5.8, touchdowns 35; 68 receptions, receiving yards 730, receiving touchdowns 7. Top 5 Pick
RB *David Wilson Virginia Tech 5-9 208 4.40 An underclassman with dual and versatile (runner, receiver, returner) skills who split time at running back in 2010 with limited production, but as the fulltime starter in 2011 he was the workhorse running for 1,709 yards and a 5.9 average. An exceptional athlete, despite being the lightest of the running backs in my top five, he has the frame to add muscle mass in his upper body and should top out at 215-218. He is a competitive, tough and aggressive runner. Aligns in the single-back formation with very good burst and acceleration out of stance to press LOS (line of scrimmage) on power, stretch, roll and draw plays to attack play side or bounce laterally to open space. Very good vision and run instincts with elusiveness in open field, and is equipped with the combination of quickness, speed, gear change with stop and restart burst. Slightly upright runner with inconsistent pad level on defender approach in space. Has excellent lower body strength, which was displayed at the Combine with a 41-inch vertical jump and 11-0 standing broad jump which contributes to his good balance and YAC (yards after contact) production and is rarely knocked off his feet. Good second effort and finish with the ability to break arm tackles. Wilson is willing on inside runs, is competitive to lower pad level, pump legs and fights for the extra yards, good hand down balance with explosion out the back end of the hole. This runner excels once he is in open field, and is more of a space runner. Very good feet and cutting ability to string together several moves in a single play, excels with one cut stick and go production. In my opinion, Wilson can carry the load within several schemes within the NFL, worst case scenario a one-two punch, complementary back. Very good nose for the goal line with second effort to dive for pylon with red-zone production. Has soft hands and flashed natural receiving skills, will cradle at times. Will need further development in pass protection to become a complete back in the NFL, recognition of blitz packages and ball security to carry high and tight (has fumble history). Was great young man to talk to at the Combine; very personable and well spoken. Career Production: Games played/games started 40/16, attempts 462, yards 2,662, average per carry 5.8, touchdowns 18; receptions 37, receiving yards 363, receiving touchdowns 5. First-Round Talent
RB Doug Martin Boise State 5-9 ¼ 223 4.48 I hate to compare players and like to grade them off their skill set alone and I did that with Martin, but after watching some of his DNA (film), I got up and cleared my thoughts in order to not disrupt my evaluation and on the last five games it was clear, he indeed carries the same attributes and skill set as Pro Bowl runner Ray Rice. Very good athlete with compact frame is extremely strong, competitive, and tough runner with explosion and finish. Aligns in single back and offset formations with quickness to press LOS (line of scrimmage) and burst and acceleration to open space. Has very good vision and run instincts with great feet in cutting ability to change direction and is very smooth with excellent balance. Can move laterally full speed with jump cut and change direction. A pick and slide type runner with speed in open space to glide and weave through traffic and defies angles once in secondary doing a great job forcing the defender to chase. Slippery in space and tough to tackle. Has good speed not great and was run down in several games viewed. A straight-line inside runner with pad level, leg drive and pump with explosive YAC (yards after contact) production to collision and run over defenders on finish, works to leak to open space quickly if given daylight. His finish was good, but I saw an inconsistency in falling forward, getting stood up and pushed backwards, despite very good second effort to spin out and break arm tackles at first, second and third levels. Has natural receiving skills with soft hands, body adjustment and contort. Very little wasted motion as a runner or receiver in space. Runner with a strong stiff arm. Willing blocker with production, was slightly exposed at Senior Bowl because of technique; will need further development at the next level, but willingness, competitiveness and toughness as a blocker are all in place. Talking to several team sources, level of competition remains a question mark moving forward. I feel his passion for the game and skill set allows for an immediate and high productive contribution as a rookie. Career Production: Games played/games started 51/25, attempts 617, yards 3,431, average per carry 5.6, touchdowns 43; receptions 67, receiving yards 715, receiving touchdowns 4. Second-Round Talent
RB Chris Polk Washington 5-10 ½ 215 4.46 Former wide receiver moved to running back when entering Washington, quickly developed into a slashing upright high knee runner with explosion, balance and power with big-time production as a runner and receiver. Aligns in single-back formation and offset with good initial burst with vision to press LOS (line of scrimmage) to bounce and hit edge. Good feet and cutting ability to create space in tight and open field to gear down with restart and good suddenness, and no wasted movement moving north and south. An inside runner with vision to backside cut, skip and skate cutting ability. An explosive runner to lower pad level and explode through defender approach with second effort to fight for extra yards, runs with a purpose. A competitive, aggressive runner to break arm tackles and run over defenders with very good YAC (yards after contact) production with leg pump and drive to finish. Has a high knee stride in open space forcing defenders to chase with deceptive speed. Good job to switch ball on defender pressure in space with effective stiff arm. Very effective and competitive lead blocker (2010 quarterback draw), but will need further NFL tutelage on pass protection and blitz recognition, was inconsistent at the Senior Bowl on blocking not because of effort, but technique. He has excellent receiving skills with soft hands to catch outside his frame with good RAC (run after catch) production. Despite Polk’s physical style of running and total production there is still tread left on the tire. I also like the fact his energy level is the same from start to finish. I spent some time with this young man at the Senior Bowl. He is quiet and well-spoken with a crusty competitive edge to him even through conversation; love it! Sources say left shoulder needs research and clarification, currently wears harness. Career Production: Games played/games started 40/40, attempts 799, yards 4,049, average per carry 5.1, touchdowns 26; receptions 79, receiving yards 683, touchdowns 4. Second-Round Talent
RB *Lamar Miller Miami 5-10 ¾ 212 4.36 Good frame to hold more muscle mass. Aligns in I-formation with lead back to run stretch, power, lead draws, toss and pitch. Smooth upright slashing runner to press LOS (line of scrimmage) with burst and acceleration, excellent feet to skip and skate and bounce to open space with speed to turn corner. Vision is best on inside runs when running downhill. Inconsistent pad level to bend and collision with adequate explosive YAC (yards after contact) finish on defender approach, resulting in too many hits to his legs, but strength helps break arm tackles. An open-field runner with spotty vision and football instincts when running in space. Despite smooth glide in movement, if no home-run alley appears, seems confused with impaired delayed vision to attack and eat up yardage and lacks creativity to make defender chase and force angles in space. Very good cutting ability and is fluid in cutback, this runner slows to gather himself on cuts and then works to restart with burst and is not elusive to shake and avoid. Excellent combination of size, speed, burst and acceleration in his DNA (films) but doesn’t consistently play at top speed from game to game. Overall production is good, but could be better with a more consistent aggressive running style. Has displayed natural receiving skills and soft hands to catch outside his frame with limited receiving production. Good toughness and is a competitive blocker, will need further development on technique and consistent finish at the next level. Exceptional kickoff-return skills with burst and acceleration to hit seam and reaches top in speed quickly with big-play ability. Still raw in several areas of his game, lack of strong football instincts in space shows up too often, but I still like what this player brings to the table: a piece of clay yet to be formed in a few areas, this is not a negative. Career Production: Games played/games started 23/13, attempts 335, yards 1,918, average per carry 5.7, touchdowns 15; receptions 28, receiving yards 181, receiving touchdowns 1. Second-Round Talent
The next five prospects at the running back position are ranked as follows:
1. Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M
2. Edwin Baker, Michigan State
3. LaMichael James, Oregon
4. Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State
5. Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati