Thursday, March 1, 2012
2012 Top NFL Draft Prospects: Running Backs
1. Trent Richardson, Jr. - Alabama Crimson Tide
During his first 2 years at Alabama, he shared time with last years only Running Back selected in the 1st Round, Saints RB Mark Ingram. Richardson had an excellent year being the go to back on his way to 1,679 yards rushing averaging 5.9 yards per carry. He is a load to bring down with his 5'9'', 225 pound frame. Richardson is a workout warrior and has a powerful lower body. He's patient, shows good vision, can make big plays and catch out of the backfield. Richardson could be a top 5 pick, but will definitely be selected in the top 20.
2. Lamar Miller, Redshirt Soph. - Miami Hurricanes
Miller is a complete running back that busted onto the scene last year at the U. He carried the ball 227 times for 1,272 rushing yards to go along with 9 touchdowns. He ran the 40 yard dash in 4.4 seconds and hits the hole when it's there. Miller can make a play out of nothing initially and has great shiftiness. He isn't afraid of contact and also catches the ball out of the backfield well. Miller is capable of being selected in the late 1st round.
3. David Wilson, Jr. - Virginia Tech Hokies
Wilson is a freakish kind of athlete who can make a big play any time he touches the ball. He does run backwards too much and that usually won't work in the NFL. He does have return ability. Wilson gets to top speed quickly and is tough to get him down because he is so agile and makes defenders miss. He isn't a very patient runner at times which causes him to miss some holes. At 5'10", 205 he rushed for over 1,700 yards with 5.9 yards per carry. He probably will be selected in the late 1st or early 2nd round.
4. Chris Polk, Redshirt Jr. - Washington Huskies
Polk is an agile back, but won't blow away teams with his speed. He is a patient, hard nosed runner who goes north and south and gets the yards that he can. He has been consistent at Washington with over 1,000 yards rushing the past three years. Polk's numbers probably would have been even better if Washington had a better offensive line. He still averaged 5.1 yards per carry in 2011. He probably will be selected in the late 1st or early 2nd round.
5. LaMichael James, Redshirt Jr. - Oregon Ducks
James averaged a ridiculous 7.3 yards per carry on his way to 1,805 yards and he didn't even play in two games in 2011 due to injury. Some of it might have to do with Oregon's up tempo offense that tired defenses. James reached the edge of the sidelines and hit it up field running a lot of counter zone plays with the Ducks. He is a very agile and fast running back who would be a great 3rd down option in the NFL. The elbow injury and fumble issues in college hurt his draft stock but he still should be selected somewhere in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft.
6. Isaiah Pead, Sr. - Cincinnati Bearcats
Pead was in an offense very similar to Oregon's where LaMichael James thrived. Pead is an explosive player who is great in the open field in space. Caught the ball out of the backfield really well with the Bearcats catching 39 passes. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry for a total of 1,259 yards. Pead isn't a great pass blocker and did have some fumbling issues that can be corrected. He could be a great compliment back in the NFL and will be selected in either the 2nd or 3rd round.
7. Doug Martin, Redshirt Sr. - Boise State Broncos
Martin destroyed weaker competition running for 1,299 yards with 4.9 yards per carry. He was shut down by a good defense in Georgia though only rushing for 57 yards on 24 carries. Martin does about everything well and knows where to go and which hole to hit. He has some good moves in the open field. He has the size at 5'9'' 225, to be an every down running back. He could be selected as high as the 2nd round or as low as the 5th round.
8. Bernard Pierce, Jr. - Temple Owls
Pierce is a big and fast running back. He's 6'0'', 220 pounds and ran a 4.49 40 at the combine. He averaged 5.4 yards a carry his junior year and 27 rushing touchdowns. Runs very upright and moves a lot like Kevin Smith of the Lions. Pierce won't run over defenders but does have good vision and patience. He is likely to be selected somewhere in the 3rd or 4th round in the NFL Draft.
9. Ronnie Hillman, Redshirt Soph. - San Diego State Aztecs
Hillman has good upside going into the NFL. He is quick and elusive with good speed (4.45) but not very powerful as he is a smaller running back. He could add weight to his 5'10'', 190 pound frame. Hillman had a lot of long runs including a 99 yarder and carried the Aztecs when their quarterback struggled. He ran for over 1,700 yards with a 5.5 yards per carry average. Staying in school one more year might have helped his draft stock but shelf life for a RB is short. With his talent Hillman will be selected between the 3rd and 5th round.
10. Cyrus Gray, Sr. - Texas A&M Aggies
Gray is an intense player who runs with power and elusiveness. He has good speed running a 4.47 at the combine. Gray rushed for over 1,000 yards spitting duties with teammate Christine Michael. He runs with a low center of gravity and is hard to bring down a lot like Kendall Hunter coming out of the draft last year who is now with the 49ers.