Running Backs — Good, Meh and Bleh

Leonard Fournette

  • He does it all. Sometimes you think he’s not quick enough, but then you realize he’s as big as Bo Jackson. And he has all the moves.
  • If it’s 1997 and not 2017, he’s the #1 overall pick.
  • He has size 14 feet, and while you’d think that’d be a bad thing, it gives him unreal traction and leverage, it would seem.
  • He sees the hole WELL before you do, and that’s why he hits it the way he does.

Dalvin Cook

  • Kid loves football and is super explosive. Plus, he can catch the ball.
  • If you think Devonta Freeman is good, Cook was better the moment he stepped on the field. In fact, he has the skill-set of both Freeman and Tevin Coleman.
  • He’s a can’t miss player.

Christian McCaffrey

  • Everyone is in love with him but I’m not.
  • He cant break many runs outside, and isn’t tough enough to be an interior runner. So he’s a complimentary back, which a lot of teams like to have. But when I see the Raiders with Jalen Richard (UFA) and DeAndre Washington (5th), it’s hard to take a guy in the first with that skill set.
  • Good balance, good vision, good hands. Great one cut move but can’t make you miss on shimmy.
  • Great Wide Receiver skills.
  • Not a first round player, but definitely an effective one, no doubt.

Curtis Samuel

  • He really can do a bit of everything, and has the shimmy to make you miss. In space he’s incredibly dangerous, and with a good QB his numbers even better.
  • He’s not Percy Harvin; no one is, but he can do some of what Devonte Freeman and Tyreke Hill do.
  • I think he’s a first round draft pick for some teams, and if he ends up on the right team he’ll be very dangerous.
  • Teams taking Alvin Kamara before him are making a mistake.

Joe Mixon

  • As far as I’m concerned, he’s as talented as any player in this draft, and that’s the sad reality for him. He can do everything.
  • Very fast, cuts on a dime, outstanding vision, can catch the ball, and very tough.
  • Someone is going to draft him, it just depends on what team is willing. All-pro level.
  • Only issue is that he doesn’t break tons of tackles — very casual but he has star potential.

Jamaal Williams

  • I was blown away by this kid’s tape. Tough as nails, great feet, sees the hole, makes the cuts, I love this kid.
  • One thing, I didn’t see him catch one pass and that’s because he caught EIGHT this past season.
  • He’s 6’1, 210 now, but that’s probably light. He was much smaller out of high school, but set a lot of records at BYU.
  • Not sure what to say other than I like this kid, and think he’s going to be very effective between the tackles in the NFL. Reminds me of Melvin Gordon with a bit less giddy-up.

Kareem Hunt — Toledo

  • He’s an undersized guy but the dude is effective. He sees the entire field, has great feet and balance. I really like him. And at 5’10, 205, not big enough to carry it every play, but he can be part of a crew.
  • Reminds me of Jalen Richard from the Raiders but not as fast.
  • Good third down back, maybe more.

Elijah McGuire — LA Lafayette

  • He’s not a big back, but he’s big enough. Sees a hole and can take it the distance. And he impressed at the Senior Bowl.
  • Has soft hands and can make plays downfield.
  • I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but he looked effective. Sometimes it looked like he wasn’t trying, but then all of a sudden he makes a play.
  • Runs a little upright. But I love how he always keeps moving on a play to get open downfield.
  • I would take a shot on him.

MEH

D’Onta Foreman

  • Powerful back similar to Carlos Hyde and Jeremy Hill, but same limitations and not as good. If you can get to him he’s not going to make you miss, but if he sees a hole he can hit it hard.
  • Has better hands than given credit for but isn’t a great route runner.
  • Willing and able blocker.
  • Has the speed to get to the second level quickly, but won’t normally take it 80 yards.

Wayne Gallman

  • He’s a thin runner, without a lot of power, who is built like Jamaal Charles, but not nearly as talented.
  • Skinny legs, and usually makes one cut and explodes.
  • I don’t see him as anymore than a backup in the NFL at best.
  • Ran a 4.6 at combine, but benched 21 reps, which is nice.

De’Veon Smith

  • He’s a tough between the tackles runner, who blocks really well and can even catch the ball.
  • He’s not dynamic, and won’t start much in the NFL, but he will be around for a bit.
  • Reminds of Mike Anderson, who used to play with Denver. Just a tough grinder.

Alvin Kamara

  • I don’t see it with this kid. He’s got the power, the speed, and size, plus he runs routes.
  • That said, he’s not instinctive and he’s not dynamic.
  • Not sure what the hype is about, but I see him as a 4th round guy, not a 2nd.

Corey Clement

  • I’m going to go to the well with Corey Clement. He didn’t have the season people expected at Wisconsin, but I don’t care. I am a fan
  • He has decent 20 yard speed, the vision, and size. He makes moves behind the line and explodes. Also has great balance. FOLLOWS HIS BLOCKERS on pulls great.
  • He’s not a homerun hitter guy, and doesn’t catch a lot, but he’s a pure RB.
  • He’s an every down back in the NFL, and I expect a lot from him.
  • That said, he’s apparently not loved by his teammates, and wasn’t always a leader. He will be humbled by the NFL, and I think that could work in his favor.
  • Reminds me of Mark Ingram of the Saints, but like Ingram he gets hurt.
  • AND…he sucked at the Combine. BUT…I still like him.

Matthew Dayes — NC State

  • There’s a place in the league for Matt Dayes. Team captain, able blocker, has good vision and knows where the openings are. Shifty. Is he a star? Not at all, but he’s effective enough to produce with 8–10 carries a game and some catches.
  • He’s tough and he works hard. Played well against Clemson.
  • Didn’t run at combine.

Tarik Cohen

  • Small, scat back. 5’7”, only benched 11 reps. Ran a 4.42, which was top 5.
  • People say “Sproles”, but he doesn’t have nearly the same running style. Sproles is straight ahead like a missile. This guy is more side to side, and doesn’t bounce of tackles as well. Could be on a team, maybe like Tryeke Hill, but needs power.

Joseph Yearby — Miami

  • He’s a smaller back, but he has some talent. Didn’t see him catch any passes downfield, but can run some screens. Standard 3rd down back.
  • I could see him getting a look. Reminds me of Deandre Washington of the Raiders

De’Angelo Henderson — Coastal Car

  • Small, but powerful and fast back. Can get the edge, and even make you miss a bit, but doesn’t have the size to be an every down NFL back.
  • Could land somewhere for sure.
  • Ran a 4.48 at combine and put up 20, so he’s strong.

Jahad Thomas — Temple

  • Shifty, quick feet, willing to run through tackles, but can’t really break tackles and doesn’t have break away speed. He’s like a not-as-good Warrick Dunn. Except not nearly as tough on his feet.
  • He returns kicks so he could find a way, but certainly not a long career.

Dare Ogunbawale

  • Made some plays at Wisconsin behind a good run line, but more as a third down back.
  • I think he has a little more life than some other scouts, as he will pound it between the tackles, but doesn’t have the frame to be an every down back.
  • He will make a team as a 3rd RB.

BLEH

I watched Jeremy Nichols and Brian Hill, and neither of them did anything for me.

Samaje Perine

  • Short, compact, powerful running back, but he lacks any real gears. All the problems Trent Richardson experienced, Perine has the same problems.
  • Potentially could be effective on a team with a great line, and a power running game, but he isn’t dynamic.
  • He can lift a lot of weight, and he can handle ball 40 times a game. Not Doug martin
  • Ran a 4.65, which isn’t good. Benched 30 reps. That he can do.

TJ Logan — UNC

  • Fastest RB 40 at combine 4.37 — has straight line speed, not a ton of wiggle.
  • Willing blocker — played in good offense.
  • Special teams Kick returner and decent hands.
  • Could be on a team — Don’t expect much.

Joe Williams — Utah

  • Ran a 4.41 at combine, 2nd fastest.
  • Has that gear, and when he hits it he’s gone, but not sure he has much else.
  • Definitely doesn’t break tackles, but is a willing blocker. Not a necessarily smooth and fluid runner.
  • Maybe a special teams guy.

James Conner

  • Tough kid, has nice vision and speed, but not the quickest feet. He can be an every down back in the NFL, but not dynamic enough to be great. Catches the ball well too.
  • Overcame cancer and tore his ACL.
  • LB turned RB. He should actually consider LB again.
  • He can carry the load but there are a lot of question marks. Not a star. Just a guy like a Daniel Thomas

Donnel Pumphrey — SDSU

  • You don’t become FBS all time leading rusher without being talented, but the same goes for Ron Dayne. These two are opposite ends of the spectrum, but both wont amount to much. He’s 5’9 170! That’s Desean size! Tyler Ervin is 190.
  • Pumphrey is super quick, and fast, but against second-rate teams. In the NFL he will get eaten alive. The wind can knock him over. If you get a hand on him he’s going down.
  • He rushed for 2150 yards THIS YEAR! Someone will take him, but I’m just not sure what you do with him. Small guys like Jahvid Best have some size, but this guy doesn’t, like Dre Archer. He’d be better served as a slot WR, and if he does that, maybe there’s a place for him. Otherwise, he can be the best player Canada has ever seen.

Marlon Mack

  • All time leading rusher at South Florida.
  • He’s a lean back, shaped like Jamaal Charles, which is a good comparison, but not nearly as good.
  • Slippery player, and can hit the second level in a hurry, but doesn’t break tackles, and doesn’t grind out yards. Always looking for a big play hole and takes too long. Also stretches plays too far outside and gets taken down. Could hang around for a sandwich. Nothing special.

Stanley Boom Williams — Kentucky

  • Big recruit for UK. Small back, runs bigger than his size, but not going to shed tackles. Can make you miss in space and then goes after the hole, and he can catch. Also can get small behind the line because his size, and will block.
  • But…doesn’t seem like a burner, isn’t going to break a lot of tackles.
  • He’s truly a third down back who could potentially land somewhere, but he’s not necessarily special.

Aaron Jones UTEP — Combine

  • Only watched film against Arkansas and he looked average. Tough kid, runs hard, but didn’t seem to have great speed or vision.
  • I guess combine will say a lot because he certainly didn’t get any blocking when I watched.
  • Performed well in combine everywhere but 40 where he ran 4.56.

Elijah Hood UNC

  • I didn’t watch a lot, but what I saw was average. Don’t expect much from him. No burst, and just an average player.

Shock Linwood — Baylor

  • Skipped his Bowl game to prepare for NFL Draft. If he thought he needed the time he should have skipped the whole season because he’s not all that interesting. Be “shocked” if he makes it beyond a season. Poor man’s Spencer Ware.

Justin Davis — USC

  • He’s a taller, leaner back, with speed and vision, but he doesn’t break tackles and doesn’t seem very tough. Decent hands.
  • Had injuries in college. Don’t expect much from him.

Tarean Folston — Notre Dame

  • Not a NFL RB. Tough kid, between the tackles, not dynamic. Won’t make a roster.
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