Below you’ll find my 2012 NFL Draft positional rankings for running backs. Positional rankings are shown in the first column, followed by overall rankings. Heights, weights, and 40 yard dash times shown are from either the Scouting Combine or pro day results. All players are sorted by round based on where they would fall in the official NFL Draft order. An asterisk indicates that the player is an underclassman. ”PFA” stands for “priority free agent” and “UFA” stands for “undrafted free agent.” Click the hyperlinks to check out previous posts that mention that prospect.
Last week, I kicked off my 2012 NFL Draft prospect rankings with my Top Ten, and then later with prospects number 11 through 32. Continuing today, here are my 33rd through 50th ranked prospects of the year. As always, an asterisk is used to denote underclassmen, and position descriptions are explained in the notes.
|43||U Conn||Kendall Reyes||3T/5T||6’4||299||4.95|
Utah State’s Robert Turbin, who rushed for 2813 yards and averaged over six yards per carry over the past two seasons, weighed in at a rock solid 222 pounds. One look at him and it’s no surprise that he managed 28 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. Turbin’s explosiveness, however, was a bit unexpected, as he reached 36 inches in the vertical leap, 10 feet 2 inches in the broad jump, and ran his 40 in 4.5 seconds. Turbin runs low, with power, and is an adequate receiver. He didn’t always face the toughest competition, but he didn’t benefit from a great offensive line either. Turbin dominated his league for the most part, and answered questions about his speed at the combine. He showed up in excellent shape, impressed in workouts, and poised himself for a move into the late second or early third round.
At the other end of the spectrum were Dan Herron of Ohio State, South Florida running back Darrell Scott, and USC’s Marc Tyler. Herron topped out at 4.66 seconds in the 40 and was outperformed in drills. He’s not the most athletic guy, but he runs tough and does some little things well. His strength is a plus and he has some explosion to him initially. He just isn’t the best at any one thing. Scott was a big time recruit out of high school who transferred from Colorado and spent only one season playing for the Bulls. He surprised a lot people when he passed up his final year of eligibility. Viewed as an intriguing late-round flier before the combine, Scott’s slow 4.73 40 time did nothing to alter that perception. Tyler was even slower, clocking in at 4.76, and that was after he dropped about 10 pounds from his usual playing weight. He’s decent in pass protection, but isn’t a starting caliber back. Add in a history of attitude issues and it’s doubtful Tyler is worth a draft pick.
LaMichael James is a unique player in this draft, as opinions vary on how much of a load he can carry. James is just 5’8, but he’s a strong 194 pounds. His vertical and broad jump numbers further illustrate the suddenness he displayed as a runner at Oregon. James is fairly sturdy as a runner, missing just two games with injuries over the past two seasons while logging 541 carries; and he’s a more natural receiver than many of his counterparts. His 4.45 second 40 tied Florida speedster Chris Rainey for the second fastest time among backs (Miami’s Lamar Miller led the way with a 4.4 second time). It would be a shock if James is still available when the draft’s third round kicks off.
Other notables: Rainey was expected to run a faster time, though as noted above he is obviously quite fast. He grabbed at his hamstrings after his second 40 attempt, though he did not appear seriously hurt. The least graceful runner was Mississippi State back Vick Ballard, who fell on his face and rolled off the track just a few steps into one of his attempts. Ballard tried again and managed a 4.65 second time. Boise State’s Doug Martin tied Turbin for most reps on the bench, with 28. Martin has done nothing to dissuade those who believe he has every-down, starting potential. Bernard Pierce of Temple ran his 40 in 4.49 seconds, a bit faster than expected. Virginia Tech’s David Wilson was the highest leaper of the backs, reaching 41 inches in the vertical. Like Pierce, Wilson also posted a strong 4.49 second 40 time.
Earlier this week I previewed some potential NFL Draft prospects from the Thursday and Friday night games. Today, here is a look at some of the players to look for on the first Saturday of the season, in no particular order… Continue reading
Last month, the looming specter of a Sports Illustrated story about Ohio State football players, cash, cars and tattoos led to the abrupt resignation of Head Coach Jim Tressel. A couple of weeks later, star QB Terrelle Pryor also jumped ship and announced his intention to enter the NFL Supplemental Draft. Because of my refusal to write about NFL (or any other sports-related) labor relations bull crap; and because of the general lack of any other type of football news, Pryor and the Supplemental Draft have become a favorite subject of mine lately. Alas, until they actually hold the Supplemental Draft, I have pretty much said all I can say about the former Buckeye QB. At least until I watch my recording of his episode of Jon Gruden’s “QB Camp.”
But not to worry. Yahoo Sports came to my rescue today with an interview with Will Lyles, a “scout” of sorts who was heavily involved in Oregon’s recruiting process; and who now says he was paid by the school with a check that was personally approved by Ducks’ Head Coach, Chip Kelly. And I do mean PAID. To the tune of $25 grand. This probably means that Kelly, like Tressel before him, will be shown the door, as Oregon attempts to soften any sort of blow from the NCAA. It could also mean that star RB LaMichael James, who has a friendship with/connection to Lyles, could opt to take the same path as Pryor. James, of course, finished third in Heisman Trophy voting and was the nation’s leading rusher in 2010. There is no doubt he will be targeted for questioning by the NCAA any minute now. The only way he’ll avoid this is to leave school for the pros, like Pryor did. And, in all reality, James is far more ready for the NFL than Pryor is.
Now, I want to be clear: there are no allegations (at this time) that James took any benefits or did anything else to break NCAA rules. Lyles reportedly counseled James and his family about how to avoid some standardized testing required by Texas high schools (James transferred to an Arkansas high school and ended up signing with Oregon) and was also a guest of James at a December awards banquet. But, with the amount of money that allegedly changed hands between Oregon and Lyles, it isn’t a stretch to think that the players he guided to Oregon received some sort of benefit for playing there. If I am wondering about that, I guarantee that the NCAA is as well. James can save himself the headache and anxiety that goes along with these kinds of investigations by leaving now. He or someone he listens to has to know that. That is why I think he may try to get the NFL to allow him into the Supplemental Draft. If he does gain entry, this will be by far the most meaningful Supplemental Draft since Bernie Kosar went to the Cleveland Browns in a draft I am too young to remember. I’ll be watching this situation closely. Stay tuned.