Monday, May 5, 2014

Overview of RB Position

There is a lot of debate out there about whether Chip Kelly will grab a running back this weekend. I don't think the Eagles will target a RB in the first three rounds, but the RB position isn't coveted like it used to be. There's a very good chance that talented players fall. In a run-first offense, Chip could always use another body in his talented running back stable.

All-around backs:

1. Tre Mason (5-8, 207)

Mason gets up to top speed quickly and can make people miss with good start-stop ability. Mason runs downhill and offers a threat in the passing game. He's a very complete back, even offering skill as a blocker. He has athletic traits (4.50 speed, 38.5" vert). He does dance a little instead of taking what he can. Mason also could secure the ball better in traffic.

2. Bishop Sankey (5-9, 209)

He's an athletic player with good speed (4.49), performing well in a number of drills at the combine. Sankey has a good build and quick lateral movement. He is patient to let his blockers create space, but had a heavy workload at Washington. He does have some pass-protection and longevity concerns.

3. Storm Johnson (6-0, 209)

He has good height and runs tough up between the tackles. Johnson does have nimble feet for a big fella and can make defenders miss in space. He has a versatile background, showing to be a more-than-capable receiver out of the backfield. He doesn't possess elite speed and isn't a polished blocker. Johnson can be loose with the football and has only been a starter for a year, but he is fresh in terms of wear and tear.

Explosive mid-round backs:

1. Charles Sims (6-0, 214)

Sims has great hands out of the backfield. He's a versatile back with extremely fluid athleticism. He's quick and elusive but also gets north and south. He has good speed (4.48 40) and flashes the ability to be a playmaker. Sims does struggle in pass-pro and has a lean build. He will be a 24-year-rookie, which should drop his stock. Sims should be available in the mid-late rounds.

2. Jerick McKinnon (5-9, 209)

McKinnon blew up the NFL Combine, registering a 4.41 40, 40.5" vertical jump, and piling up 32 reps on bench. He has freakish athleticism and he's a hard working player. McKinnon is fairly raw though, playing against lower level competition and racking up only 10 career receptions. He has the natural gifts, but could take time to develop.

3. Lache Seastrunk (5-9, 201)

Seastrunk is another player who lit up the Combine, posting a 4.51 40, 41.5" vertical, and a 134" broad jump. He plays much faster than his 40-time, and pairs elusiveness with tough running, plowing through weak arm tackles. Seastrunk may struggle as a receiver, had limited experience at Baylor catching the ball. He also has big maturity questions that must be evaluated.

4. LaDarius Perkins (5-9, 197)

Perkins has good speed (4.46 40) and nice wiggle. He accelerates to top speed quickly and finds the open hole. He has the speed to pull away from the pack. His character leaves no questions, team-captain and is known for great work ethic. He isn't a back who can handle 20 touches and doesn't push the pile. He can dance rather than hit the hole, which we know frustrates Chip.

Downhill Pounders:

1. Carlos Hyde (6-0, 230)

Hyde is a big, powerful runner who pushes the pile. He is good as a pass-blocker and offers soft hands out of the backfield. He lacks top speed and doesn't make people miss.

2. Jeremy Hill (6-1, 230)

Hill is huge. He gets to his top speed in a hurry, however that top speed isn't very fast. He's a downhill runner who gets positive yards. He does have quick feet and has caught the ball well. He, like Hyde, doesn't make people miss in space. There are red flags with his character that will be looked into.

3. Andre Williams (5-11, 230)

Andre Williams was extremely productive at Boston College, a Heisman Finalist. He doesn't have great timed speed, but can pull away. Williams has good vision and runs hard between the tackles. He isn't elusive and has limited experience catching the football.

Talented, Problematic RBs

1. Ka'Deem Carey (5-9, 207)

He was a workhorse at Arizona, and runs hard every play. He has good side-to-side movement and accelerates quickly. Carey plays faster than his 4.70 40 time, and has a versatile background. He struggled to show athleticism at the Combine, and has a lot of mileage on his tires. His character is a big concern.

2. James Wilder (6-3, 232)

Wilder is physically gifted. He's huge, and runs well downhill. He is a very good athlete and plays much faster than his 4.86 timed speed at the Combine, running in the 4.6s at his Pro Day. He hasn't been worn down at Florida State, but he's raw and has been in trouble with the law. There's a chance he goes undrafted due to the red flags, but he has real upside.

3. Alfred Blue (6-2, 223)

Blue is similar to Wilder. He's a big back with good vision, and has surprising speed for a big man. He gets positive yardage and has natural gifts as an athlete. He, like Wilder, has a lot left in his tank. He does struggle to make moves in space and isn't reliable in the pass game. An ACL tear in 2012 adds injury questions to character issues.

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