Joe Arrigo’s NFL Draft Series: The Big Board

Every team, “draft expert” and draftnik has a “big board”. I am no different. Here is my Big Board for the 2012 NFL Draft.                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                           Top 255 Players

1. Andrew Luck QB Stanford

2. Robert Griffin III QB Baylor

3. Matt Kalil OT USC

4. Luke Kuechly ILB Boston College

5. Morris Claiborne CB LSU

6. Trent Richardson RB Alabama

7. Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma St.

8. David DeCastro OG Stanford

9. Fletcher Cox DT Mississippi State

10. Michael Floyd WR Notre Dame

11. Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama

12. Dont’a Hightower ILB Alabama

13. Riley Reiff OT Iowa

14. Melvin Ingram OLB South Carolina

15. Stephon Gilmore CB South Carolina

16. Quinton Coples DE North Carolina

17. Dontari Poe DT Memphis

18. Jonathan Martin OT Stanford

19. Mark Barron S Alabama

20. Michael Brockers DT LSU

21. Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama

22. Ryan Tannehill QB Texas A&M

23. Kendall Wright WR Baylor

24. Cordy Glenn OT Georgia

25. Peter Konz C Wisconsin

26. Coby Fleener TE Stanford

27. Mike Adams OT Ohio State

28. Whitney Mercilus DE Illinois

29. Devon Still DT Penn State

30. Nick Perry DE USC

31. Stephen Hill WR Georgia Tech

32. Janoris Jenkins CB North Alabama

33. Bobby Massie OT Ole Miss

34. Jerel Worthy DT Michigan State

35. Mohamed Sanu WR Rutgers

36. Dwayne Allen TE Clemson

37. Josh Robinson CB UCF

38. Brandon Thompson DT Clemson

39. Jayron Hosley CB Virginia Tech

40. Zach Brown OLB North Carolina

41. Kelechi Osemele OG Iowa State

42. Doug Martin RB Boise State

43. Brandon Weeden QB

49. David Wilson RB Virginia Tech

50. Michael Brewster C Ohio State

51. Amini Silatolu OG Midwestern State

52.Casey Hayward CB Vanderbilt

53. Rueben Randle WR LSU

54. Jared Crick DT Nebraska

55. Tommy Streeter WR Miami (FL)

56. Lavonte David OLB Nebraska

57. Harrison Smith S Notre Dame St.

58. Kendall Reyes DT Connecticut

59. Trumaine Johnson CB Montana

60. Robert Turbin RB Utah State

61. Alfonzo Dennard CB Nebraska

62. Ronnell Lewis OLB Oklahoma

63. Cam Johnson OLB Virginia

64. Josh Chapman DT Alabama

65. Brandon Brooks OG Miami (OH)

66. Mike Martin DT Michigan

67. Josh Norman CB Coastal Carolina

68. Ben Jones C Georgia

69. Chandler Jones DE Syracuse

70. Ladarius Green TE UL-Lafayette

71. Dwight Bentley CB UL-Lafayette

72. Brandon Mosley OT Auburn

73. LaMichael James RB Oregon

74. Ryan Broyles WR Oklahoma

75. Shea McClellin OLB Boise State

76. Chase Minnifield CB Virginia

77. Jeff Allen OT Illinois

78. Vinny Curry DE/OLB Marshall

79. Brandon Boykin CB Georgia

80. Andre Branch OLB Clemson

81. Isaiah Pead RB Cincinnati

82. Bobby Wagner OLB Utah State

83. Leonard Johnson CB Iowa State

84. Nick Toon WR Wisconsin

85. David Molk C Michigan

86. Mychal Kendricks ILB California

87. Alshon Jeffery WR South Carolina

88. Chris Polk RB Washington

89. Lucas Nix OG Pittsburgh

90. Jarius Wright WR Arkansas

91. Senio Kelemete OG Washington

92. Ryan Steed CB Furman

93. Marvin McNutt WR Iowa

94. Justin Bethel S Presbyterian

95. Marvin Jones WR California

96. Levy Adcock OT Oklahoma State

97. Trevor Guyton DT California

98. Russell Wilson QB Wisconsin

99. Matt McCants OT UAB

100. Billy Winn DT Boise State

101. Juron Criner WR Arizona

102. Brandon Washington OG Miami

103. Jamell Fleming CB Oklahoma

104. Philip Blake C Baylor

105. Jordan White WR Western Mich

106. Mitchell Schwartz OT California

107. Dwight Jones WR N. Carolina

108. Kirk Cousins QB Michigan St.

109. Jeff Fuller WR Texas A&M

111. Joe Adams WR Arkansas

110. Derek Wolfe DT Cincinnati

112. Chris Givens WR Wake Forest

113. Mike Harris CB Florida State

114. Michael Egnew TE Missouri

115. Tramain Thomas S Arkansas

116. DeVier Posey WR Ohio State

117. Asa Jackson CB Cal Poly

118. Markelle Martin S Oklahoma St.

119. Shaun Prater CB Iowa

120. Tony Bergstrom OT Utah

121. Gerell Robinson WR Arizona St.

122. Sean Spence OLB Miami (FL)

123. A.J. Jenkins WR Illinois

125. Frank Alexander DE Oklahoma

124. Cyrus Gray RB Texas A&M

126. Ryan Miller OG Colorado

127. Omar Bolden CB Arizona State

128. Keenan Robinson OLB Texas

129. Quinton Saulsberry C Miss St.

130. DeQuan Menzie CB Alabama

131. Drake Dunsmore TE N-western

132. Terrance Ganaway RB Baylor

133. Nate Potter OT Boise State

134. Bernard Pierce RB Temple

135. James Brown OT Troy

136. Malik Jackson DE Tennessee

137. B.J. Coleman QB UT-Chatt.

138. Marquis Maze WR Alabama

139. DaJohn Harris DT USC

140. Coryell Judie CB Texas A&M

141. T.Y. Hilton WR Florida Int.

142. Andrew Datko OT Florida State

143. Brad Smelley TE Alabama

144. Jack Crawford DE Penn State

145. Vick Ballard RB Mississippi St.

146. Joe Looney OG Wake Forest

147. JM Johnson ILB Nevada

150. Jake Bequette DE Arkansas

149. Audie Cole ILB N.C. State

148. Tyrone Crawford DE Boise St.

151. Travis Lewis OLB Oklahoma

152. Brock Osweiler QB Arizona State

153. Brandon Taylor S LSU

154. Greg Childs WR Arkansas

155. George Iloka S Boise State

156. Danny Coale WR Virginia Tech

157. Bruce Irvin OLB West Virginia

158. Devon Wylie WR Fresno State

159. Tom Compton OT South Dakota

160. Eric Page WR Toledo

161. Brandon Lindsey OLB Pittsburgh

162. Marcus Forston DT Miami (FL)

163. Terrell Manning OLB N.C. State

164. Brandon Bolden RB Ole Miss

165. Jonathan Massaquoi OLB Troy

166. Ron Brooks CB LSU

167. Justin Anderson OG Georgia

168. Jarrett Boykin WR Virginia Tech

169. Nigel Bradham OLB Florida State

170. Will Vlachos C Alabama

171. Trenton Robinson S Michigan State

172. Kheeston Randle DT Texas

173. Donnie Fletcher CB Boston College

174. Kellen Moore QB Boise State

175. Emmanuel Acho OLB Texas

176. Jaye Howard DT Florida

177. Kyle Wilber OLB Wake Forest

178. Nick Foles QB Arizona

179. Alfred Morris RB Florida Atlantic

180. Tydreke Powell DT North Carolina

181. Josh Kaddu OLB Oregon

182. Christian Tupou DT USC

183. Charles Brown CB North Carolina

184. Akiem Hicks DT Regina

185. Olivier Vernon DE Miami (FL)

186. Chris Rainey RB Florida

187. Ryan Lindley QB San Diego State

188. Hebron Fangupo DT BYU

189. Tauren Poole RB Tennessee

190. Adam Gettis OG Iowa

191. B.J. Cunningham WR Michigan State

192. Matt Reynolds OG BYU

193. Jermaine Kearse WR Washington

194. Edwin Baker RB Michigan State

195. T.J. Graham WR N.C. State

196. Ronnie Hillman RB San Diego State

197. Brian Linthicum TE Michigan State

198. Rishaw Johnson OG California (PA)

199. Brian Quick WR Appalachian State

200. Tony Jerod-Eddie DT Texas A&M

201. LaVon Brazill WR Ohio

202. Antonio Fenelus CB Wisconsin

203. Deangelo Peterson TE LSU

204. Bryan Anger P California

205. Antonio Allen S South Carolina

206. J.J. McDermott QB SMU

207. Davin Meggett RB Maryland

208. George Bryan TE N.C. State

209. Patrick Edwards WR Houston

210. Robert Blanton CB Notre Dame

211. Dan Herron RB Ohio State

212. Mike Daniels DT Iowa

213. Darron Thomas QB Oregon

214. Markus Kuhn DT N.C. State

215. Blair Walsh K Georgia

216. Evan Rodriguez TE Temple

217. Jaymes Brooks OG Virginia Tech

218. Shawn Powell P Florida State

219. Janzen Jackson S McNeese State

220. Kelvin Beachum OG SMU

221. Chris Greenwood CB Albion Christian

222. Adrian Robinson OLB Temple

224. Vontaze Burfict ILB Arizona State

223. Randy Bullock K Texas A&M

225. Case Keenum QB Houston

226. Donte Paige-Moss DE North Carolina

227. James Hanna TE Oklahoma

228. Cliff Harris CB Oregon

229. Chandler Harnish QB Northern Illinois

230. David Paulson TE Oregon

231. Tank Carder OLB TCU

232. Drew Butler P Georgia

233. Renard Williams DT Eastern Washington

234. Carson Wiggs K Purdue

235. Derek Dennis OG Temple

236. Rishard Matthews WR Nevada

237. Rokevious Watkins OG South Carolina

238. Lennon Creer RB Louisiana Tech

239. Kevin Koger TE Michigan

240. Philip Welch K Wisconsin

241. Cordarro Law DE Southern Miss

242. Brad Nortman P Wisconsin

243. Keshawn Martin WR Michigan State

245. Jerry Franklin ILB Arkansas

244. Marcel Jones OT Nebraska

246. Sean Richardson S Vanderbilt

247. Bradie Ewing FB Wisconsin

248. Marc Tyler RB USC

249. Sean Cattouse S California

250. Darrell Scott RB South Florida

251. Kelcie McCray S Arkansas State

252. Jewel Hampton RB Southern Illinois

253. Da’Jon McKnight WR Minnesota

254. Scott Solomon DE Rice

255. Elvis Akpla WR Montana State

Joe Arrigo: The On The Sidelines (OTS) Rumor Report

For those of you that don’t know, this is the OTS (On The Sidelines) Packers Rumor Report. The OTS are Packers rumors that I obtain through various sources that I have come to know through my years doing radio. They are sources in NFL in various capacities and do have direct knowledge of what is being discussed  by decision makers and front office personnel. Please keep in mind what a rumor is, hence what the OTS is:

RUMOR:

n.

A piece of unverified information of uncertain origin usually spread by word of mouth.
Unverified information received from another; hearsay.

It appears that the free agent shopping spree that GM Ted Thompson went on is over. While the Packers had DE/OLB Dave Tollefson in for a visit, he was only offered a 1 year deal for the minimum. This was reported a few days ago by the Packers beat writers.

Nick Collins, his agent and the Packers decision makers are discussing what the next move is for Collins and the team. While the rumor is Collins received the “OK” to resume his career, the Thompson and Mike McCarthy are not to sure if they want to take the enhanced risk of letting Collins play for the Packers. This is a highly fluid situation and the Packers brass wants whats best for Collins long term (after football) and was told they are 80-90% certain he won’t be a Packer in 2012 and if he is (a Packer)” he needs to get in the sales business after he retires”. I was told from an NFC Scout that he wouldn’t let Collins play for his team because “a neck injury is nothing to play with and the risk doesn’t outweigh the reward.”

I was also told that the team will explore extending Greg Jennings and Clay Matthews during the season and Aaron Rodgers as well. I was told that Thompson and McCarthy view the three players mentioned as the leaders on and off the field.

I was told that the Packers would indeed move up a few slots for a certain few players. They have narrowed their board down to the guys that they feel would be available around the time of their pick, but won’t overpay to move up a few slots.

Keep an eye on running backs early in the Packers draft and also late in the draft. Doug Martin, Chris Polk, Lamar Miller, and Bryce Brown are guys that they interest in.  Brown is interesting since their are question marks with him, but he has ability and low tread on his tires which makes him a little more intriguing.

A few names to watch for in the 1st round are Michael Brockers, Fletcher Cox, Dont’a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw, Whitney Merculis, Steven Gilmore, Dre Kirkpatrick and Doug Martin.

I was told 2 players high on the Packers board from Oklahoma; Ronnell Lewis (OLB) and Ryan Broyles (WR). Both are guys, that an AFC Scout told me are 2nd (Lewis) and late 3rd to early 5th (Broyles) grades and would be excellent fits for the Packers.

B.J. Coleman is a QB to watch for the Packers. They have requested extra tape on him and view him as a high upside/developmental guy that could be a very good player in time.

The Packers have a lot of interest in Chris Greenwood, CB, Albion Christian. If you followed my mocks, I also have been high on him, but I was told 2 and a half months ago that the Packers really like this kid and hoped he’d stay “under the radar”.

Another name to watch for is Alabama DL Josh Chapman. He can play the NT or 5 tech and has the intangibles that Ted Thompson looks for. He played the 2011 season with tears in his ACL and meniscus and still had a very productive year. An NFC scout told me he is “the most underrated player in this draft and on that Alabama defense”. He told me he has a 3rd-late 4th round grade on Chapman (because of the knee injury).

The same scout told me that Arkansas St. safety Kelcie McCray is another kid that fits what Thompson looks for and is a 5th or 6th round guy.

Chase Minnifield is falling in the draft. Scouts are worried about his knees and speed. The AFC scout that I contacted told me that  Minnifield could fall as far as the 6th round. I was told by one of my Packers sources that they have legit interest in him.

 

Joe Arrigo: My Final FINAL Packers Only Mock Draft

I had to do one last Packers only Mock Draft, I had to many people emailing me to do so. SO, here it is, the last Packers mock I plan on doing this draft seas on (key word there was PLAN).

Packers will receive a 4th round comp pick for Cullen Jenkins, a 4th for Daryn Colledge, a 7th for Brandon Jackson & Jason Spitz to go along with the Jets 7th round pick they obtained at the end of training camp.

This draft I see Thompson focusing on the defense but trying to add quality players when he can on offense. I also think if Thompson has the opportunity and at the right price, he’ll move up in just about any round to get that player. With the salary cap getting tighter (with all the FA signings) and roster size limited, this scenario is possible and one to watch on the draft days.

I do not do trades in my mock because know one really knows how much a team values a player and what they would give up (see the Redskins this year for example).

I think the following players will be traded/cut/released, not re-signed or retire:

Nick Collins- Released (neck injury)
Scott Wells (Signed by St. Louis)
Matt Flynn (Signed by Seattle)

Ryan Grant- Not Resigned
Howard Green- Not resigned
Frank Zombo- Not Resigned
Pat Lee (signed by Oakland)

I think the following players will be back or have been re-signed:

JerMichael Finley (re-signed 2 years $14+ million)

Jarrett Bush (re-signed 3years undisclosed dollar amount)
Chad Clifton
Donald Driver (restructured contract)

Erik Walden
Jeff Saturday (2 years $7.7 million)

Daniel Muir
Tony Hargrove

Final Packers Mock V.9.0

 

Round 1- (#28) - Michael Brockers- DE- LSU:

The sky is the limit for Michael Brockers’ upside and potential in the NFL. He is a developmental project who will need time to grow and mature as a player, and the team that drafts him must be willing to be patient as he develops. In my opinion, Brockers projects best as a 3-4 base end five-technique where his size, strength, and powerful base project very well here; in this role, he also would not be expected to produce as a pass rusher the same as if he were in a 4-3 defense, where he projects more as a massive one-technique down inside; he doesn’t offer the quick feet or shortarea burst that I look for in a three-technique. If he comes close to reaching his full potential and upside, Michael Brockers will be a perennial Pro Bowler. However, he is very far away from that point and looks the part of a boom-or-bust prospect who needs to land with the right team in order to find success in the NFL.

 

Round 2- (#59) – Ronnell Lewis- OLB- Oklahoma: 

 Ronnell Lewis is an intriguing pass rushing prospect because of the physical tools that he offers. Lewis projects favorably as a 3-4 outside rush linebacker where the wide alignment outside could give him a better opportunity to rush the passer at the next level. In the 4-3 defense, he either projects as a pass rush specialist at end or as a developmental project as a WILL linebacker, however he projects far better in the 3-4 than 4-3. Lewis is still a raw prospect who needs quite a bit of development, however he has the physical tools to develop into a productive starting rush linebacker for a team in the NFL; it’s just a question of how quickly he can develop, how well he can learn a complex defense, and how much work he will put in off the field. Because he has high upside but so many questions at the same time, Lewis has the makings of being a boom-or-bust prospect.

 

Round 3- (#90) – Chris Polk- RB- Washington:

With Chris Polk, NFL teams will know exactly what they’re getting: a bell cow of a running back who is not going to be a home run hitter, but has what it takes to be a starting back in the mold of Michael Turner of the Atlanta Falcons, a consistent back who will average just over four yards per carry and will lose his speed and agility as he ages and accumulates more carries and the hits that come with them. Where Chris helps himself is with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, which is something that Turner doesn’t offer, giving Polk a chance to contribute early in his career in the NFL. Polk lost weight and seemed to increase his speed which only helps him in the NFL.

 

Round 4- (#123) – Tramain Thomas- S- Arkansas:

Tramain Thomas is a complete prospect at the safety position who has what it takes to develop into a solid starting strong safety in the NFL with a year or two of further development. His value is higher this year than in any other year because of the poor safety class in 2012. At worst, he’d be a quality fifth-or-sixth defensive back for nickel and dime defenses and a great special teams player, however he has far higher upside than that.

 

Round 4- (#132) (Compensatory) – Ryan Broyles- WR- Oklahoma:

Ryan Broyles is a very reliable option in the passing game who has the tools and skillset needed to develop into a very good slot receiver and No. 3 option in the passing game for a team. While it remains to be seen if he’ll be an explosive presence,  his ability to work the short-to-intermediate range as a “catch-and-run” option can not be denied. Broyles can offer a ton of value to a team with his dependability and consistency as a receiver.

 

Round 4- (#133) (Compensatory) –Akiem Hicks- DL- Regina:

Akiem Hicks is simply a raw, talented, athletic piece of clay that his position coach will need to be able to get his hands on and mold into an NFL defensive lineman at the next level. He’s the epitome of a developmental project and it would not surprise me if it took a few years for him to transition and begin to develop; the team that he lands with must be patient with him. He projects well as a three-technique tackle in the 4-3 defense or as a five-technique base end in the 3-4 defense. With a raw, talented player from Canada, he’s an intriguing prospect because his upside and potential are high, however his ceiling will be determined by the team that he lands with and how well they can develop him. He has the tools and skillset needed to be a fine rotational defensive tackle or end who has the athleticism and agility to be a nice pass rusher, however it’d be a stretch to say that he can eventually be a starter in the NFL, as it’s simply too hard to say.

 

Round 5- (#163) – Philip Blake- C- Baylor:

Philip Blake is a big, strong, tough center prospect who has the physical tools and skillset to develop into a fine starting center in the NFL; he’s not going to be a high-upside player, however for a power-run oriented team looking for a player who could develop quickly and pave holes in the run game, Philip would be a great fit.

 

Round 6- (#197) – Chase Minifield- CB- Virginia:

 Chase Minnifield owns the talent and physical tools needed to eventually develop into a starting defensive back in the NFL, however his average showing during his senior season suggests that he still has a ways to go to reach that point and with questions about his knees, his stock is dropping fast and far. Minnifield projects best as a cornerback in a Cover-2 scheme in which he would be given the opportunity to play in zone coverage and work close to the line of scrimmage as a run defender. I could also see him moving to free safety with his ball skills, instincts, and experience in zone coverage. The talent and skills are there, Chase just needs further development in order to become an NFL-caliber defensive back.

 

Round 7- (#224) (from New York Jets) – B.J. Coleman – QB- Tennessee-Chattanooga:

B.J. Coleman is a former top recruit who originally signed with the University of Tennessee, is a quality small-school developmental quarterback prospect who projects early on as a fine No. 2 or more likely No. 3 quarterback for a team who has the instincts, understanding of the game, intangibles, and physical tools needed to develop quickly and have a successful pro career. Although he needs a few years of development, I believe that B.J. could compete for a starting job down the road if given the opportunity. He has some untapped potential because of the low-level of competition that he played at and the fact that he was dinged up for part of his senior year. Coleman is a player that I would strongly consider drafting in the mid-to-late rounds if I were running a draft.

 

Round 7- (#235) – Chris Greenwood- CB- Albion:

  I really like this kid A LOT! Greenwood has the size (6’1/196) and projected speed (4.37) to intrigue teams late in the draft. The level of competition is a huge question with Greenwood. He literally shut down half of the field for 3 years while attending Albion. Greenwood also has the type of personality that would make him a perfect fit in the Green Bay locker room, humble, hard working and eager to learn. This kid is more of an athlete then CB right now, but if Joe Whitt Jr. can tap into his potential like he did Shields a couple years ago, the Packers would be suddenly deep at CB.

 

Round 7- (#241) (Compensatory) – Tom Compton- OL- South Dakota:

Tom Compton has all of the tools, measurables, and the skillset that you look for in a developmental player capable of eventually competing for a starting job in the NFL. I believe that he could be a very effective offensive guard in the NFL, however he should be tried at right tackle first, as he has enough upside to grow into being a good player here at the next level. The expected versatility that he should be able to bring to the table will certainly help his value to the team that drafts him. Tom won’t be a flashy pick, however if he lands with a team that is willing to be patient with him, he could turn out to be a gem in the mid-to-late rounds if he lands with the right team.

 

Round 7- (#243) (Compensatory) – Cordarro Law- OLB- Southern Miss:

 Cordarro Law has the motor, intensity, pass rushing awareness, and polished hand use needed to develop into an effective situational pass rush specialist for a team. His ceiling is limited because of his lack of size and strength, however for a team looking for a player who will bring great effort and has the skills to get to the quarterback, Law could be a nice find late in the draft. In my opinion, Law has some intriguing upside as a 3-4 outside rush linebacker where I think that he could surprise some people if given the chance to compete for a job here; in the 4-3 defense, he projects as a pass rushing end.

Joe Arrigo’s 2012 NFL Draft Series: Running Backs Evaluation

When evaluating the 2012 NFL Draft class many focus on the two Quarterback prospects and rightfully so. But even in today’s NFL where offense’s are scoring at a record pace and doing it through the air, a solid running game is needed. A running game completes the offense and will take an even more potent offense out of the game by keeping them off the field.

The running backs in the 2012 draft has a little bit of of everything, but only one true “bell cow back” in Alabama’s Trent Richardson. What this draft does have is a unique group of backs that can do specific things and a certain skill set to contribute to the team that selections them.

Here are my Top 10 running backs for the 2012 NFL draft class:

1. Trent Richardson- Alabama- 5-9 – 228:

Trent Richardson is the most complete running back prospect to enter the NFL since Adrian Peterson (who was selected seventh overall in 2007 by the Vikings). Trent Richardson is a classic workhorse back who put Alabama’s offense on his shoulders in leading the Crimson Tide to a National Championship season in 2011. The Doak Walker Award winner as the best running back in college football, Richardson is only a one year starter after splitting time with Mark Ingram during the first two years of his career.  Owning rare strength for the running back position (475 pound bench, 650 pound squat, 365 pound clean), Trent is built like a bulldog, who is a thick, powerful running back with Redwood tree trunks for legs and an ideal combination of size, strength, and speed for the position. A workhorse back capable of shouldering the load in the run game, Richardson is one of the best between-the-tackles runners to enter the NFL in the past five years. He displays rare patience to wait for his blocks to develop while staying at full steam in order to accelerate through the hole the second that it opens up. Richardson is a true “bell cow back” who owns the power and strength needed to run through tackles with ease; he does a fabulous job of running behind his pads, and with his center of gravity and pad level, he’s almost always the lowest man at the point of contact with the defender. Trent has natural vision down the field, finding open cutback lanes with ease while owning the burst and acceleration needed to hit it consistently. He’s shown the ability to stick his foot in the ground and cut up the field or bounce the run to the outside after reaching the second level. A versatile all-purpose athlete capable of running, catching, and returning, Richardson brought a complete package of tools to Alabama. A natural receiver out of the backfield, Trent caught 68 passes for 730 yards and seven touchdowns over the course of his career.

2. Doug Martin – Boise State – 5-9 – 219:

One of the most complete running backs available in this year’s draft, Doug Martin leaves Boise State after having been a valuable weapon on offense for the Broncos. A two-year starter in Boise, Martin finished his career having rushed for 3,435 yards and 43 touchdowns on 616 carries, good for a 5.6-yards per carry average; his best statistical season came as a senior in 2011 when he produced 1,299 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns on 263 carries (4.9-yards per carry). A compact, downhill runner with a terrific combination of strength, agility, and quickness to take the ball the distance from 30 anywhere on the field, Martin has a habit of making defenders miss once he reaches the second level and is given room to work with in the open field. A patient runner with very good vision through the hole, Doug’s decisive running style and fantastic cutback ability are reasons why he has been a very hard player for opposing defenses to bring down. In addition to providing the shiftiness and elusiveness to make a defender miss in the open field, Martin runs low to the ground with good leg drive, and when you combine that with his great strength and balance as a runner, he’s proven that he can also run through defenders at the second and third levels. A very good yards-after-contact back who does not go down easily, Doug does a good job of running behind his pads and turns into a tough, powerful back through the hole once he reaches his top speed as quickly as does. His explosion and burst through the hole and down the field is excellent and I love his ability to stop and start on a dime when redirecting at the second level. Although not elite, Doug has shown that he has more than enough speed to beat a defense as a home run threat. What makes Martin such a complete back is his reliability as a pass blocker as well as when he’s catching the ball out of the backfield. He’s polished as a blocker with the overall strength to consistently take on and neutralize defenders at the point of attack. Having caught 67 passes for 709 yards and four touchdowns throughout his career at Boise State, Doug has displayed the soft, dependable hands needed to be a terrific check down or safety net.

3. Lamar Miller – Miami (FL) – 5-10 – 212:

Emerging at the national level in 2011, Lamar Miller took advantage of being handed the starting job and ran with it at Miami (FL). A one-year starter with just 13 career starts for the Hurricanes, Miller rushed for 1,272 yards and nine touchdowns on 227 carries (5.6 yards-per-carry) during his redshirt sophomore season; he finished his career at Miami having carried the ball 335 times for 1,918 yards and 15 touchdowns. A downhill, one-cut back with the agility needed to stick his foot in the ground and make a defender miss, Lamar owns the straight-line speed needed to take it the distance any time he touches it. Owning a fine frame for the position, Miller will need to continue to add weight and get stronger at the next level. With very quick feet to and through the hole, Lamar offers very good acceleration upon reaching an opening and shows the burst needed to pick up speed and run away from a defense. Between the tackles, he offers enough bulk needed to bounce off of tacklers, however not enough to physically run through them with power; he runs more upright than you’d prefer, not doing a good enough job yet of running behind his pads at the point of contact. Lamar shows the quickness at the second level needed to make a defender miss with one cut to get the ball outside and into the open field. Miller owns the explosion that you look for in short areas, making him a very difficult player to bring down for just one defender, as he’s more than capable of either evading or sliding off the tackle. He’s not quite a quick-twitch back who will make defenders miss on a consistent basis, but has the type of light feet where it comes natural to him to change speeds without hesitation to create separation.

4. David Wilson – Virginia Tech – 5-9 – 206:

When Ryan Williams and Darren Evans both declared for the 2011 NFL Draft, many expected David Wilson to come in and be a fine replacement, however not many could have expected him to rush for 1,709 yards and nine touchdowns on 290 carries (5.9-yards per carry) as well as being named the ACC Player of the Year in his first season as the Hokies’ starter in 2011. That standout season resulted in a one-and-done situation in which Wilson opted to declare for the draft himself, making it three Hokie backs in two years to enter the NFL. Over the course of his three-year career at Virginia Tech, David rushed for a total of 2,662 yards and 18 touchdowns on 462 carries (5.8-yards per carry). One of the top all-around athletes in the country at any position, Wilson proved in 2011 to be one of the most elusive backs in college football, capable of sticking his foot in the ground and getting up the field very quickly. An explosive and agile runner with great vision, David has very light, nimble feet with excellent quickness to find the hole and pick his way through it; he does a great job of tip toeing his way through traffic with good patience while also showing the suddenness, acceleration, and burst needed to dart in and out of holes in the open field. Wilson’s explosiveness was more than evident at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis where he had a standout performance (41 inch vertical, 11 foot broad jump) which has helped his draft stock. Wilson is a far more effective runner in the open field than between the tackles, David is an effective east/west runner who gets outside to the perimeter quickly on stretches and sweeps and has proven to be a dangerous threat in the open field who is very difficult for defenses to contain. He’s a very balanced runner who has shown on numerous occasions that he has the skills needed to create on his own. Between the tackles, Wilson does a fine job of following his blocks through the hole before sticking his foot in the ground to cut outside once he reaches the second level; he has little trouble side-stepping linebackers in the hole and offers the fluid athleticism and flexibility needed to redirect on a dime to take a different angle down the field.

5. Chris Polk – Washington – 5-10 – 224:

The second-leading rusher in Washington school history, Polk proved to be a bell cow for the Husky offense throughout his career, finishing his four-year stay with 4,049 yards and 26 touchdowns on 799 carries (5.1-yards per carry); his most productive season came as a senior in 2011 when he carried the ball 293 times for 1,488 yards and 12 touchdowns (5.1-yards per carry). A workhorse back capable of carrying the full load in the run game, Polk offers an excellent combination of size, strength, balance, and speed for the position. In the last three years, Chris has 20 games where he carried the ball 20+ times, including 10 as a senior in 2011; his ability to shoulder the load in the run game and allow for his offense to run him into the ground and still gain production is something that I really like about him. He’s a dependable and reliable back who his team could lean on when they needed to pick up yardage. Chris is a north/south runner who possesses enough shiftiness and agility to make a defense respect his ability to make defenders miss. Although not very explosive or quick, he’s an agile player with light enough feet to tiptoe his way through traffic and make a cut to elude a defender. A big yards-after-contact back who runs with power, Polk is capable of running through arm tackles at the second level when given the chance to gain momentum with an open hole. He’s not one that owns the quick-twitch ability to create on his own in the backfield, however when he has the opportunity to hit a hole, he does so with good acceleration, giving himself the chance to bounce off of defenders down the field. I also like the fact that he churns his legs to pick up extra yardage after contact; it’s almost rare when one defender brings him down by himself, often needing swarming teammates to assist with the tackle. Chris is a very patient runner who consistently waits for his blocks to develop up front before entering the hole; there are times when he’s almost too hesitant, which will result in him being caught behind the line or being stonewalled at the line of scrimmage. One of the most underrated parts of Polk’s overall game is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. A natural receiver with soft hands, Chris hauled in a total of 79 passes for 683 yards and four touchdowns throughout his career with the Huskies. (Note: I have watched play since he was in High School at Redlands East Valley HS in Redlands, California)

The Next 5

6. Robert Turbin – Utah State

7. Isaiah Pead – Cincinnati

8. LaMichael James – Oregon

9. Cyrus Gray – Texas A&M

10. Terrance Ganaway – Baylor

Overrated: LaMichael James: I am not as high on James as others. He had inflated stats at Oregon, a few incidents that NFL teams have to really look into closely and was dinged up a lot.

Underrated: Chris Polk: He’s a guy that may end up being the second best back in this draft when it’s all said and done. He’s a guy that can do it all and just produced on every level he has played at. He seems to come up big when his teams need him too.

Small School Sleeper: Alfred Morris – Florida Atlantic: An underrated running back prospect who possesses the size, strength, and power to be an effective between-the-tackles runner at the next level.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 61 other followers