Thursday, February 24, 2011

NFL's Top RB Prospects

If your favorite NFL team struggled with their ground attack last season, help may not be on the way in this year's NFL Draft. As it currently stands, there's simply a lack of elite talent at the RB position available. However, that does not mean someone will not emerge from this weekend's NFL Combine. Also working in many teams favor is the fact that a top level running back can be found in the late rounds of the NFL draft, meaning there are plenty of diamonds in the rough.

1) Mark Ingram Alabama: The junior back is without a doubt the top of this year's thin class. Ingram won the Heisman as a sophomore at Alabama, but that has no affect on how he will perform in the NFL. What we do know know about Ingram is he is a powerful runner, who has enough speed to create space between himself and defenders in chase. Despite his frame, Ingram is a powerful runner, who is rarely brought down by the first tackler. Ingram proved he is NFL ready by displaying great patience when carrying the ball, and allowing the holes to open for him. There are not a lot of knocks on Mark Ingram's game. He is a powerful runner who has a proven track record. The only thing that could hurt his draft stock would be a slow 40 -yard dash time, or if a NFL team reads too deeply into his past injuries.

2) DeMarco Murray Oklahoma: Murray may be the most physically gifted running back in the draft. During his tenure with the Sooners, DeMarco was a one man highlight reel, ripping off impressive runs and finding the end zone on a regular basis. Murray posses a quick burst that allows him to explode to the outside, and he carries that momentum into the tackle and almost always falls forward. It would not be surprising if Murray is able to post one of the best times in this year's Combine. One thing Murray lacks is the ability to run the ball between the tackles. Despite his powerful frame, he is not an overly powerful runner. Due to his lack of power running the ball, DeMarco is also prone to trying to bounce his runs outside instead of waiting for the hole to develop.

3) Daniel Thomas Kansas St.: Chances are you have not heard of Mr. Thomas, but that's mainly due to K-State's lack of main stream exposure. What he brings to the table is ton of power, and a strong running style that makes you think he is a throwback to the running backs of old. This guy is a pile mover, who refuses to go down on the first hit, and he will simply run through an arm tackle. Being in a run first offense like Kansas State's is something a lot of backs do not have the luxury of in today's college football scene, and as a result a lot of backs entering the drafty lack some of the subtle skills it takes to play the position in the NFL. Daniel Thomas is not one of those guys. Thanks to his days in college he has proven he can be a workhorse back who can carry the load. He also shows great patience and good vision when finding the hole. If there is a knock against Thomas it is that he can be too patient when waiting for the hole to open. This becomes very evident when you realize he lacks top end speed to break away from defenders once he makes his initial cut.


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