Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Who Dat? Draft Preview: Running Backs



Photo courtesy of Deadspin.com



Lawrence "Kool-Aid" Maroney proved last year that he could be an every down back, after Sammy Morris literally had his chest broken. He looked great in the playoffs as well, helping Tom Brady and Company control the ball and clock and pound away hard yards. Maroney gets dinged up though, and so does Sammy, so it might behoove the Pats to look into someone who can eat up more yards than Heath Evans and Kyle Eckel(who I noticed during a game last year has a very impressive Tramp Stamp). They should have Morris back in time to start the season, but depth might be something that Belichick will be looking for in some of the later round. Again, I am just going to ignore Darren McFadden because there is no way Al Davis lets him get to the Patriots.

1. Jonathan Stewart-RB- Oregon- If Darren McFadden is the best running back in the draft, Stewart is a very close second. Destined to be a super star in the pros, thick and strong but still agile enough to avoid tackles. Great vision, who could be an immediate impact for any team that drafts him. Like Maroney, he has experience returning kicks and punts, a quality that is looked upon highly by Belichick. Has a 40 inch vertical, meaning he could clear any gnomes or dwarfs that the defense has lined up in the backfield. Some injury concerns, recently broke his toe and will be out until at least August. Cousin of Kordell Stewart, which knocks his stock down a few pegs (well at least in my book). A mid first round pick, would be a nice pick for the Pats, but unless Belichick has something up his sleeves, won't happen.

2. Rashard Mendenhall- RB- Illinois- Silky, smooth a great prospect that exploded onto the national scene this year with the Fighting Illini. Another RB with a rare combination of speed and physicality who some analysts are whispering could even be better than Darren McFadden(gasp!). Durability will not be an issue with him, as he hasn't been hurt very often, and he could easily go to have a long productive career in the NFL. Another low first round pick, could be attractive to a team like the Lions (though I hear Matt Millen is eyeing Devin Thomas) or the Texans who have struggled finding a running game last year.

3. Felix Jones- RB- Arkansas. The other guy at Arkansas. While MacFadden got all the accolades Jones put together a very impressive junior campaign, putting together a solid 1000+ yard campaign while averaging a mind numbing 7.6 yards per carry. Great feet and moves in the open field, can shake a defender out of his shoes as they say. Projected to go late first round, early second round, could be a flashy player in the pros that makes big plays, but also could be a complete bust. Some scouts compare him to a less effective Reggie Bush, which hopefully will encourage Belichick to avoid him. (Note: Hazel Mae's Landing Strip has nothing against Reggie Bush, he just believes he won't as great of a player that everyone seems to think he will)

4. Ray Rice- RB- Rutgers. Put on this list because he probably will fall into the late 2nd or 3rd round when the Pats could be looking for a running back. A small guy at 5'8 he put up great numbers in college, and was actually 7th in the Heisman during 2006. Really quick but his size, and questions about his blocking ability might relegate him to a back up role in the pros. Could get beat up badly by the more physical defenses in the NFL. But who needs size when you can do shit like this:



5. Kevin Smith- RB- Central Florida. If you are an ESPN person you probably have never heard of this guy, hell tWWL ignores most schools not in power conferences. But if you opened up a college football website and looked at his stats, you would have seen a running back that put up numbers that were almost as good as Barry Sanders 1988 campaign. Thats scary. Now I am not saying he will be anywhere near the player Sanders is, UCF doesn't necessarily play the most competitive schedule. But his natural instincts and ability to see the whole field, could make him a solid pick in the 2nd round. Durability might be an issue as he ran the ball A SHIT LOAD in college.

So there you have it, those are five running backs that might be around in the early rounds for the Patriots. With other glaring needs, I can't see the Pats going after any of these guys in the early rounds during the first day, but they might try and build some depth in the later rounds. I always see Belichick going for more of the bruiser type backs, guys that are more likely to knock your teeth in than run around you. Guys like Ryan Torrain of Arizona St. or Cory Boyd from South Carolina might be a solid pick in the later rounds. Just a reminder, and to be a shill for my own event, the "Mass Hysteria First Annual Draft Selection Extravanganza" will happen on Saturday. Yes I get the irony, the blog isn't open yet, and no one will be able to read it. But fuck man! This will be my chance to shine, be there or die!

Next Up: Other Positions

4 comments:

Sh!tShow said...

Deadspin? Who the fuck reads that?

Sh!tShow said...

And please, humor me with a Darren McFadden one, huh? Shits and giggles, you know.

futuremrsrickankiel said...

I'll be there! I don't want to die!

And the Bruins' season is dead looong before we go live, so I feel no sympathy.

/writes post about Game 7 in theory

A Pimp Named DaveR said...

the fuck is a deadspin