Archive for the ‘Running Backs’ Category

Demarco Murray Scouting Report

Posted: January 30, 2011 by Jurdon Golden in Running Backs

Competitiveness: Extremely physical running back almost to a fault because he has most definitely put his body through some punishment at Oklahoma. With a bruising running style similar to his predecessor Adrian Peterson, Murray does not shy away from contact, and finishes runs moving piles and falling forward.

Vision/Patience: Vision and Patience is average at best. Murray sometimes shows flashes of patience letting his blocks development and then exploiting them, but very inconsistent. Has the tendency to hit the first hole he sees, and not wait for cutback lanes, or other holes to develop.

Agility/Acceleration: Acceleration is average as well, but when healthy Murray did show he could flash some speed for a bigger back. He is a more a one cut down field runner, but does possess a lot of agility running and catching the ball out the backfield. Showed that when he reached the second level he the acceleration to hit the home run.

Power/Balance: Murray does have power in his 6’1 217 pound frame, but he loses some of this with a high running style. Must work on keeping his pad level lower especially entering the league to take on much bigger and faster opponents.  Displays a good amount of balance takings hits from defensive players, or tight roping the sideline for extra yardage.

Passing Game: Probably Murrays strongest asset entering the NFL is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Not only great at selling the screen, but can catch the ball in a variety of different ways short to long. With a lot of teams having their running backs close to the top of the list of passes caught Murray increases his stock being a good pass catching running back.

Intangibles: Extremely hard working on and off the field, a true gym rat indeed. Has had some injuries though out his time at Oklahoma, but rehabbed well got back on the field.

Overall Stock: Because of his durability and lack of breakaway speed Murray has hurt his draft stock over the past two years. If he can stay healthy Murray is a very versatile player that could be a nice addition to a team as a third down pass catching RB.


Mikel Leshoure Scouting Report

Posted: January 26, 2011 by Larry McDaniel Jr. in Running Backs
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Measurebles: Height: 6’0”  | Weight: 227  | Position: Running Back

Competitiveness: Very tough and well put together kid. Runs with a chip on his shoulder. Rarely shies away from contact or runs out of bounds. Makes himself compact and will lower his head and push the pile, and will also lower his head in the open field and run threw defenders. Plays with a lot of fire and passion.

Vision/Patience: Big running backs usually don’t have patience, but that is not the case for Leshoure. His vision is extraordinary. He’s able to find creases, big or small. Has the ability to see the cut back lanes. Plays with a lot of patience. Allows his blockers to get their bodies on defenders, and allows holes to develop. Also shows extraordinary vision in the open field. Does a good job of making defenders pay when they take poor angles.

Agility/Acceleration: Very agile and light on his feet. Has some shake and bake and wiggle to his game. Can cut on the dime and leave tacklers in mud. Always makes the first defender miss. Possesses two gears. Can explode through the hole and reach the second level consistently. Top end speed is average. Will break off long runs and get caught from behind on occasion.

Power/Balance: Runs the ball powerfully. Doesn’t go down easily. Usually takes more than one defender to bring him down. Shows excellent balance, especially during contact. Bounces off of tacklers often, and keeps going. Will run upright at times, but knows when to bend his knees and play with leverage.

Passing Game: Excellent in the passing game. Sells the screen well. Can come out the backfield on swings and wheels and make a play. Does a nice job of picking up blitzers when asked to stay in and protect.

Intangibles: 2010 College Football Performance Awards Running Back. 2010 AP All-American Second Team. 2010 First Team All-Big Ten selection. Second in the nation in rushing yards and touchdowns. Suspended for September 2009 matchup against Illinois State for violating team rules. Suffered broken jaw in 2008 and lost 17 pounds. Reportedly it was due to a fight with teammate Jeff Cumberland.

Overall Stock: Mikel Leshoure was highly impressive in 2010. His combination of size and agility made him dangerous every time he touched the ball. His numbers are slightly deceiving. He had the luxury of playing in an option read offense where holes were larger than normal, due to defenders having to worry about the quarterback running. Nonetheless, Leshoure is an excellent talent. With his play in 2010, he has worked his way into late first-second round consideration. He is currently ranked as the second best running back, behind Heisman Award winner, Mark Ingram. He isn’t the fastest guy, so teams will pay close attention to his forty-yard dash at the NFL Combine. If he can put up an acceptable number, he won’t last long in the draft. Leshoure is some what of an unknown to the average football fan. I think fans will soon know who Leshoure is. 

NFL Comparison: Arian Foster

RB, Noel Devine (5’7⅝” 177 lbs.) – West Virginia Mountaineers

Competitiveness: For a smaller back, shows superb toughness running the ball. Played most of the 2010 season with an injury, but showed his true competitive spirit by playing through the pain. Willing to run inside as well as take on defenders head on. Does tend to shy away from contact when near the sideline.

Vision/Patience: Shows the ability to wait for blocks to develop before hitting the open hole, but is inconsistent at it. Needs to develop more patience and hold his water more often. On broken plays, uses his vision to bounce plays outside. Also has a great ability to exploit seams in the defense and pick up huge yardage.

Agility/Acceleration: Might have the best combination of agility and acceleration amongst all the running backs in the draft. He has above average top end speed, can cut on a dime, and break defenders down in open space. Accelerates and gets up to top speed quickly. Can hit the home run if run fits aren’t played properly and edges aren’t set. Due to his injury in 2010, he didn’t break off as many explosive plays, but has shown when healthy, he is a threat from anywhere on the field.

Power/Balance: Small in stature. Does not possess much power in his small frame. Shows the and ability to drop a mean stiff arm from time to time, but will not be running over any defenders at the next level. On the other hand, his balance is excellent when planting and cutting. Can be pushed and/or pulled down with relative ease.

Passing Game: Has receiver-like ability coming out the backfield. Catches the ball well with his hands, but doesn’t contort his body to make difficult catches consistently. Very good at picking up blitzes, even from larger linebackers.

Intangibles: Some question marks about Devine’s maturity and character have been raised. Has been in some trouble with the law, and has fathered three children. Was named a 2010 Team Captain. Received multiple awards while at West Virginia and coaches say he has matured during his time there.

Overall Stock: Noel Devine had better numbers during his 2009 campaign and probably would have been drafted higher if he had come out last year. He suffered a toe injury in 2010, and that really hampered his production. Devine has big play ability written all over him. He can make difference as a change of pace back, third down back and kick returner at the next level. Right now as it stands, Devine looks like a fourth round pick. 

NFL comparisons: Steve Slaton, LaRod Stevens-Howling, and Darren Sproels

#37 RB, Ryan Williams (5’10 210 lbs.) – Virginia Tech Hookies

Competitiveness: A very competitive back who runs with purpose and tenacity. In 2009, Darren Evans went down with injury, and Williams filled in nicely. As the feature back, Williams has a monster season and broke the ACC and Virginia Tech freshman rushing records. Is persistent to get yards after first contact, which sometimes leads poor ball security.

Vision/Patience: Shows excellent vision and patience. Unlike most young backs, Williams allows blocks to develop before making his cut and turning it up field. Shows extended vision at the second level. Has the ability to consistently turn 5-10 yard gains into 20+ yard gains.

Agility/Acceleration: Williams is very quick. Displays excellent lateral movement. Shows good, not great top end speed. Can get caught from behind and drugged down when running to daylight.

Power/Balance: Williams isn’t quite the bruiser that Mark Ingram is, but he does run extremely hard. His style allows him to constantly fall forward for extra yards. Isn’t that big of a back, but has enough size to move the pile and pick up 1st downs in short yardage situations. Shows great balance, and breaks a ton of arm tackles because of it.

Passing Game: This is where Williams needs to grow as a running back. Not the type of back to line up outside the hashes and run a down field route. Is a good check down option, and has the ability to pick up decent yardage with the ball in his hands, but he must sure his hands up. Has a good feel for getting open when the quarterback is flushed from the pocket. Needs to catch the ball cleanly with his hands. Also is still developing in pass protection. Needs to improve his blocking technique and blitz pickup recognition.

Intangibles: After a record breaking 209 season, Williams was hampered off and on by injuries in 2010. Due to injuries, he found himself splitting time with Darren Evans. Williams took it in stride and never complained. Is a hard worker in the gym and classroom.

Overall Stock: I am not high on Ryan Williams. I don’t believe a sophomore running back should enter the draft after one good season, and one injury plagued season. A team will take a chance on Williams because he possesses some good qualities and the ability to be a feature back, but he will need a year or two to develop. It would have been to his advantage to return to school, especially with Darren Evans entering the draft. Im sure injuries played a part in his decision. He still has momentum from his 2009 performance, and he wants to cash in. Running backs don’t go in the first round unless they’re truly special. I expect a teams to start giving Williams looks in the second round. 

NFL Comparisons: Arian Foster and Marshawn Lynch


#23, Mark Ingram (5’10 215 lbs.) – Alabama Crimson Tide


Competitiveness: Strong, quick, decisive runner that hits the hole quickly. Can run through you, and past you as well. A very powerful back that does not shy away from contact, and looks to stay in bounds and finish every run with authority. Always falls forward after contact. Is tough to bring down, and usually requires more than one defender to do so. Gets stronger as the quarters go on. Suffered a knee injury prior to the 2010 season, but didn’t let that keep him off the field.

Vision/Patience: Displays excellent vision behind a large and stout, run dominating offensive line. Does not just burst through the first hole that appears. Remains patient and waits for blocks to take place. This allows him to get to the second level quite often. Show great peripheral vision, and knows when to make the appropriate cut backs to turn a small run into a big one.

Agility/Acceleration: Has above average speed for a back of his size. Possesses a bruiser mentality, but when in open field, shows the ability to run away from defenders. Agility is also above average. Lateral quickness allows him to make instant cuts and can plant his cleat and stop on the dime.

Power/Balance: Shows great balance and body control. Runs well behind his pads. Stays low and maintains leverage prior to contact. Get’s stronger as the game goes on, and wears defenses down with his physicality.

Passing Game: Is a reliable option out the backfield. Caught 53 passes for 616 yards, and 4 touchdowns in his last two seasons. Those numbers don’t jump off the page, but they do when you realize that Alabama’s offense is run oriented.  Gets to his check down spots quick. Shows good patience on screen plays, effectively allowing his offensive lineman to get into position. Also is an explosive blocker in the backfield.

Intangibles: The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner and the first in Alabama history. Derrick Thomas award winner for community outreach. Shows great leadership. Is Alabama’s feature running back, but often splits carriers with Trent Richardson. Never complains about his work load and is a team first guy. Comes from good bloodlines. Father, Mark Ingram Sr. was an NFL star in the 1990’s. Mark Sr. is now in prison for money laundering and fraud. This hasn’t been a distraction to Ingram, but it has motivated him to do good on and off the field.

Overall Stock: Ingram will be the first running back off the board in a relatively weak running back class. Comes from a pro-style offense and has experience carrying the ball 20+ times a game. Teams will do their due diligence when it comes to his health. Hampered by a knee injury in 2010, his stock has dropped a little since his outstanding 2009 Heisman campaign. If all checks out, expect him to go in the middle of the 1st round. 

NFL Comparisons: A bigger Ahmad Bradshaw and Emmitt Smith