May 122012
 

 

Running Back

Oregon

5-8 194

Draft board overall prospect rank: #124

Draft board overall running back rank: #10

Overall rating: 62 (4th round)

40 time: 4.37

Game notes: USC/OregonStanford/OregonCalifornia/Oregon, Oregon/Wisconsin

Positives

·         Incredibly fast

·         Incredibly explosive

·         A threat to score at any time

·         Very productive over the last 3 years (2009: 1546 yards and 14 touchdowns on 230 carries, 2010: 1731 yards and 21 touchdowns on 294 carries, 2011: 1805 yards and 18 touchdowns on 247 carries)

·         Elusive

·         Good vision

·         Deadly in the open field

·         Good pass catcher (51 catches in 3 years in a run heavy offense)

·         A team leader

·         Great toughness

·         All the intangibles

·         Played through injuries

·         Return ability

Negatives

·         Played in a weird offense

·         Undersized (5-8 193)

·         Has a history of injury problems

·         Not much of a between the tackles runner

·         Doesn’t push the pile

·         Struggled against elite defenses

·         His game relies on defense’s breaking contain

·         Won’t carry the load at the next level

·         Already has a lot of tread on his tires (771 carries)

·         Doesn’t get a lot of yards after contact

·         Not a short yardage back

NFL Comparison: Reggie Bush

Bush is a little bigger (6-0 200), but the comparisons are obvious. Both were explosive playmakers for good teams for years in college football. Bush obviously went #2 overall, but that was an obvious mistake in hindsight. I think James will be overdrafted as well, but not nearly as much. I have a 4th round grade on him and he should come off the board in the 2nd or 3rd round.

He has a history of injury problems. He already has a lot of tread on his tires (771 carries). He’s undersized. He doesn’t get a lot of yards after contact and he was pretty inconsistent in his career. He struggled against good defenses that didn’t often break contact and his game is so dependent on defenses breaking down and missing assignments. That doesn’t happen that often in the NFL. He also played in a weird offense in college that won’t translate to the NFL and a lot of his production was as a result of the offense he played in.

I think someone will overdraft him on his production, his name, and his game breaking ability. Like, Bush, he’d be best as part of a tandem, but I do question his ability to stay healthy. It’s also worth noting that Bush rushed for fewer than 4 yards per carry in 3 seasons, something that could happen to James as well, as is evidenced by his struggles against elite defenses.

He’ll probably come off the board in the 2nd or 3rd round to a team like San Diego (needs a #2 back behind Ryan Matthews and I’m sure Phillip Rivers wouldn’t mind a Darren Sproles like player on his offense), Cincinnati (needs another back to go with Bernard Scott and BenJarvus Green-Ellis), Tampa Bay (needs a compliment for LeGarrette Blount), and the Jets (needs a compliment for Shonn Greene.

 

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