Marcus Hartman: Wells has all the physical tools of a great running back, but more importantly, he has great instincts. For a big guy, he's very elusive. He can go around people and hurdled tacklers on two different occasions this past season. More than that, he is a great cutback runner.
I think he could succeed as a featured back or in a two-back system. He's certainly the type who gets better the more carries he gets. Plus, he can wear down defenses because he's so big. He's actually not been that great in short-yardage situations, although that could be the fault of an offensive line that has not exactly blown people off the ball the last couple of years.
ML: There are some questions about Wells' ability to play through nagging injuries. The Chargers have been burnt by that kind of player before (see Davis, Buster). Is this an overblown issue with Wells or is it a legitimate point of concern?
RB Chris Wells
Early that year, he seemed to let the ankle get to him more than later. Tressel talked about him needing to learn "to be a warrior" because tailbacks have to play with more pain than other players, and Wells seemed to take that to heart. He had a tremendous second half of the year in '07 and finished with over 1,600 yards.
Last year, the foot/toe injury he suffered was much more than a nagging thing, then he had a tweaked hamstring that prevented him from finishing the last two games of the regular season, but it's hard to categorize that. They didn't need him late in either of those contests, so it's debatable if he could have returned or not.
Against Texas, he got conked on the head and was kept out of the fourth quarter, but I think head injuries are a different animal as compared to something "nagging."
If I were a GM and I liked Wells' skill-set, I would not let injuries prevent me from taking him. I don't think he's anymore injury prone than your typical running back.
ML: San Diego's offense forces its running backs to be complete players, catching passes out of the backfield, picking up blitzes, etc. Will Wells be able to thrive in an offense like this? How long will it take him to get up to speed?
MH: Ohio State has never really thrown to the running backs so nobody really knows if he can catch the ball or not. He told reporters at Ohio State's Pro Day that he caught the ball well in drills. He can do everything else.
Tressel always praised his ability to pick up pass rushers. I would imagine he can adjust pretty fast. He played right away at Ohio State even though they already had a 1,000-yard back on the team.
RB Chris Wells
MH: I have no concerns about Wells' speed. He has great acceleration in the backfield and good starts and stops going through the line. He can turn the corner.
His running style reminds me a lot of Corey Dillon. He loves contact and is a very violent runner, but he's got quick feet, too. And Dillon had a lot of success running off-tackle and sweeps for the Bengals.
ML: Bottom line: Is Chris Wells the best running back in this year's draft? Why or why not.
MH: I think he and Knowshon Moreno were fantastic college running backs, but seeing reports that Moreno ran only a 4.6 40 at his Pro Day, which is the same as Wells ran at the NFL Scouting Combine and considerably slower than what Wells ran at Ohio State's Pro Day (4.34 and 4.40), I tend to give the nod to Wells.
Both are elusive in their own way, but seeing Reggie Bush struggle in the NFL makes me wonder if Moreno might be a step slow for a smaller guy. Also, Moreno was shut down by Michigan State in their bowl game. The Spartans are a team Wells ran for 140 yards against this year and more than that in '07.