Wexells' Value Board: 2005 NFL Draft RB's

Jerome Bettis made the sports-talk TV rounds last week and at every stop expressed optimism about returning to the Steelers for one last season.

The Steelers will be happy when Bettis tells them for sure, and they'd appreciate an answer before the draft.

Assuming Bettis will return, the Steelers have a full depth chart. However, there are cracks below the surface that could leave them without a runner in 2006:
  • Bettis, of course, will play his last season if he plays at all.

  • Duce Staley is 30 years old and coming off an injury-plagued season.

  • Verron Haynes, still a restricted free agent for the next couple of weeks, hasn't shown he can take the punishment of a full-time back.

  • Willie Parker is fast but still a raw project.

For now, this group of tailbacks is fine. However, a project for the future could be plucked in the late rounds of this April's draft. Since Dan Kreider is the team's only fullback, said project could start his career at that position.

VALUE BOARD

Second Round - Eric Shelton (6-1½, 246, 4.59) of Louisville is the type of big back who'd appeal to the Steelers, but only if Bettis decides in the next few weeks that he won't come back.

Fourth Round -- Brandon Jacobs (6-4¼, 267, 4.59) of Southern Illinois could become the biggest tailback to ever play the game. A transfer from Auburn, Jacobs lacks change-of-direction skills but obviously has enough straight-line speed. He's been compared to Christian Okoye, the 253-pounder who was drafted in the second round by Kansas City in 1987. Scouts are also looking at Jacobs as a tight end, and he's been agreeable. In fact, Jacobs impressed scouts with his character and attitude during combine interviews.

Sixth Round - Nehemiah Broughton (5-11½, 250, 4.55) of The Citadel is another back in the Bettis mold. Broughton also lacks change-of-direction skills but he projects as an explosive runner between the tackles with plenty of toughness. Broughton worked at fullback during the Senior Bowl and would fit behind Kreider while biding his time for an opportunity at tailback.

Seventh Round - Kyle Eckel (5-10½, 244, 4.84) of Navy was the best player on the best Navy team in years. A fullback, Eckel gained nearly 2,400 yards and scored 21 touchdowns the last two seasons. He'd be a first-day consideration if he didn't have the minimum two-year obligation awaiting him. However, the Navy football program, in order to bolster its recruiting, is working on allowing Eckel to play in the NFL right away. Eckel might be worthy of one of the Steelers's two seventh-round picks anyway.

LOCAL PROSPECTS

Kay-Jay Harris (6-0½, 243, 4.56) of West Virginia is 26 years old because he played minor-league baseball, but he's big, fast, can run inside or outside and has good hands. However, he's been described as "a pain in the neck," and that's not alluring to a team that can afford to be picky.

Paul Jefferson (est. 6-1, 259) of Penn State is a true blocking back. He was the fullback in front of Larry Johnson during Johnson's 2,000-yard season. Jefferson's not much of a runner, but showed good hands at his pro day workout.

Wexells' Value Board: 2005 NFL Draft TE's 


Steel City Insider Top Stories

\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Steelers will be happy when Bettis tells them for sure, and they'd appreciate an answer before the\r\ndraft.\r\n

Assuming Bettis will return, the Steelers have a full depth chart. However, there are cracks below the surface that could leave them without a runner in\r\n2006:\r\n
\r\n\r\n

For now, this group of tailbacks is fine. However, a project for the future could be plucked in the late rounds of this April's draft. Since Dan Kreider is the team's only fullback, said project could start his career at that\r\nposition.\r\n

\r\n\r\nVALUE BOARD\r\n

Second Round - Eric Shelton (6-1½, 246, 4.59) of Louisville is the type of big back who'd appeal to the Steelers, but only if Bettis decides in the next few weeks that he won't come\r\nback.\r\n

Fourth Round -- Brandon Jacobs (6-4¼, 267, 4.59) of Southern Illinois could become the biggest tailback to ever play the game. A transfer from Auburn, Jacobs lacks change-of-direction skills but obviously has enough straight-line speed. He's been compared to Christian Okoye, the 253-pounder who was drafted in the second round by Kansas City in 1987. Scouts are also looking at Jacobs as a tight end, and he's been agreeable. In fact, Jacobs impressed scouts with his character and attitude during combine\r\ninterviews.\r\n

Sixth Round - Nehemiah Broughton (5-11½, 250, 4.55) of The Citadel is another back in the Bettis mold. Broughton also lacks change-of-direction skills but he projects as an explosive runner between the tackles with plenty of toughness. Broughton worked at fullback during the Senior Bowl and would fit behind Kreider while biding his time for an opportunity at tailback.\r\n

Seventh Round - Kyle Eckel (5-10½, 244, 4.84) of Navy was the best player on the best Navy team in years. A fullback, Eckel gained nearly 2,400 yards and scored 21 touchdowns the last two seasons. He'd be a first-day consideration if he didn't have the minimum two-year obligation awaiting him. However, the Navy football program, in order to bolster its recruiting, is working on allowing Eckel to play in the NFL right away. Eckel might be worthy of one of the Steelers's two seventh-round picks anyway.\r\n

\r\n\r\nLOCAL PROSPECTS\r\n

Kay-Jay Harris (6-0½, 243, 4.56) of West Virginia is 26 years old because he played minor-league baseball, but he's big, fast, can run inside or outside and has good hands. However, he's been described as \"a pain in the neck,\" and that's not alluring to a team that can afford to be picky.\r\n

Paul Jefferson (est. 6-1, 259) of Penn State is a true blocking back. He was the fullback in front of Larry Johnson during Johnson's 2,000-yard season. Jefferson's not much of a runner, but showed good hands at his pro day workout. \r\n

Wexells'\r\nValue Board: 2005 NFL Draft TE's 

","mobileBody":" \r\n\r\n\r\nThe Steelers will be happy when Bettis tells them for sure, and they'd appreciate an answer before the\r\ndraft.\r\n

Assuming Bettis will return, the Steelers have a full depth chart. However, there are cracks below the surface that could leave them without a runner in\r\n2006:\r\n
\r\n\r\n

For now, this group of tailbacks is fine. However, a project for the future could be plucked in the late rounds of this April's draft. Since Dan Kreider is the team's only fullback, said project could start his career at that\r\nposition.\r\n

\r\n\r\nVALUE BOARD\r\n

Second Round - Eric Shelton (6-1½, 246, 4.59) of Louisville is the type of big back who'd appeal to the Steelers, but only if Bettis decides in the next few weeks that he won't come\r\nback.\r\n

Fourth Round -- Brandon Jacobs (6-4¼, 267, 4.59) of Southern Illinois could become the biggest tailback to ever play the game. A transfer from Auburn, Jacobs lacks change-of-direction skills but obviously has enough straight-line speed. He's been compared to Christian Okoye, the 253-pounder who was drafted in the second round by Kansas City in 1987. Scouts are also looking at Jacobs as a tight end, and he's been agreeable. In fact, Jacobs impressed scouts with his character and attitude during combine\r\ninterviews.\r\n

Sixth Round - Nehemiah Broughton (5-11½, 250, 4.55) of The Citadel is another back in the Bettis mold. Broughton also lacks change-of-direction skills but he projects as an explosive runner between the tackles with plenty of toughness. Broughton worked at fullback during the Senior Bowl and would fit behind Kreider while biding his time for an opportunity at tailback.\r\n

Seventh Round - Kyle Eckel (5-10½, 244, 4.84) of Navy was the best player on the best Navy team in years. A fullback, Eckel gained nearly 2,400 yards and scored 21 touchdowns the last two seasons. He'd be a first-day consideration if he didn't have the minimum two-year obligation awaiting him. However, the Navy football program, in order to bolster its recruiting, is working on allowing Eckel to play in the NFL right away. Eckel might be worthy of one of the Steelers's two seventh-round picks anyway.\r\n

\r\n\r\nLOCAL PROSPECTS\r\n

Kay-Jay Harris (6-0½, 243, 4.56) of West Virginia is 26 years old because he played minor-league baseball, but he's big, fast, can run inside or outside and has good hands. However, he's been described as \"a pain in the neck,\" and that's not alluring to a team that can afford to be picky.\r\n

Paul Jefferson (est. 6-1, 259) of Penn State is a true blocking back. He was the fullback in front of Larry Johnson during Johnson's 2,000-yard season. Jefferson's not much of a runner, but showed good hands at his pro day workout. \r\n

Wexells'\r\nValue Board: 2005 NFL Draft TE's 

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