NFL Draft '06: Scouting the Running Backs

In what could be an exceptional year for the ball carriers, close to a dozen seniors and eligible juniors could hear their names called during the first day of next April's draft. It is a versatile group which encompasses powerful interior runners, three down players and explosive ball handlers who also impact games as receivers and return specialists.

Full Name: Joseph Addai     School: LSU

Ht: 5-11   Wt: 210   40: 4.41      Yr: 5Sr

Pos: Quick footed back with excellent vision and explosion. Patient, sets up defender then makes them miss. Slippery and very elusive. Displays terrific footwork and overall explosion. Adequate strength running on the inside. Solid receiver who adjusts to the errant throw. Shows the ability to get down field to make himself an available target. Willing blocker.

Neg: Has a bit of an upright style. Indecisive at times.

Analysis: A hard working ball carrier who gives effort in all aspects, Addai is a tremendous athlete with outstanding size\speed numbers. Offers a great amount of long-term potential, though a franchise may need to be patient and develop him.

Full Name: Mike Bell    School: Arizona

Ht: 6-0.5   Wt: 212   40: 4.59       Yr: 5Sr

Pos: Patient ball carrier with excellent instincts and vision. Sees the field, weaves through the traffic and picks up yardage on the inside. Possesses a slashing style, making defenders miss. Quick footed and finds the cutback lanes. Excellent open field running skills. Has the agility to run around tackle. Solid receiver out of the backfield. Adequate job as a blocker getting chips on pass rushers and disrupting their angle of attack.

Neg: Not a heavy duty back who can take a pounding. Cannot run to daylight or beat defenders around the corner.

Analysis: A solid runner on the inside, Bell has the versatility to produce in a variety of ways at the next level. Good middle round choice who could produce as a rookie.

Full Name: Lorenzo Booker      School: Florida State

Ht: 5-10    Wt: 183      40: 4.45         Yr: 4Jr

Pos: Quick footed running back with an outstanding burst of speed. Sets up blocks, follows them anywhere on the field and has the ability to quickly cut back and make defenders miss. Fast enough to cut the corner and possesses a burst through the hole. Helps the quarterback sell ball fakes and a solid receiver out of the backfield.

Neg: Must give better effort as a blocker. Marginal strength carrying the ball and does not pick up yardage off initial contact. Lazily lets the pass get inside him and cradles it against his frame.

Analysis: Undersized and more of a scatback back/ third down runner, Booker has a solid game and fits in as a situational ball handler.

Full Name: Alley Broussard      School: LSU

Ht: 6-1   Wt: 220   40: 4.55         Yr: 3Jr

Pos: Strong, punishing runner on the interior with outstanding skills. Possesses a burst of speed, gets a lot of momentum going and runs with authority. Sees the cutback lanes, finds seams in the defense and consistently keeps runs alive, working to pick up as much yardage as possible. Solid speed through the hole and in the open field. Carries defenders for a distance. Good instincts and a solid receiver out of the backfield.

Neg: Not elusive or smooth. Off balance when he must quickly cut back against the grain.

Analysis: A prospect that could've been considered as the number one running back in April's draft had he opted for the NFL, Broussard now sits on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury in camp. Possesses outstanding upside potential yet must come back from the injury and regain prior form.

Full Name: Michael Bush     School: Louisville

Ht: 6-2    Wt: 250   40: 4.62         Yr: 3Jr

Pos: Large, imposing runner who does not go down without a fight. Patient, weaves through the traffic and finds the open lanes. Works runs, breaks tackles or falls forward when brought to the ground. Aggressive and puts his shoulders into defenders, carrying the pile. Displays surprising footwork in a small area, bouncing around defenders.

Neg: Not smooth or instinctive. Must become more aware as a blocker.

Analysis: A terrific athlete with outstanding size\speed numbers, Bush has potential as a big-time feature back at the next level. Offers a lot of skill and versatility yet needs experience and repetition as he's shared duties the past two seasons. Could be an early draft pick in the future.

Full Name:  Reggie Bush    School: USC

Ht: 5-11.5 Wt: 200 40: 4.45         Yr: 3Jr

Pos: Explosive back and game impacting skill player dangerous whenever handling the ball. Patient runner who waits for blocks to develop then displays outstanding footwork everywhere on the field. Elusive, slippery and can double cut during a single run, making several defenders miss. Outstanding open field running skills. Possesses a terrific burst of speed and quickness. Solid receiver out of the backfield.  Game breaking punt returner.

Neg: Not a heavy duty ball carrier who takes a consistent pounding on the inside. Loses out in battles as a receiver.

Analysis: A hard working skill player, Bush has homerun hitting speed and can produce in a variety of ways. May not be a back for everyone due to limited size yet can be very productive in a friendly scheme.

Quite possibly the most dynamic player in college football today, Reggie Bush will give the USC Trojans back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners.  And like last year's claimant, Bush will be an early pick in April's NFL Draft, if he opts for the pro-ranks.

Full Name: P.J. Daniel   School: Georgia Tech

Ht: 5-9.5   Wt: 210   40: 4.61     Yr: 5Sr

Pos: Productive ball carrier with excellent first step quickness. Runs with forward lean, weaves through the traffic and finds the open area in the defense. Quickly cuts back in a small area and avoids defenders. Has a compact running style. Solid receiver out of the backfield

Neg: Does not run with great balance and lacks true breakaway speed. Slow adjusting off the initial hit. Must improve his blocking intensity.

Analysis: A well-built, productive runner, Daniels struggled through an injury plagued junior campaign and did not perform up to expectations. Smart on the field as well as in the classroom, a good season in 2005 could push Daniel towards the late part of day one.

Full Name: Maurice Drew     School: UCLA

Ht: 5-8    Wt: 190    40: 4.45         Yr: 3Jr

Pos: Versatile ball carrier who impacts the game at running back or as a return specialist. Runs low to the ground, has a burst of speed and patiently waits for blocks to develop anywhere on the field. Quickly gets through the hole and can run to daylight. Sets up defenders, makes them miss or wiggles through the traffic and finds the open seam. Solid receiver out of the backfield.

Neg: At times easily knocked off his feet and not a back who picks up much yardage off initial contact.

Analysis: A prototypical third down back at the next level, Drew can produce in a variety of ways.  An asset to an NFL roster.

Full Name: Andre Hall    School: South Florida

Ht: 5-8   Wt: 204   40: 4.55         Yr: 4Sr

Pos: Undersized ball handler, productive in a variety of ways. Runs with balance, body control and works to keep his feet off the initial hit. Has the speed and agility to cut the corner. Solid hands out of the backfield and contributes as a return specialist.

Neg: Not large or back that picks up much yardage off initial contact.

Analysis: Productive in a variety of ways on the college level, Hall fits in as a third down back at the next level. Size limits the number of hand-offs he'll handle yet the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and produce as a return specialist will help him a find a home in the NFL.

Full Name: A.J. Harris      School: Northern Illinois

Ht: 6-0.5    Wt: 220    40: 4.38         Yr: 5Sr

Pos: Athletic ball carrier with outstanding size\speed numbers. Runs with good pad level, drives up the field and aggressively puts his shoulders into defenders at the point of attack. Some quickness through the hole, breaks tackles and falls forward, gaining extra yardage. Patient and waits for blocks to develop. Quickly picks up blocking assignments and strong at the point.

Neg: Marginal open field running skills. Not elusive and more of a straight-line runner. Does not play to his 40-speed.

Analysis: At face value Harris looks like a top prospect who should be more productive on the field. Known as a team player, he does whatever necessary for the betterment of everyone, filling several roles for NIU. Will fall late in the draft yet could be a diamond in the rough for a team which gives him the opportunity to play.

Full Name: Cedric Humes     School: Virginia Tech

Ht: 6-1   Wt: 233   40: 4.61         Yr: 5Sr

Pos: Strong, powerful ball carrier with excellent size\speed numbers. Tough on the inside, keeps his feet moving up the field and breaks tackles. Falls forward when tackled to pick up extra yardage. Effort blocker who controls opponents at the point.

Neg: Not a natural receiver out of the backfield. Marginally productive and never proved himself as a feature back.

Analysis: For all the physical skills he brings, Humes has never consistently produced on the football field. To his credit known as a team player and could be one of the sleepers at the running back position in next April's draft.

Full Name: Wali Lundy      School:  Virginia

Ht: 5-10.5     Wt: 215    40: 4.66    Yr: 4Sr

Pos: Athletic back with solid size\speed numbers. Patient, waits for blocks to develop and displays vision, quickly finding running lanes. Strong on the inside and breaks the first tackle, picking up yardage off initial contact. Falls forward when brought to the ground. Drives up the field and a punishing runner.

Neg: Must pick up his blocking intensity. Straight-line back who cannot quickly cut back against the grain or create if nothings available.

Analysis: Productive as a pass catcher and return specialist, Lundy is a versatile ball carrier with natural football ability. Has the physical skills to play at the next level as a utility ball handler.

Full Name: Laurence Maroney    School: Minnesota

Ht: 5-10   Wt: 205   40: 4.50         Yr: 3Jr

Pos: Ultra productive collegiate back with outstanding potential for the NFL. Patient, waits for blocks to develop then follows them anywhere on the field. Quick footed, slides off tackles or sets defenders up and makes them miss. Runs with excellent lean and low to the ground. Can double cut during a single handoff, freezing defenders with his ability to juke or swivel. Deceptively strong, breaks tackles and works runs. Plays with outstanding balance and body control. Possesses great vision and run instincts. Marginally productive as a receiver yet effective when the pass is thrown in his direction.

Neg: Lacks classic size and may have difficulty taking a pounding at the next level.

Analysis: A big-time player Maroney offers a lot of skill for the next level. May not be a back for everyone because of limited size yet plays bigger and faster then his computer numbers.

Full Name: DonTrell Moore      School: New Mexico

Ht: 5-9.5    Wt: 212   40: 4.55         Yr: 5Sr

Pos: Patient ball carrier who combines outstanding vision, instincts and quickness. Immediately cuts back against the grain avoiding piles. Can double cut in a single run. Waits for blocks to develop and finds the running lanes. Shifty and does not go down without a fight. Possesses soft and strong hands as a receiver, adjusting to the errant throw and making good use of the sidelines. Patient blocker who displays explosion at the point.

Neg: Not a speed back that beat defenders to the corner. Rarely picks up yardage off initial contact. Suffered a serious knee injury in last December's post-season.

Analysis: A hard working runner on the inside, Moore lacks classic size/speed numbers yet does enough things well that he'll get looks as a situational runner or a WCO back.

Full Name: Gerald Riggs Jr.    School: Tennessee

Ht: 6-0 Wt: 215 40: 4.51         Yr: 4Sr

Pos: Big, powerful back who is an outstanding athlete. Tough on the inside, strong and aggressively puts his shoulders into opponents, running over defenders to pick up yardage off initial contact. Sees the field, finds  cutback lanes and has a burst through the hole. Can run to daylight. Works to set up blocks, patient and makes defenders miss in a small area. Attacks blocking assignments helping out in pass protection.

Neg: Previously labeled an attitude player and uncoachable. Straight-linish and not overly creative.

Analysis: A nice sized runner with solid computer numbers, Riggs has been on a tear since the late part of his junior campaign. Needs to continue the momentum then show well in pre-draft interviews. Has the opportunity to be a relatively high draft choice who can impact a team at the next level.

Full Name: Leon Washington School:  Florida State

Ht: 5-8.5   Wt: 200   40: 4.45      Yr: 4Sr

Pos: Shifty, versatile back productive in a variety of ways. Runs with excellent vision, quick footed and displays the ability to slash off defenders or avoid tackles. Possesses a compact build and runs low to the ground with excellent pad level. Squirms through small creases in the defense. Sets defenders up, makes them miss and possesses outstanding open field running skills.

Neg: Not a ball carrier who picks up yardage off initial contact. Marginal strength as a blocker. More quick then fast and cannot run to daylight.

Analysis: Quite similar to former Seminole running back Warrick Dunn, Washington has solid potential for the next level but may be limited to certain schemes. Could be a terrific third down back or rotational ball carrier.

Full Name: LenDale White     School: USC

Ht: 6-1    Wt: 230    40: 4.60         Yr: 3Jr

Pos: Big, strong ball carrier with a good degree of shiftiness. Quick to top speed, strong at the point and picks up yardage off initial contact. Sees the hole, squirms through openings in the defense and runs with good lean. Easily adjusts off the initial hit or breaks several tackles during a single run. Helps the quarterback sell ball fakes and possesses both vision and instincts. Solid receiver out of the backfield.

Neg: Not elusive or a ball carrier who creates if nothings available. Lacks the pure speed to beat opponents in a foot race.

Analysis: A powerful runner who doles out punishment and runs with authority, White is a perfect complement to teammate Reggie Bush and possesses terrific upside for the next level as a feature runner.

Full Name: DeAngelo Williams    School: Memphis

Ht: 5-9.5   Wt: 215   40: 4.55     Yr: 4Sr

Pos: Terrific all-around back with excellent potential for the NFL. Runs with tremendous balance, bounces off defenders and pick up yardage after initial contact. Works runs keeping the play in bounds. Tough to tackle. Sees the field, waits for blocks to develop then darts through the open space in the defense. Outstanding instincts and intangibles. Gets into the open space and follows blocks anywhere on the field. Gives effort blocking. Solid receiver out of the backfield.  

Neg: Cannot quickly cut back against the grain. Lacks flat out speed around the corner or down field.

Analysis: An incredibly productive back who carries the team on his shoulders, Williams is a terrific combination of athletic skill and football intelligence. Seamlessly came back from a broken leg suffered last December and presently in the midst of a terrific senior campaign. Top 32 pick next April and the first senior back off the board.


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