Tom Marino: Scouting the RBs

Get the scoop on this year's RB crop from an NFL scout with over 35 years experience.

THE BEST

1. Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
40: 4.36v Ht: 6012v Wt: 211v Rating: 0.98
Best back to enter the draft in the past two decades. Is a big back who showed excellent quicks, moves in the hole and the speed to run away from folks. Breaks secured tackles and finishes. Good backside vision, excellent hands and was extremely dangerous in space. Runs tall, but can create and finish. A slasher, who can put his foot in the ground and go. Best football player in the country. My first player off the board. A young Eric Dickerson.

2. Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois
40: 4.45v Ht: 5101v Wt: 225v Rating: 1.12
This guy does a lot of things that impact a football game. Has size, outstanding take off quickness and the speed to take it to the house. Instinctive runner who has the speed to get the corner and the gear changes to run away from second and third level defenders. Can create in space and was an exceptional receiver out of the backfield. Should impact quickly. Round # 1 draft consideration. 262 1,681 - 6.4 -17 TD's in 2007.

3. Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina
40: 4.29v Ht: 5110v Wt: 197v Rating: 1.165
Has outstanding speed & run instincts. Tougher then expected inside.. As a receiver will line up in the slot, motion across the formation and come out of the backfield, but proved to be a real threat to take it to the house. Impressive hands.Dangerous return man who hit the seam and goes. Not as patient inside as he should be but ran hard. Not a big man by today's standards, was a marginal blocker and not big tackle breaker, but is without question the real deal.

4. Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas
40: 4.49v Ht: 5101v Wt: 207v Rating: 1.17
Exciting zone runner with the speed to get the corner & outrun the pursuit angle. Is sudden with vision & ability to plant and go. Shows multiple cutting skills, good hands and was dangerous in space. Has bouncy legs and the ability break secured tackles. Not a lot of thread off the tires having been a back up throughout his entire career. Whether he can carry the full load & become feature back in the NFL is still an unknown, but I like what I've seen to this point.

5. Jamaal Charles, RB, Texas
40: 4.41v Ht: 5110v Wt: 200v Rating: 1.181
A one cut guy with vision, good balance, top speed and a great burst. I liked the way he hit the hole, bounced it and got the corner and out ran second and third level defenders. Was not a big finisher inside (just wasn't very strong on contact and put the football on the ground far to0 frequently). Still developing (not a every down player at this time), but I really liked what I saw in this players game. Has run 10.26/100m. Draft # 1

6. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon
40: 4.48v Ht: 5102v Wt: 235v Rating: 1.195
Big productive between the tackles runner who broke secured tackles and finished his runs. Liked his ability to get up in the hole, bounce it outside or see the backside cutbacks. Appeared a little stiff and didn't run with the type of speed he showed at the scouting combine. Runs hard. Has good pad level and finishes his runs consistently. An 80-20 catcher on flat, circle, screen and arrow routes. Late 1st or top of the second draft potneital.

7. Matt Forte, RB, Tulane
40: 4.47v Ht: 6013v Wt: 217v Rating: 1.282
OVA transfer. I liked this players athletic ability, direction change and potential as a edge pass rusher in a 3-4 scheme. Good stride length to top of the rush and bend and use of hands to alter course and finish. Active within the running game showing both range and instincts. Good wrap up tackler. Possible end in 4-3 scheme. Competition level is a concern, but this is a talented high ceiling player. Round 3-4.

8. Kevin Smith, RB, UCF
40: 4.51v Ht: 6011v Wt: 217v Rating: 1.292
Has good vision, balance, and lower body surge. Can breaks secured tackles and finishes. Is not an elusive runner but is a strong legged runner with the speed to run away from 2nd and 3rd level people. Has a low center of gravity and showed the ability to hit a point and go. Marginal down the field receiver.. (struggles to catch) Under rated and appreciated player. Not flashy, but does a lot of positive things during the course of a game. Rd 3 consideration.

9. Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers
40: 4.47v Ht: 5080v Wt: 199v Rating: 1.337
Has excellent take off quicks to press the LOS, moves in the hole, very good vision and the speed to take it to the house. Hard nosed kid who finished his runs inside. Highly competitive player. Good but not exceptional receiver (screen, flat, and arrow route type hands). Is short in stature and as an "I" back little is known about his run or pass blocking skills. Should impack quickly as a change of pace, all purpose back, but does he have the stuff to be a front line player. Round 3

10. Tim Hightower, RB, Richmond
40: 4.59v Ht: 6000v Wt: 223v Rating: 1.385
Led the nation sub division in rushing on 2007 (327-1924-5.9-20). A zone runner who posesses good initial quickness to press the line of scrimmage. Showed moves in the hole and once he broke the LOS exhibited multiple cutting skills in the open area. A strong runner who who can break secured tackles and finishes.Fine receiver who caught and adjusted to the football well. Has never fumbled in over 700 carries during his college career. Round 4 - 5

11. Steve Slaton, RB, West Virginia
40: 4.49v Ht: 5091v Wt: 197v Rating: 1.387
A patient runner with suttle moves, who showed the ability to read blocks and react (very good feel). Quicker then fast, although has the speed to get the corner. Liked his ability to see the backside cutback. Confident catcher who can adjust catch the ball down the field. Not as elusive as expected (more of a 1 cut and go guy, but judges distances well. Production has declined over the last 3 season which is a concern, but is a steady dependable back. Rd # 3

12. Tashard Choice, RB, Georgia Tech
40: 4.51v Ht: 5104v Wt: 215v Rating: 1.47
Earns every yard he gets. Quicker then fast. Good run instincts, hands and run pass routes. Not a home run guy but gets tough yards between the tackles. Lacks top speed to create daylight and beat the angle. Has puts the ball on the ground some and was never 100% during the 07 season. Was a willing but not effective blocker. Very strong lower torso. Transfer from the U of Oklahoma where he backed up Adrian Peterson. Has 4th round draft potential.

13. Chauncey Washington, RB, USC
40: 4.44v Ht: 5113v Wt: 211v Rating: 1.495
Not as physical a back as I would have expect given his physical make up. More of a dancer then power back. Ran the hole, but his feet tend to stop on contact. Adequate catch and run after skills. Has solid back up and special teams potential. Good cutback skills and vision to see the backside. Has plus hands and overall receiving skills. Has had a number of injuries to go along with academic problems. Has mid round draft potential

14. Jalen Parmele, RB, Toledo
40: 4.52v Ht: 5114v Wt: 224v Rating: 1.498
Big strong back who hits it up inside with authority. Can breaks inside tackles and move the pile on the inside. Productive between the tackle runner with more then adequate speed. Good feet, vision, pad level at contact and finish. Fights for yards, and was particularly effective in short yardage and red zone situations. Not a home run hitter nor was he an elusive runner in the open field.

15. Mike Hart, RB, Michigan
40: 4.76v Ht: 5087v Wt: 206v Rating: 1.536
Tough I-back who consistently moved the chains inside. Got north-south runner quickly while showing good physical toughness. Is undersized (short but very thick) and does not have the necessary speed. Has done it at the highest level for his entire career showing natural run instincts. Decision making was questionable. A big concern is his work load (1,015 carries) over a 4 year career. Only so many war in a little man's body. Second day draft consideration.

16. Dantrell Savage, RB, Oklahoma State
40: 4.51v Ht: 5082v Wt: 187v Rating: 1.541
Juco guy who has come a very long way. Change of pace back who hit the hole quickly, showing both balance, feet, very good run instincts. Showed multiple cutting skills and a spin move that can freeze a defender. Talented player, but is a little guy who is not going to have the physical stature for fulltime play. Has been injured in each of the past two seasons.. Caught well in the under zone. Not a complete player, but should factor as a 3rd down back

17. Chad Simpson, RB, Morgan State
40: 4.44v Ht: 5085v Wt: 216v Rating: 1.635
South Florida transfer who had a very productive year in his only season of play at Morgan. Is a strong inside runner with quickness, quick feet, instincts, balance and speed. Is strong legged and broke many secured tackles at this level. Tough inside but also showed creativity in space. Not featured in their offense as a pass receiver.& was not used on returns (feature back). Has the run skills, but would like to have seen him catch, block and or return. Rd 6-7

18. Cory Boyd, RB, South Carolina
40: 4.57v Ht: 6004v Wt: 213v Rating: 1.651
Has good vision and feel running inside the tackles. Was patient, read blocks well and finished his runs. Doesn't have top speed/explosion, wasn't an elusive nor was he a tackle breaker. Lacks the speed to consistently get the corner. Did catch the ball well on screens arrow and swing routes.Just a good college back but didn't do anything to set him apart from the rest of the pack. Back-up special team type player. Draft consideration; round 6 - 7.

19. Allen Patrick, RB, Oklahoma
40: 4.58v Ht: 6006v Wt: 198v Rating: 1.675
Did not play well in his first year as a starter. Not a natural instinctive runner. Is a tough guy who ran hard inside, but appeared to run with blinders on (no vision). Doesn't run with much in the way of instincts. Best area of his game appears to be his efforts on speial teams (effective gunner). Overall, I liked this player toughness and versatility, but his lack of instincts concerns me greatly. Would give some late round consideration.

20. Ryan Torain, RB, Arizona State
40: 4.59v Ht: 6003v Wt: 222v Rating: 1.69
Tough inside runner who move the chain inside. I felt he made good decisions. A slasher who judges distances well. Not particularly fast nor was he an elusive runner. Said to have good football smarts and instincts. Runs hard, showed balance, breaks tackles and secured the football. Needs to keep his pads down more consistently. Has had a history of injuries over his career. A good college back but not a difference maker. Draft consideration; rds 6 - 7.

21. Thomas Brown, RB, Georgia
40: 4.55v Ht: 5083v Wt: 204v Rating: 1.794
Tough feisty little all purpose back who plays extremely hard. Runs the hole, but was essentially a straight line runner. compact (pro style runner - plant and go). Good finisher. A proto-type third down back, but I didn't think he ran good routes and his hand appeared barely adequate. Style of play will likely shorten his career. You have to like him, but realistically, what do you do with him. Late round draft potential, but is more likely a priority free agent.

22. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Mississippi
40: 4.66v Ht: 5105v Wt: 219v Rating: 1.785
A serviceable athlete, who rushed for a thousand plus yards since transferring from Indiana. North -south runner who showed balance and run vision. Showed some inside running strength and the ability move the pile. Once he broke the scrimmage line, I didn’t see either the burst or creativity in the open field. Inconsistent to get to the corner. Limited exposure within the passing game (10 catches in two seasons). No special skills. Late consideration.

23. Rafael Little, RB, Kentucky
40: 4.50e Ht: 5086v Wt: 194v Rating: 1.795
Skilled tough runner with good instincts and vision / Judges distances well / Has talent but is acutely undersized, lacks break away speed and just wasn't sudden. Injuries (knees) appears to have eroded his playing skills. Adequate hands (check down and screens), but I don't see him running the wheel. Has a chance of being drafted, but is more likely a priority free agent.

24. Kregg Lumpkin, RB, Georgia
40: 4.73v Ht: 5114v Wt: 226v Rating: 1.799
Smooth runner with good vision. Hits it in there with authority, but has been banged up over the past two seasons and has had very few touches (played with big cast on his thumb early) Started the season in a three man rotation, but his role deminished as the season progressed. Was not a factor in the passing game. Has a pro body and athletic ability, but at this stage is a long shot to make it. Late round potential, but is more likely a priority free agent.

25. Steven Korte, RB, LSU
40: 4.37v Ht: 6005v Wt: 233v Rating: 1.8
Big, strong talented back whose career was cut short due to to a series of events including an knee reconstruction academic suspension. Is a big powerful inside runner with limited experience and virtually no playing experience. Explosive player with excellent hands. Good special team's potential. Son of former Saints star of the same name.

THE REST

Bruce Hall, RB, Mississippi
40: 4.55e Ht: 5110e Wt: 210e Rating: 1.8

Calvin Dawson, RB, ULM
40: 4.53v Ht: 5084v Wt: 200v Rating: 1.8

Jamar Brittingham, RB, Bloomsburg of Pennsylvania
40: 4.61v Ht: 5116v Wt: 209v Rating: 1.8

Jehuu Caulcrick, RB, Michigan State
40: 4.71v Ht: 6000v Wt: 254v Rating: 1.8

Kalvin McRae, RB, Ohio
40: 4.69v Ht: 5091v Wt: 203v Rating: 1.8

Keon Lattimore, RB, Maryland
40: 4.60e Ht: 5105v Wt: 221v Rating: 1.8

Marcus Thomas, RB, UTEP
40: 4.62v Ht: 6002v Wt: 213v Rating: 1.8

Matt Lawrence, RB, Massachusetts
40: 4.57v Ht: 6005v Wt: 209v Rating: 1.8

Omar Cuff, RB, Delaware
40: 4.56v Ht: 5095v Wt: 203v Rating: 1.8

Xavier Omon, RB, Northwest Missouri State
40: 4.63v Ht: 5107v Wt: 229v Rating: 1.8

Yvenson Bernard, RB, Oregon State
40: 4.86v Ht: 5082v Wt: 203v Rating: 1.9

Rodney Kinlaw, RB, Penn State
40: 4.51v Ht: 5090v Wt: 202v Rating: 1.9

Tony Temple, RB, Missouri
40: 4.56v Ht: 5083v Wt: 203v Rating: 1.9

L.V. Whitworth, RB, Boston College
40: 4.67v Ht: 5113v Wt: 218v Rating: 1.9

Justin Forsett, RB, California
40: 4.65e Ht: 5080v Wt: 194v Rating: 1.9

Damian Sims, RB, Iowa
40: 4.48v Ht: 5077v Wt: 195v Rating: 1.9

Albert Young, RB, Iowa
40: 4.65e Ht: 5081v Wt: 207v Rating: 1.9

Andre Callender, RB, Boston College
40: 4.56v Ht: 5105v Wt: 193v Rating: 1.9

Adrian Smith, RB, Bethel College (TN)
40: 4.66v Ht: 5091v Wt: 214v Rating: 1.8

James Johnson, RB, Kansas St
40: 4.63v Ht: 5115v Wt: 194v Rating: 1.8

Lance Ball, RB, Maryland U
40: Ht: 5090v Wt: 219v Rating: 1.8

Lex Hilliard, RB, Montana U
40: 4.69v Ht: 5111v Wt: 231v Rating: 1.9

Louis Rankin, RB, Washington U
40: 4.60e Ht: 5110e Wt: 200e Rating: 1.9

Kelcy Luke, RB, Alabama A&M
40: 4.74v Ht: 5117v Wt: 204v Rating: 1.9

Kenny Cattouse, RB, Troy U
40: 4.57v Ht: 5093v Wt: 201v Rating: 1.9

Kenny Cattouse, RB, Troy U
40: 4.57v Ht: 5093v Wt: 201v Rating: 1.9

Kevin Beverly, RB, Hampton U
40: Ht: Wt: Rating: 1.9

Kevin Richardson, RB, Appalachian St
40: 4.57v Ht: 5076v Wt: 189v Rating: 1.9

Joseph Doss, RB, Memphis U
40: 4.62v Ht: 5080v Wt: 191v Rating: 1.9

Butler Brenton, RB, Cincinnati U
40: 4.70e Ht: 5116v Wt: 223v Rating: 1.9

Hugh Charles, RB, Colorado U
40: 4.57v Ht: 5074v Wt: 191v Rating: 1.9

Jamario Thomas, RB, No Texas U
40: 4.60v Ht: 5091v Wt: 216v Rating: 1.9

Alley Broussard, RB, Missouri Southern St
40: 4.72v Ht: 5117v Wt: 249v Rating: 1.9

Amos Allen, RB, So Dakota U
40: 4.41v Ht: 5076v Wt: 186v Rating: 1.9

Barrington Edwards, RB, No Carolina U
40: Ht: Wt: Rating: 1.9

Chris Markey, RB, UCLA
40: 4.55e Ht: 5095v Wt: 204v Rating: 1.9

Courtney Tennial, RB, Tulsa U
40: 4.70e Ht: 5095v Wt: 224v Rating: 1.9

Danny Woodhead, RB, Chadren St
40: 4.42v Ht: 5073v Wt: 197v Rating: 1.9

DeMarco McNair, RB, Middle Tennessee
40: 4.70e Ht: 5097v Wt: 195v Rating: 1.9

Derrick White, RB, Tennessee Tech
40: Ht: Wt: Rating: 1.9

Don Chapman, RB, Tennessee-Martin
40: Ht: Wt: Rating: 1.9

Greg Moore, RB, Cincinnati U
40: 4.68v Ht: 6011v Wt: 221v Rating: 1.9

Micah Andrews, RB, Wake Forest U
40: 4.86v Ht: 5100v Wt: 215v Rating: 1.9

Osagie Osunde, RB, West Chester U
40: 4.65v Ht: 5095v Wt: 211v Rating: 1.9

Marcus Cross, RB, Texas A&M-Kingsville
40: Ht: Wt: Rating: 1.9

Mark Bonds, RB, Western Michigan U
40: Ht: Wt: Rating: 2

Rashad Morgan, RB, Virginia - Wise
40: 4.62v Ht: 5090v Wt: 215v Rating: 2

Reggie Bradshaw, RB, Montana U
40: Ht: Wt: Rating: 2

Skyler Thornton, RB, Valdosta St
40: Ht: Wt: Rating: 2

Travis Thomas, RB, Notre Dame
40: Ht: Wt: Rating: 2

Travis Valentine, RB, Virginia St
40: 4.75e Ht: 5100e Wt: 190e Rating: 2

Tyler Sherden, RB, Luther College
40: Ht: Wt: Rating: 2

Hershel Dennis, RB, USC
40: 4.55e Ht: 5112v Wt: 203v Rating: 2
Played little in 07 due to a series of knee injuries which kept him out of the game for two full seasons (05, 06). A good prospect and likely starter at one time, he is probably not going to pass a professional physical and his career is probably over.

Bobby Washington, RB, Eastern Kentucky U
40: 4.59v Ht: 6002v Wt: 218v Rating: 2

Brandon Bornes, RB, San Diego St
40: 4.65v Ht: 6000v Wt: 224v Rating: 2

Brandon Whitaker, RB, Baylor U
40: 4.60e Ht: 5090e Wt: 195e Rating: 2
Just a draw screen change up guy with no special playing skills. Short in stature and doesn't have top end speed. Down the line free agent prospect.

Austin Scott, RB, Penn St
40: 4.60e Ht: 5114e Wt: 215e Rating: 2

Amir Pinnix, RB, Minnesota U
40: 4.60e Ht: 5105v Wt: 208v Rating: 2
Just a guy. Beat out as a senior by a true freshman. Real tight from an athletic standpoint. No real very chance to factor as a player

Cassen Jackson-Garrison, RB, Vanderbilt U
40: 4.60e Ht: 6003v Wt: 221v Rating: 2

Justin Beaver, RB, Wisconsin (Whitewater)
40: Ht: Wt: Rating: 2

Kareem Huggins, RB, Hofstra U
40: 4.45v Ht: 5084v Wt: 192v Rating: 2

Jamil Walker, RB, Wisconsin U
40: Ht: Wt: Rating: 2

Jay Peck, RB, Alabama St
40: 4.63v Ht: 5107v Wt: 200v Rating: 2

Lynell Hamilton, RB, San Diego St
40: 4.60e Ht: 5114v Wt: 229v Rating: 2
Good player early, but can no longer handle it physically. Can't block and is no longer a threat as a runner.

SCOUTING NOTATION 101
The small "v" which follows the HT, WT, and forty time is the designation for verified. Other designations may include "e" for estimated, "b" for borrowed (from another scout), or "c" for coaches measurement or timed by a college coach.

Heights: The first number in the four numerals height represents the individual in feet while the second and third numbers represents a player in inches, while the last number in fractions of an inch (exclusively by the 1/8th of an inch.  Thus the following examples:

5105v - 5 for five feet, the10 represent ten inches, and the 5 (five) represents five-eights of another inch.

6017v - Six feet, one and seven-eights verified. 

All professional prospects and or suspects are measured numerous times during the course of a scouting season.  The first takes place generally in the spring of his junior at regularly scheduled "Pro days" at his university. At the conclusion of the season, scouts will on some occasions measure a prospect during a school visit.  Players are weighed and measured at every post season all-star contests.  At some lower level games, players are also given the opportunity to run. The next occasion takes place at the Indianapolis scouting combine, followed by individual or team workouts at the university and finally when a player if flown in to visit at a team site.

 


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