Tough-As-Nails Team: TE, RBs and FB

Not all NFL players have glorious jobs, and several NFL prospects know how to make their mark through hard work and extra playing time. NFL Scouting's Dave-Te' Thomas chronicles his "tough-as-nails" players at tight end, power back, speed back and fullback, who they compare to in the NFL and which teams are showing the most interest.

TIGHT END
Virgil Green, University of Nevada Wolf Pack, #85, 6:03.3-245

Green's record-setting position performance at the NFL Scouting Combine made teams take immediate notice, even though some less-than-stellar draft "experts" started comparing him to Dorin Dickerson instead. Granted, he's not in the Vernon Davis (49ers) category stats-wise, but he can certainly give Davis a run for his money in the agility tests. And who is to say that he won't put up impressive numbers in a pro-style offense? Playing in the Pack's "pistol" offense, the tight end is usually the last receiving option, but in 2010, he led the Western Athletic Conference with 17 touchdown-resulting blocks.

"Virgil has developed into a consistent and dominant player, not just in the passing
game, but also in the rushing game," Nevada head coach Chris Ault said.

His blocking skills, especially in the second level, allowed the Wolf Pack to become the first team in NCAA history to boast three 1,000-yard rushers in the same season, as they accomplished that feat in 2009 (QB Colin Kaepernick gained 1,183 yards, while running backs Vai Taua had 1,345 and Luke Lippincott picked up 1,034).

As a junior, he collected 13 touchdown-resulting blocks and continued that dominating performance in 2010, as he registered blocks on 13 of the team's 52 rushing touchdowns, adding six more touchdown-resulting blocks on pass plays. But, there is much more to Green's "game" than just clearing out rush lanes. In his last 40 games, 48 of 72 receptions by the tight end have produced first downs (66.67%), converting 22 third-down tosses and one more on fourth-down passes in the process.

Green pulled down eleven scoring strikes during that 40-game span, but also came up with crucial receptions that led to 32 Nevada touchdowns and on 10 possessions that resulted in Wolf Pack field goals. Thirty-five of his catches were for at least 10 yards, including 11 for 20 yards or longer. His power was evident on 21 non-touchdown catches, as the opposition needed multiple defenders to stop him on those grabs. He even proved to be a dangerous threat as a motion receiver, as five of his reverses were good for first downs and set up scoring drives.

During the 2010 season, the All-Western Athletic Conference first-team tight end managed to grab a career-best 35 passes for 515 yards (14.71 ypc) and five touchdowns. He also carried the ball four times for 19 yards and registered fourteen touchdown-resulting blocks, as the offense ranked second in the nation in total yardage (535.54 ypg) and five in scoring (42.62 ppg) during the regular season schedule.

Compares To: Owen Daniels-Houston. Green is much quicker than Daniels, but both have made a nice living by their ability to locate and settle into the soft zone areas. Green has more power when breaking initial tackles, but both show the forward body lean and leg drive to make it tough for third level defenders to take them down in one-on-one situations. I see Green being used more in motion than the traditional tight end position, but don't think for one minute that because of his lack of ideal size at the position that he won't win battles in the trenches as a blocker. In a system that requires their tight ends to work underneath, Green is a nice fit.
Green is one of the quicker pass catchers you will find at this position. He shows very good "get off" running his routes, even when aligned near the line of scrimmage. He also has that explosive burst to be a dangerous threat on the reverse when lining up in the backfield (see 2010 Boise State, 2009 Idaho and 2008 Fresno State games). The thing that he does best is generating the lateral range to escape and get up field (see 2010 Eastern Washington, California and New Mexico State, and 2009 Utah State and Idaho games).

In this day and age in the NFL, teams are looking for players like him to stretch the field, as he can flash to gain advantage and battles with very good intensity to escape the jam. He is an explosive mover when he gets a clean release and steps quickly to contact as a blocker while also getting off the line with a good burst as a receiver.

Teams Showing the Most Interest: Atlanta, Denver, Miami and Tampa Bay. The Falcons know that Tony Gonzalez is seriously considering retiring, but he seems to have taken Green under his wing and the entire staff seems to feel that Green's hidden talent as a receiver is about to emerge. The Broncos are also looking for a quality pass catcher, but might go the veteran route and sign Kevin Boss away from the Giants once the free agency period is allowed to commence. Richard Quinn and Tony Coats, the top two tight ends on Denver's depth chart, combined for just one reception last season. Anthony Fasano caught 39 passes in 15 games for the Dolphins last year, but he is never going to be confused for a receiver that can stretch the field like Green can. The Bucs are looking for a "poor man's" version of the 49ers' Vernon Davis and Green certainly matches up to Davis in the agility tests. Kellen Winslow had 66 receptions last year, but he's had numerous surgeries on his legs and based on his stormy relationship during his days in Cleveland, his prima donna attitude might be a detriment in the locker room for such a young Tampa Bay squad.

POWER RUNNING BACK
Mikel Leshoure, University of Illinois Fighting Illini, #5, 5:11.6-233

Leshoure finally got his opportunity to show what he could do as a starter in 2010 and did little to disappoint. He is a powerful inside runner, more in the mold of the Rams' Steven Jackson, but has a long way to match up to the Rams' franchise player as a receiving threat. With Mark Ingram receiving a few red flags due to medical concerns over his knee, Leshoure could end up being the only running back selected in the first round of the draft. For those draftniks out there, keep a close eye on Leshoure's back-up last season, Jason Ford, as more than a handful of scouts feel that Ford might be the Illini's best running back prospect in the last decade.

Leshoure burst on to the national scene as a junior, ranking fifth in the nation and second in the Big Ten Conference with an average of 130.54 yards per game. He also finished second in the league with an average of 145.62 all-purpose yards per game in 2010. The third-leading active rusher in the Big Ten with 2,557 yards, the Illinois tailback also etched his name into the school and conference record books.

Compares To: STEVEN JACKSON-St. Louis Rams. Unlike Jackson, Leshoure may not rank as the most complete back in the nation, largely because of a lack of natural hands as a receiver, but he will prove to be a very big load for defenses to handle. He has above-average toughness and runs with deceptive power. He breaks tackles easily and can turn on the jets when turning the corner. He's the type that can light up the score board once he sees daylight.
While not used much in this area, he is equally effective running the reverse out of the slot, but is best as an I-back. Two areas that need to improve are his receiving skills and route running ability, as he is not much of an asset in either area, presently. Still, he can play a one-back, halfback or fullback role due to his size and speed.

However, Leshoure's deceptive speed and inside running ability makes him more suited for a one-back system, as he never seems to tire. Blocking is a work in progress, but he does show willingness. He does need to do a better job of sustaining vs. the blitz, as he does not always get his hands into a defender's chest, but with some technique refinement, he could be adequate in this area.

If given the opportunity to be the featured back, Leshoure could be a player that defenses will always have to account for. This big back is a bruiser, but he can be shifty as a runner, can make the first man miss, has the speed and vision along with balance to turn the corner with no problem and has the power to get extra yards after contact. He has toughness as an inside runner, follows blocking patterns well and hits the hole quick and hard. Many talent evaluators feel that he can become the best performer among the running backs eligible for the 2010 draft.

Teams Showing the Most Interest: Green Bay, New Orleans, Miami, Washington and Denver. Teams don't seem willing to invest an early first-round pick in a running back any more, mostly due to the wear and tear that makes a featured back's career shorter than most. The Packers will have oft-injured Ryan Grant and James Starks compete for the starting job, as Brandon Jackson's uninspired performances leave the Pack with a gaping hole in the backfield. Leshoure could bring back memories of the John Brockington era with his physical inside running skills. New Orleans also is dealing with injury issues with their tailbacks – Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory and Reggie Bush – and could use someone with great success moving the chains, rather than a scat back type, as they already have one of those in Bush. Miami is not going to be bringing back Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown, so they have a crying need for a featured ball carrier. The big question is if they feel that the 15th pick is where the team should take one. Washington and Denver both play with that Mike Shanahan mentality in the backfield – forget about speed and go for a back that can punish an opponent. If they follow that formula this year, Leshoure is the perfect fit. Clinton Portis and Knowshon Moreno have both proven to be too injury-riddled to perform those chores for the Redskins and Broncos, respectively.

SPEED RUNNING BACK
Jordan Todman, University of Connecticut Huskies, #23, 5:09.1-193

Replacing Donald Brown (Indianapolis) in the starting lineup, Todman proved that big things come in "little" packages. He established himself as one of college football's elite ball carriers, earning prestigious spots in the school and Big East Conference record books. He was originally recruited as a receiver because of his speed and immediately endeared himself to the coaching staff upon his arrival at the university.

Todman is a well-rounded runner. Toting a well-built, compact frame, the Husky tailback plays with effort and determination. Although no one will mistake him for a power back, few ball carriers run as hard as Todman, evident by the high amount of multiple tacklers that have been needed to bring him down on his rushing attempts (on 72 of his 2010 rushing attempts, at least two defenders were needed to stop him, including three or more on 32 of those runs).

The thing you notice about Todman is that much like San Francisco's Brian Westbrook during his prime, he maintains a good pad level and can bounce off would-be tacklers who make the mistake of not wrapping up. The All-American performer and 2010 Big East Conference Offensive Player of the Year also has the speed to reach the edge and the burst to accelerate up field in a hurry.

Todman routinely displays the patience and vision that make successful pro runners, as he consistently waits for his blocks to develop. Despite having just 18 starts under his belt, his 3,179 yards rushing with 31 touchdowns rank third in the school record books. His average of 5.16 yards per rushing attempt is the fourth-best average by a Husky running back, while his average of 88.31 yards per game on the ground placed fifth on the school all-time record chart. He also rushed for over 100 yards in 15 of his 18 starts (83.33%), as his percentage for reaching the century mark is the best for any collegian since the turn of the century.

Compares To: TIKI BARBER-ex New York Giants. Actually, Todman is a combination of several tailbacks. He has the leg drive and power that Barber and Baltimore's Ray Rice possess, the sudden burst and acceleration that compares well to Chris Johnson (Tennessee) and the special teams ability that Brian Westbrook (49ers) and Warrick Dunn (ex-Atlanta/Tampa Bay) displayed earlier in their careers. How the Doak Walker Award committee (nation's top running back) did not include him on even their top-10 list in 2010 defies logic.

Few backs have had to carry the offensive load for their team like Todman did this season. But, with Connecticut's shaky quarterback situation and mediocre offensive line, let's hope the coaches don't run this kid into the ground before he gets an opportunity to show his wares at the NFL level.

Do not be fooled by his size, as Todman can punish defenders that think they can handle him in one-on-one situations. He is a surprisingly effective pounder who has enough strength to push the pile, along with the balance and leg drive to stay up on his feet after initial contact. He knows how to lower his head, square his shoulders and compete for tough yardage, but is also flexible enough to bounce off and redirect.

Todman runs hard at a low pad level when near contact and has that strong burst to break arm tackles. He is also aware of his ability to fall forward, as it is rare to see a defender have much success attacking Todman's outside leg. His low center of gravity and strong lower frame makes it very hard for an opponent to knock him off his feet, as he pushes forward constantly to generate additional yardage.

Teams Showing the Most Interest: New England, New York Giants, St. Louis and Seattle. While New England has been linked to Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams, Todman is more suited for Bill Belichick's style of player – a blue-collar type with blue-chip pedigree. Todman might lack great size, but he's a surprisingly powerful runner (put up the weights 21 times at the Combine), evident by the fact that it took more than one defender to bring him down on 22.5 percent of his non-touchdown runs in 2010 (72 of 320). The Giants don't seem to be too crazy about bringing back Ahmad Bradshaw, mostly due to his fumble issues, but Todman has no fumble issues. Through 584 carries at Connecticut, he has turned the ball over just three times. He is also alert to his surroundings, recovering two of his own fumbles in the process. St. Louis is looking for a change-of-pace runner to spell Steven Jackson and have been on an endless search for a player with Todman's shiftiness ever since Marshall Faulk retired. Buffalo finally traded away Marshawn Lynch, turning over running duties to C.J. Spiller next year, but despite his second half success, Seattle is still looking for more options than Lynch in their backfield.

FULLBACK
Owen Marecic, Stanford University Cardinal, #48, 6:00.3-246

Marecic is a throwback to the leather helmet days, and perhaps every woman's dream in a mate – as he's what Susan Sarandon was looking for in the movie "Bull Durham" – a sixty-minute man. Playing both fullback and linebacker for the Cardinal, Marecic also toiled on all three special-team units. His ability to play on both sides of the ball helped him earn "Tough As Nails" honors over other stellar fullbacks, Anthony Sherman (Connecticut) and Ryan Taylor (North Carolina), as both also ranked with the nation's leaders in special-team tackles.

It was perhaps fitting that this versatile performer became the recipient of the inaugural Paul Hornung Award in January 2011. An All-Pac 10 Conference selection at both middle linebacker and fullback, he averaged 110 plays per game as a senior. He capped off his stellar college career with excellent performances in the classroom and on the gridiron.

Graduating with a degree in biology, he was also one of the top performers during the week-long practices leading up to the prestigious Senior Bowl.

Once described as "the perfectly engineered football player" by former Stanford head coach and present San Francisco 49ers honcho, Jim Harbaugh, Marecic is a true throw-back to another era. The senior brought a playing style reminiscent of the 1960s when players prided themselves on toughness. Marecic even drew praise from one of the National Football League's most famous "Sixty-Minute Men" in Chuck Bednarik, who started at center and linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1949-60. "That's football," the Pro Football Hall of Famer said. "This two-platoon stuff is pussycat. It's not worth a crap."

Compares To: AHMARD HALL-Tennessee. Both players are well-built athletes with a nice blend of speed, strength and natural hands. Marecic plays with a "take no prisoners" approach as a blocker, as he simply explodes out of his stance to get into the rush lanes as a lead blocker. He is a good route runner who is used mostly on controlled routes, but has the vision to locate the soft areas in the zone. He rarely gets an opportunity to carry the ball, outside of short yardage situations, but he adds to his résumé with his tackling ability and will not only provide reserve depth at middle linebacker, but also be an asset on special teams. He lacks the hip snap to elude, but will square his shoulders and simply power through arm tackles. He constantly keeps his feet moving when pushing the pile as a blocker, but when he gets too high in his stance, his feet will stop, causing him to struggle taking on moving targets.

The fullback has also developed into a clutch third-down receiver, showing natural hands and very good hand/eye coordination to catch away from the body's frame. He has the top-end speed to explode out of his stance and generates good power while maintaining balance leading the way through the rush lanes. One of his better traits is his solid pass-catching hands out of the backfield, as he can easily reach and pluck, adjust to off-target throws and track the ball over the shoulder.

Teams Showing the Most Interest: Baltimore, Tennessee, Tampa Bay and New York Giants. The Ravens appear to be making plans for life without Le'Ron McClain and look like they will be the first team to draft a fullback, more likely in the fifth round. With Hall a potential free agent, Tennessee could opt to replace him with a player favorably compared to the former Texas A&M Aggie. Tampa Bay has been looking for a physical back since B.J. Askew failed to recover from injury woes after the 2008 season. The Giants were in the same situation as Tampa Bay, as injuries wiped out most of the 2010 season for Madison Hedgecock, and were forced to use H-backs at the position last season.


Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" Green's record-setting position performance at the NFL Scouting Combine made teams take immediate notice, even though some less-than-stellar draft \"experts\" started comparing him to Dorin Dickerson instead. Granted, he's not in the Vernon Davis (49ers) category stats-wise, but he can certainly give Davis a run for his money in the agility tests. And who is to say that he won't put up impressive numbers in a pro-style offense? Playing in the Pack's \"pistol\" offense, the tight end is usually the last receiving option, but in 2010, he led the Western Athletic Conference with 17 touchdown-resulting blocks. \"Virgil has developed into a consistent and dominant player, not just in the passing game, but also in the rushing game,\" Nevada head coach Chris Ault said. His blocking skills, especially in the second level, allowed the Wolf Pack to become the first team in NCAA history to boast three 1,000-yard rushers in the same season, as they accomplished that feat in 2009 (QB Colin Kaepernick gained 1,183 yards, while running backs Vai Taua had 1,345 and Luke Lippincott picked up 1,034). As a junior, he collected 13 touchdown-resulting blocks and continued that dominating performance in 2010, as he registered blocks on 13 of the team's 52 rushing touchdowns, adding six more touchdown-resulting blocks on pass plays. But, there is much more to Green's \"game\" than just clearing out rush lanes. In his last 40 games, 48 of 72 receptions by the tight end have produced first downs (66.67%), converting 22 third-down tosses and one more on fourth-down passes in the process. Green pulled down eleven scoring strikes during that 40-game span, but also came up with crucial receptions that led to 32 Nevada touchdowns and on 10 possessions that resulted in Wolf Pack field goals. Thirty-five of his catches were for at least 10 yards, including 11 for 20 yards or longer. His power was evident on 21 non-touchdown catches, as the opposition needed multiple defenders to stop him on those grabs. He even proved to be a dangerous threat as a motion receiver, as five of his reverses were good for first downs and set up scoring drives. During the 2010 season, the All-Western Athletic Conference first-team tight end managed to grab a career-best 35 passes for 515 yards (14.71 ypc) and five touchdowns. He also carried the ball four times for 19 yards and registered fourteen touchdown-resulting blocks, as the offense ranked second in the nation in total yardage (535.54 ypg) and five in scoring (42.62 ppg) during the regular season schedule. Owen Daniels-Houston. Green is much quicker than Daniels, but both have made a nice living by their ability to locate and settle into the soft zone areas. Green has more power when breaking initial tackles, but both show the forward body lean and leg drive to make it tough for third level defenders to take them down in one-on-one situations. I see Green being used more in motion than the traditional tight end position, but don't think for one minute that because of his lack of ideal size at the position that he won't win battles in the trenches as a blocker. In a system that requires their tight ends to work underneath, Green is a nice fit. Green is one of the quicker pass catchers you will find at this position. He shows very good \"get off\" running his routes, even when aligned near the line of scrimmage. He also has that explosive burst to be a dangerous threat on the reverse when lining up in the backfield (see 2010 Boise State, 2009 Idaho and 2008 Fresno State games). The thing that he does best is generating the lateral range to escape and get up field (see 2010 Eastern Washington, California and New Mexico State, and 2009 Utah State and Idaho games). In this day and age in the NFL, teams are looking for players like him to stretch the field, as he can flash to gain advantage and battles with very good intensity to escape the jam. He is an explosive mover when he gets a clean release and steps quickly to contact as a blocker while also getting off the line with a good burst as a receiver. Atlanta, Denver, Miami and Tampa Bay. The Falcons know that Tony Gonzalez is seriously considering retiring, but he seems to have taken Green under his wing and the entire staff seems to feel that Green's hidden talent as a receiver is about to emerge. The Broncos are also looking for a quality pass catcher, but might go the veteran route and sign Kevin Boss away from the Giants once the free agency period is allowed to commence. Richard Quinn and Tony Coats, the top two tight ends on Denver's depth chart, combined for just one reception last season. Anthony Fasano caught 39 passes in 15 games for the Dolphins last year, but he is never going to be confused for a receiver that can stretch the field like Green can. The Bucs are looking for a \"poor man's\" version of the 49ers' Vernon Davis and Green certainly matches up to Davis in the agility tests. Kellen Winslow had 66 receptions last year, but he's had numerous surgeries on his legs and based on his stormy relationship during his days in Cleveland, his prima donna attitude might be a detriment in the locker room for such a young Tampa Bay squad. Leshoure finally got his opportunity to show what he could do as a starter in 2010 and did little to disappoint. He is a powerful inside runner, more in the mold of the Rams' Steven Jackson, but has a long way to match up to the Rams' franchise player as a receiving threat. With Mark Ingram receiving a few red flags due to medical concerns over his knee, Leshoure could end up being the only running back selected in the first round of the draft. For those draftniks out there, keep a close eye on Leshoure's back-up last season, Jason Ford, as more than a handful of scouts feel that Ford might be the Illini's best running back prospect in the last decade. Leshoure burst on to the national scene as a junior, ranking fifth in the nation and second in the Big Ten Conference with an average of 130.54 yards per game. He also finished second in the league with an average of 145.62 all-purpose yards per game in 2010. The third-leading active rusher in the Big Ten with 2,557 yards, the Illinois tailback also etched his name into the school and conference record books. STEVEN JACKSON-St. Louis Rams. Unlike Jackson, Leshoure may not rank as the most complete back in the nation, largely because of a lack of natural hands as a receiver, but he will prove to be a very big load for defenses to handle. He has above-average toughness and runs with deceptive power. He breaks tackles easily and can turn on the jets when turning the corner. He's the type that can light up the score board once he sees daylight. While not used much in this area, he is equally effective running the reverse out of the slot, but is best as an I-back. Two areas that need to improve are his receiving skills and route running ability, as he is not much of an asset in either area, presently. Still, he can play a one-back, halfback or fullback role due to his size and speed. However, Leshoure's deceptive speed and inside running ability makes him more suited for a one-back system, as he never seems to tire. Blocking is a work in progress, but he does show willingness. He does need to do a better job of sustaining vs. the blitz, as he does not always get his hands into a defender's chest, but with some technique refinement, he could be adequate in this area. If given the opportunity to be the featured back, Leshoure could be a player that defenses will always have to account for. This big back is a bruiser, but he can be shifty as a runner, can make the first man miss, has the speed and vision along with balance to turn the corner with no problem and has the power to get extra yards after contact. He has toughness as an inside runner, follows blocking patterns well and hits the hole quick and hard. Many talent evaluators feel that he can become the best performer among the running backs eligible for the 2010 draft. Green Bay, New Orleans, Miami, Washington and Denver. Teams don't seem willing to invest an early first-round pick in a running back any more, mostly due to the wear and tear that makes a featured back's career shorter than most. The Packers will have oft-injured Ryan Grant and James Starks compete for the starting job, as Brandon Jackson's uninspired performances leave the Pack with a gaping hole in the backfield. Leshoure could bring back memories of the John Brockington era with his physical inside running skills. New Orleans also is dealing with injury issues with their tailbacks – Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory and Reggie Bush – and could use someone with great success moving the chains, rather than a scat back type, as they already have one of those in Bush. Miami is not going to be bringing back Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown, so they have a crying need for a featured ball carrier. The big question is if they feel that the 15th pick is where the team should take one. Washington and Denver both play with that Mike Shanahan mentality in the backfield – forget about speed and go for a back that can punish an opponent. If they follow that formula this year, Leshoure is the perfect fit. Clinton Portis and Knowshon Moreno have both proven to be too injury-riddled to perform those chores for the Redskins and Broncos, respectively. Replacing Donald Brown (Indianapolis) in the starting lineup, Todman proved that big things come in \"little\" packages. He established himself as one of college football's elite ball carriers, earning prestigious spots in the school and Big East Conference record books. He was originally recruited as a receiver because of his speed and immediately endeared himself to the coaching staff upon his arrival at the university. Todman is a well-rounded runner. Toting a well-built, compact frame, the Husky tailback plays with effort and determination. Although no one will mistake him for a power back, few ball carriers run as hard as Todman, evident by the high amount of multiple tacklers that have been needed to bring him down on his rushing attempts (on 72 of his 2010 rushing attempts, at least two defenders were needed to stop him, including three or more on 32 of those runs). The thing you notice about Todman is that much like San Francisco's Brian Westbrook during his prime, he maintains a good pad level and can bounce off would-be tacklers who make the mistake of not wrapping up. The All-American performer and 2010 Big East Conference Offensive Player of the Year also has the speed to reach the edge and the burst to accelerate up field in a hurry. Todman routinely displays the patience and vision that make successful pro runners, as he consistently waits for his blocks to develop. Despite having just 18 starts under his belt, his 3,179 yards rushing with 31 touchdowns rank third in the school record books. His average of 5.16 yards per rushing attempt is the fourth-best average by a Husky running back, while his average of 88.31 yards per game on the ground placed fifth on the school all-time record chart. He also rushed for over 100 yards in 15 of his 18 starts (83.33%), as his percentage for reaching the century mark is the best for any collegian since the turn of the century. TIKI BARBER-ex New York Giants. Actually, Todman is a combination of several tailbacks. He has the leg drive and power that Barber and Baltimore's Ray Rice possess, the sudden burst and acceleration that compares well to Chris Johnson (Tennessee) and the special teams ability that Brian Westbrook (49ers) and Warrick Dunn (ex-Atlanta/Tampa Bay) displayed earlier in their careers. How the Doak Walker Award committee (nation's top running back) did not include him on even their top-10 list in 2010 defies logic. Few backs have had to carry the offensive load for their team like Todman did this season. But, with Connecticut's shaky quarterback situation and mediocre offensive line, let's hope the coaches don't run this kid into the ground before he gets an opportunity to show his wares at the NFL level. Do not be fooled by his size, as Todman can punish defenders that think they can handle him in one-on-one situations. He is a surprisingly effective pounder who has enough strength to push the pile, along with the balance and leg drive to stay up on his feet after initial contact. He knows how to lower his head, square his shoulders and compete for tough yardage, but is also flexible enough to bounce off and redirect. Todman runs hard at a low pad level when near contact and has that strong burst to break arm tackles. He is also aware of his ability to fall forward, as it is rare to see a defender have much success attacking Todman's outside leg. His low center of gravity and strong lower frame makes it very hard for an opponent to knock him off his feet, as he pushes forward constantly to generate additional yardage. New England, New York Giants, St. Louis and Seattle. While New England has been linked to Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams, Todman is more suited for Bill Belichick's style of player – a blue-collar type with blue-chip pedigree. Todman might lack great size, but he's a surprisingly powerful runner (put up the weights 21 times at the Combine), evident by the fact that it took more than one defender to bring him down on 22.5 percent of his non-touchdown runs in 2010 (72 of 320). The Giants don't seem to be too crazy about bringing back Ahmad Bradshaw, mostly due to his fumble issues, but Todman has no fumble issues. Through 584 carries at Connecticut, he has turned the ball over just three times. He is also alert to his surroundings, recovering two of his own fumbles in the process. St. Louis is looking for a change-of-pace runner to spell Steven Jackson and have been on an endless search for a player with Todman's shiftiness ever since Marshall Faulk retired. Buffalo finally traded away Marshawn Lynch, turning over running duties to C.J. Spiller next year, but despite his second half success, Seattle is still looking for more options than Lynch in their backfield. Marecic is a throwback to the leather helmet days, and perhaps every woman's dream in a mate – as he's what Susan Sarandon was looking for in the movie \"Bull Durham\" – a sixty-minute man. Playing both fullback and linebacker for the Cardinal, Marecic also toiled on all three special-team units. His ability to play on both sides of the ball helped him earn \"Tough As Nails\" honors over other stellar fullbacks, Anthony Sherman (Connecticut) and Ryan Taylor (North Carolina), as both also ranked with the nation's leaders in special-team tackles. It was perhaps fitting that this versatile performer became the recipient of the inaugural Paul Hornung Award in January 2011. An All-Pac 10 Conference selection at both middle linebacker and fullback, he averaged 110 plays per game as a senior. He capped off his stellar college career with excellent performances in the classroom and on the gridiron. Graduating with a degree in biology, he was also one of the top performers during the week-long practices leading up to the prestigious Senior Bowl. Once described as \"the perfectly engineered football player\" by former Stanford head coach and present San Francisco 49ers honcho, Jim Harbaugh, Marecic is a true throw-back to another era. The senior brought a playing style reminiscent of the 1960s when players prided themselves on toughness. Marecic even drew praise from one of the National Football League's most famous \"Sixty-Minute Men\" in Chuck Bednarik, who started at center and linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1949-60. \"That's football,\" the Pro Football Hall of Famer said. \"This two-platoon stuff is pussycat. It's not worth a crap.\" AHMARD HALL-Tennessee. Both players are well-built athletes with a nice blend of speed, strength and natural hands. Marecic plays with a \"take no prisoners\" approach as a blocker, as he simply explodes out of his stance to get into the rush lanes as a lead blocker. He is a good route runner who is used mostly on controlled routes, but has the vision to locate the soft areas in the zone. He rarely gets an opportunity to carry the ball, outside of short yardage situations, but he adds to his résumé with his tackling ability and will not only provide reserve depth at middle linebacker, but also be an asset on special teams. He lacks the hip snap to elude, but will square his shoulders and simply power through arm tackles. He constantly keeps his feet moving when pushing the pile as a blocker, but when he gets too high in his stance, his feet will stop, causing him to struggle taking on moving targets. The fullback has also developed into a clutch third-down receiver, showing natural hands and very good hand/eye coordination to catch away from the body's frame. He has the top-end speed to explode out of his stance and generates good power while maintaining balance leading the way through the rush lanes. One of his better traits is his solid pass-catching hands out of the backfield, as he can easily reach and pluck, adjust to off-target throws and track the ball over the shoulder. Baltimore, Tennessee, Tampa Bay and New York Giants. The Ravens appear to be making plans for life without Le'Ron McClain and look like they will be the first team to draft a fullback, more likely in the fifth round. With Hall a potential free agent, Tennessee could opt to replace him with a player favorably compared to the former Texas A&M Aggie. Tampa Bay has been looking for a physical back since B.J. Askew failed to recover from injury woes after the 2008 season. The Giants were in the same situation as Tampa Bay, as injuries wiped out most of the 2010 season for Madison Hedgecock, and were forced to use H-backs at the position last season. 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