Tag:Bilal Powell
Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:22 pm

OT, RB depth underrated strengths of 2011 class

For most fans of the NFL draft, it is simply human nature to focus on the best players. These, of course, are the headliners that typically are drafted highest and thus, are expected to make the most immediate and lasting impact in the NFL.

Scouts, however, are very well aware of the fact that the big names will only constitute the first 32 or 64 picks of the 254 players selected this year.

As such, they're dedicating much of their attention to the lower rated prospects... and what they've been discovering is the unusual depth at offensive tackle and running back in this year's class.

By now, everyone knows the elite offensive tackles. Anthony Castonzo, Tyron Smith, Gabe Carimi, Derek Sherrod and Nate Solder are all expected to be first round picks . The depth behind the "fabulous five" is worth mentioning too.

Teams are quite high on the toughness and consistency of Alabama's James Carpenter and Miami's Orlando Franklin. With a little fine-tuning, TCU's Marcus Cannon, Indiana's James Brewer and Florida's Marcus Gilbert could surprise. Though level of competition questions abound, no one dominated their opponents as consistently as Villanova's Ben Ijalana throughout his respective career. There are a lot of teams very high on the long-term upside of lower level FBS prospects Derek Newton (Arkansas State), Jah Reid (Central Florida), Willie Smith (East Carolina), Byron Stingily (Louisville) and Byron Bell (New Mexico).

Running backs offer similar depth.

I highlighted three of the "sleeper" running backs that I really like in this video with CBS' Lauren Shehadi. Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers, Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones and Hawaii's Alex Green are only a few of the backs not getting a lot of media attention that I feel will ultimately surprise. I'm also particularly high on Clemson's Jamie Harper, Louisville's Bilal Powell and Miami's Graig Cooper, though NFLDraftScout.com currently rates all three as Day three picks or, in the case of Cooper, even a potentially undrafted player.

Last year we saw two undrafted free agents lead all rookie running backs in rushing yards. Tampa found their star in former Oregon Duck LaGarrette Blount and New Orleans found a true diamond in the rough in former Tiffin Dragon (and Washington State Cougar) Chris Ivory. The three running backs drafted in the first round -- CJ Spiller (Buffalo), Ryan Matthews (San Diego) and Jahvid Best (Detroit) were all relative disappointments as rookies.

Considering the underrated talent of this year's RB class, don't be surprised if a Day Three find winds up competing for the league's rookie rushing title again in 2011...
Posted on: March 12, 2011 8:07 pm

Hamstring limits Louisville RB Powell... again

Louisville running back Bilal Powell's right hamstring lasted one attempt at the 40-yard dash. As it turns out, it may have been enough.

Powell is one of the draft's hottest running back prospects, coming off of a breakout senior season in which he rushed for 1,405 yards (averaging 6.1 yards a clip) and strong Senior Bowl performance. Nagging right knee and right hamstring injuries kept him from working out at the Combine, forcing 20 teams, including eight running back coaches (according to NFL.com's Gil Brandt ) to attend his Pro Day.

A source I contacted following the workout disputed that there were this many running back coaches at the Pro Day, but did note that Steve Logan, the Tampa Bay Bucs' running backs coach and that Jim Anderson, the Cincinnati Bengals' running backs coach, was among those attending the workout. He believed he'd also seen Indianapolis Colts' running backs coach David Walker there, as well.

Brandt listed Powell at 5-10 (1/2) and 207 pounds and being clocked at 4.54 in his first attempt at the 40-yard dash. My source clocked him at 4.50.

Powell pulled his troublesome right hamstring on his second attempt, ending his day early.

Depending on the extent of his new injury, Powell and his representatives may elect to schedule a third workout. With most teams dedicating the final few weeks before the April 28 draft to meetings, however, they are running out of time.

Powell's spectacular 2010 season would serve as plenty of proof for some teams that he has the goods. Considering that he has only one standout season, however, most clubs want more information on him before investing anything more than a third day draft pick. After all, Powell rushed for "only" 933 yards in his three previous seasons, including a then-career high 392 yards (including a 3.6 yard-per-carry average) as a junior.

NFLDraftScout.com rates Powell as the No. 12 running back in the 2011 draft and a 4th round value. 
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