Posted on: December 16, 2010 7:10 pm
The annual migration of junior and redshirt sophomore running backs to the NFL may begin with Mississippi's Brandon Bolden, who according to this report from Kyle Veazey of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, has requested a grade from the NFL Advisory Committee.
Bolden flashed on tape last year as a complimentary option behind Dexter McCluster. This season Bolden emerged as the Rebels'best running back, rushing for 976 yards and 14 touchdowns for an offense that struggled with consistency. Despite his production, some will be surprised that Bolden is looking into his pro grade. He certainly hasn't generated the hype of a Mark Ingram or LaMichael James.
Just because Bolden requested his grade does not mean, of course, that he'll elect to leave school early. While the 5-11, 225 pound Bolden has a combination of agility, speed and power to translate well at the NFL level and has proven successful against top SEC competition, pro teams are going to be as hesitant as ever to invest high round picks in running backs when two undrafted free agents -- the Bucs' LeGarrette Blount and the Saints' Chris Ivory -- have been more impressive this season than any of the other rookie runners, including first rounders C.J. Spiller (Bills), Ryan Mathews (Chargers) and Jahvid Best (Lions).
This fact may cause NFL teams to push running backs down the board, but don't expect it to slow down the exodus of underclassmen runners. In fact, with a relatively weak class of seniors, some league insiders believe we could see several young running backs enter the 2011 draft.
Rumors are swirling around Ingram, Illinois' Mikel LeShoure, Cal's Shane Vereen, Oregon State's JacQuizz Rodgers, UCONN's Jordan Todman, and Clemson's Jamie Harper as junior backs who may make the jump. Even some lesser known junior runners like Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones are looking into their options.
Redshirt sophomore like James, Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams and Washington's Chris Polk are also expected to request grades.
The reason behind their moves is simple. Running backs absorb so much punishment that they're wise to begin earning money for their production as soon as possible.
As is always the case, any underclassmen considering making the jump to the pros should only do so after first consulting with the NFL Advisory Committee.
As always, remember that for complete draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com or simply click here.
Posted on: November 9, 2010 6:07 pm
NFL scouts may finally get their chance to see Pittsburgh defensive end Greg Romeus healthy this season.
The reigning Big East Defensive Player of the Year has been out of the lineup since playing in the season opener against Utah on September 2nd. Back pain made Romeus a shadow of his former self in that contest. He underwent surgery to repair a disk in his lower back approximately two weeks later.
Though Pitt head coach Dave Wannestadt informed the media that Romeus has been medically cleared to play, the former NFL head coach isn't likely to rush Romeus back onto the field -- especially with the Panthers' next game so soon. Pitt travels to play Connecticut on Thursday.
With only one game played in the past 11 months, Romeus won't be in true football shape and the Panthers are fortunate to have had Jabaal Sheard and junior Brandon Lindsey step up in their play since Romeus was sidelined.
Sheard leads the Big East with nine sacks and Lindsey is right behind him with eight -- the same number Romeus had in 2009.
When healthy, Romeus has proven himself to be one of the top defensive ends in the country. At 6-5, 268 pounds he has the prototypical height, length and strength that teams are looking for and is capable of contributing early in his pro career as a true three-down right end. Romeus' return to health is especially important due to the fact that he remains a relatively raw prospect. Romeus only played one season of football in high school.
Following the Connecticut game, the Panthers have three more regular season games this season. At 5-3, including 3-0 in the Big East thus far, the Panthers are only one win away from guaranteeing a bowl berth. The only undefeated team in the Big East, Pitt is the favorite to win the conference and play in a BCS game.
With as many as five more games left to scout Romeus this season, NFL teams should have ample opportunity to determine if he is back to full strength and worthy of high round consideration.
Posted on: February 28, 2010 11:47 am
I was among the fortunate handful of media members allowed to venture inside Lucas Oil Stadium to watch this morning's quarterback and wide receivers workouts. Because I have to head back out to cover the second session in just a few moments, I don't have enough to time to really break down the 20+ players I watched.
However, here were my impressions of a few noteworthy receivers.
The highest rated receiver of this bunch is Illinois' Arrelious Benn, but today was not an impressive one for him. Benn struggled with his footwork today, slipping on multiple occasions on the Lucas Oil Stadium turf. He also struggled catching the ball, dropping a few passes during the gauntlet drill and while running routes. He looked particularly bad by having a hot, but accurate pass go right through his hands on during the gauntlet and subsequently dropping another one by turning his hands the wrong way when attempting to catch a poorly thrown post-corner route. Benn did not look overly explosive, though his strong frame is sure to intrigue scouts.
The most consistently impressive catcher on this day was another junior, Kansas' Dezmon Briscoe. Briscoe's long arms and good body control was often on display, as he was able to adjust to several poorly thrown passes and make sparking receptions. He doesn't appear to be the quickest receiver out of his breaks, but his long strides help him generate good speed down the sidelines.
Cal's Ryan Boateng was a surprise early star during the session, looking fluid during drills and catching everything in sight. He caught the ball with his hands and adjusted smoothly to poorly thrown balls -- an impressive feat considering his 6-1, 204 pound frame. Boateng struggled a bit later, failing to adjust adequately to deep balls, which will be a concern. Otherwise, he was one of the session's more impressive performers.
Florida's Riley Cooper was a bit inconsistent with his routes and hands on this day. He is more explosive than some give him credit for, but certainly doesn't have elite burst out of his breaks. He caught most passes with his hands, but didn't show great flexibility or determination to adjust to poorly thrown balls, too often just putting one hand up to attempt to make the sparkling reception. On one occasion he made a nice grab by doing so; on another he dropped it.
LSU return specialist Trindon Holliday was a surprise addition to the receiver workouts. His speed is certainly intriguing, but he dropped a few passes, including a bad on a deep ball that floated right into -- and through -- his hands.
Wide receivers who worked out this morning were: Fresno State's Seyi Ajirotutu, West Virginia's Alec Arnett, Kansas State's Brandon Banks, Norfolk State's Chris Bell, Illinois' Arrelious Benn, Cal's Ryan Boateng, Kansas' Dezmon Briscoe, Central Michigan Antonio Brown, Cal-Davis' Chris Carter, Florida's Riley Cooper, Connecticut's Marcus Easley, Clemson's Jacoby Ford, Wake Forest's David Gettis, Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard, Mississippi's Shay Hodge, Florida's Brandon James, Youngstown State's Donald Jones, San Jose State's Kevin Jurovich.
Due to injury, Missouri's Danario Alexander, Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant and Minnesota's Eric Decker did not work out this morning.
Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Antonio Brown, Arrelious Benn, Brandon Banks, Brandon James, Cal-Davis, Central Michigan, Chris Bell, Chris Carter, Cincinnati, Clemson, Connecticut, Danario Alexander, David Gettis, Dez Bryant, Dezmon Briscoe, Donald Jones, Eric Decker, Florida, Florida, Fresno State Seyi Ajirotutu, Jacoby Ford, Kansas, Kansas State, Kevin Jurovich., Marcus Easley, Mardy Gilyard, Mississippi, NFL Combine, NFL Draft, Norfolk State, Riley Cooper, Ryan Boateng, San Jose State, Shay Hodge, Wake Forest, West Virginia Alec Arnett, Youngstown State
Posted on: March 25, 2009 10:01 pm
Speaking to scouts who attended the recent Pro Days at Iowa (yesterday) and Connecticut (today), it is obvious that running backs Shonn Greene and Donald Brown are moving up the board at precisely the right time.
Brown, who, of course led the country in rushing yards last season, had been impressive at the Combine, putting forth one of the best all-around performances of any running back in Indianapolis.He chose to stick with his Combine numbers today, but was especially effective catching passes out of the backfield, scouts tell me, and may have secured his position as either the 2nd or 3rd running back off the board.
Greene, on the other hand, struggled a bit at the Combine and needed a strong performance at the Iowa Pro Day to rescue his stock. While in Indianapolis, the 5-10, 227 pounder was timed at 4.62 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He dropped a tenth of a second from that time Tuesday, clocking in at 4.50-4.55 seconds according to scouts in attendance. Greene, who measured in again at 227 pounds, also increased his vertical jump from 37 to 39" inches, showing more explosiveness than many have given him credit for.
I am not as high on either back as some seem to be. I believe that both backs are significantly lesser prospects than Georgia's Knowshon Moreno and Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells. However, with more and more teams looking for a rotational system at running back, it would not be a surprise to see either back slip into the late portion of the first round.