2012 NFL Combine analysis: RB

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Virginia Tech RB David Wilson was a winner following Sunday’s workouts.

Sunday, February 26th at the 2012 NFL Combine featured quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers in a number of positional and timed testing for the purpose of NFL Draft evaluation. The following are some of my notes strictly on the running back workouts.

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  • The most impressive Sunday performer in the running back groups at the Combine was Virginia Tech’s David Wilson (5’10” 206 lbs.). A smooth cutter in route running drills and made natural hand catches away from his body. He was agile and laterally nimble. Couple a 4.49 time in the 40-yard dash with an explosive 41″ vertical jump and you have yourself a top to bottom great workout. A late 1st round talent who may have pushed himself up RB ratings after being the third best on my most recent list.

 

  • Miami (FL) RB Lamar Miller (5’10” 212 lbs.) ran the fastest 40-yard time of any running back, posting a 4.40 flat. A size + speed combo athlete with very, very notable acceleration and long-speed. Cuts nicely, but hesitates a bit when going through the hole. Overall workout was good. Carries his weight well and athleticism isn’t a problem. A 1st round talent, but projects to go in the early portion of round 2.

 

  • Three players tied for the second fastest 40-yard dash time: San Diego State RB Ronnie Hillman (5’9″ 200 lbs.), who was a smooth cutter and displayed agility, but more importantly his second gear. Oregon RB LaMichael James (5’8″ 194 lbs.) moved well and ran routes pretty well, hands were good, and he’s bulked up his frame but maintained solid speed and short area burst. Florida RB/WR/KR Chris Rainey (5’8″ 180 lbs.) continued to flash speed when running + cutting and never slowed down when making catches in the flats.

 

  • Tennessee RB Tauren Poole (5’10” 205 lbs.) displayed nice overall ability and has the look of a solid complimentary contributor. May not have overall explosive ability, but he has solid hands, quick feet, can turn pretty smoothly and he lowers his pad level when making cuts. Poole’s a nice later-mid round value.

 

  • Washington RB Chris Polk (5’10” 215 lbs.) didn’t flash too, too much in workouts, but that wasn’t to be expected in my opinion. Polk is more of a gamer, but he did keep a low pad level when hitting the simulated hole in drills and refrained from much hesitation in doing so. I liked his patience as well. A 2nd-3rd round value.

 

  • Another riser is Boise State RB Doug Martin (5’9″ 223 lbs.), a complete looking runner who’s capable of running in or outside the tackles, flashed quality hands today, and has quick-cut route running ability. For someone as physically thick and built as Martin he’s not very stiff and can move well at his size. 2nd round projection.

 

  • The most physically imposing runner was Utah State RB Robert Turbin (5’10” 222 lbs.). Built like a super-hero, he tied Doug Martin for the most bench press reps with 28 — after having 2 taken off his total for improper lifts. He was stiff in route running and doesn’t have a true second gear, but did however exhibit nice natural hands, catching away from his body. He could drop his shoulders a bit more when running through the hole, but he squares nicely and looks very notably formidable between the tackles. He should land in 4th round range.

 

  • Cincinnati RB Isaiah Pead (5’10” 197 lbs.) is a smooth and athletic overall player. Makes good of open space when he gets it, keeps feet moving well, playing at a a faster pace. When route running he maintains speed through his stem and doesn’t slow down when locating and adjusting to the football. He has an indefinite second gear and burst. He’ll make a nice addition for a team seeking a pass catcher with some explosiveness in round 3, possibly late 2.

 

  • Wisconsin FB Bradie Ewing (6’0″ 239 lbs.) put up a mere 13 reps on the bench press and looked average overall athletically, including an equally average body shape. That being said – he can play. A nice ball carrier, some sneaky athleticism as a route runner and makes some nice off-body catches. While I don’t see Peyton Hillis, I see a solid west-coast offense style fullback with some shades of John Kuhn.

 

  • Finally, Temple RB Bernard Pierce (6’0″ 218 lbs.) looked compact and carried his size well. Nice short area quickness, stays low and squares up. I liked his quick feet and he translated it to his route running, where he appeared controlled and comfortable moving vertically & laterally. A nice receiver out of the backfield, he’s capable of being a screen-play RB in the passing game who can create with space.
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