Tuesday, March 31, 2009

NFL Draft Junkie: Running Backs

brownTime for another examination of the NFL Draft. I realize that I will never be able to get to everything by April 25, so I want to take an email or two each week to let you know where I sit on various topics.

Just know this: I concentrate on the top 2 rounds. All I look at are about 70-80 players that the experts say are worthy of the first 2 rounds, then I take a crash course on them as thoroughly as possible. So if they are not thought of as 1-2 round talents, then I have significantly less time dedicated to them. I don’t see how anyone can know about all 250-300 players with any depth unless they are either A) doing this all year (like the Goose) or B) just stealing all of their opinions from some draft guide that sits next to them as they talk.

I am not a draft expert – I do not scout games – nor would I know exactly what NFL scouts would look for anyway. I watch. I eyeball. I watch the Senior Bowl, Combine, youtube, and many, many games I have recorded through the last college season to see who impresses me the most. That is my magic formula. I watch them.

What do I read? Very little. I have found in the past that “Draft experts” have led me astray, so now, while I will listen to my leaders’ opinions (Pat Kirwan, Charley Casserley, and Mike Mayock) I try to ignore most of the others out there.

So, with that stuff in mind, here is today’s feature email:

”Bob, of the Running Backs in this draft, who is the one you would be most likely to tab as this year’s Matt Forte? In other words, who will be the best without getting the best hype?”

Well, we can debate who will be the best RB from the 2008 draft, but so far, Matt Forte looks like he is a keeper. Darren McFadden, Jonathan Stewart, Felix Jones, Chris Johnson, and Rashard Mendenhall were all 1st round picks, but the 11th RB in the draft was actually the one who had the most yards – Steve Slaton to Houston in the 3rd round had 1282 yards. He was clearly the steal of the fantasy season, and in real football, the Texans were thrilled. Chris Johnson and Matt Forte were also in the top 8 rushers of 2008, making 3 rookies in the top 8 NFL rushers last season, with none of them being the top 4 RB’s taken. Imagine that!

So, on to 2009. Let’s look at our highly rated RB’s:

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock has these in his top 5 RB’s
1 *Knowshon Moreno Georgia
2 *Donald Brown Connecticut
3 *Chris "Beanie" Wells Ohio State
4 *LeSean McCoy Pittsburgh
5 *Mike Goodson Texas A&M

ESPN’s Mel Kiper has these 5 RB’s:His Game Log speaks for itself where it looks like he spanked everyone in his path…
1. *Knowshon Moreno, Georgia
2. *Chris "Beanie" Wells, Ohio State
3. *Donald Brown, Connecticut
4. *LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh
5. *Shonn Greene, Iowa

It appears that everyone has Moreno and Wells going in the first round. I saw Casserley had Wells going #4 to Seattle last week, which I think is insane. Both have been in the mid-teens quite a bit on many mocks I have seen. I will tell you that I am fairly lukewarm on both of them.

Let me tell you the RB who I think will be excellent in the NFL. I love just about everything about him. UConn’s Donald Brown.

I think he has a chance to be real solid. In the video I have watched, I love seeing how he has the quickness to get around the corner. Once he does, he often makes defensive backs look foolish. There was some question recently about his ability to be a solid receiver out of the backfield, but I think his pro day last week proved he had a pair of reasonable hands.

Also, his work ethic and character do not appear to be issues, as well as his durability. That might be the real issue with Beanie Wells, as we all know RB's cannot help you when they are in the trainer's room.

Here, an Eagles loving blog focuses on the young lad which makes plenty of sense as he does appear to be a prototype west coast offense RB.

The Eagles have 2 picks at #21 and #28, so if I had to bet, he will end up there. Regardless, here is what made me fall in love with his work. His film:

UConn vs Buffalo in the Bowl game

And UConn versus Virginia

Anyway, after arguing on behalf of California’s DeSean Jackson last spring, I believe in my secret formula of just watching all the draftees, and then getting behind those who are great. And, after seeing his film, my answer for RB that I would buy stock in, it would be Connecticut’s Donald Brown.

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