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Pat Kirwin on RB's

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by dbair1967, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. dbair1967

    dbair1967 Arch Defender

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    I could see the CJ fans groaning here:


    Draft's top running backs
    By Pat Kirwan | NFL.com
    Senior Analyst

    1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas
    Height: 6-1 Weight: 211
    College stats: 35 starts, 785 carries, 4,590 yards, 41 TDs; 46 receptions, 2 TDs
    Vital numbers: 4.33 40-yard dash

    McFadden is tops on most draft boards and is a surefire first-round selection. He has some off-the-field issues that are of some concern. He has vision and cutback ability which make him dangerous at the next level. His lower body is not up to the standard of Adrian Peterson which separates them in the eyes of most personnel people. He will have to work on techniques to switch the ball from his left hand and also use a better pad level in traffic. He has better hands than his 46 receptions would indicate and his straight line speed makes him a matchup problem when he will be lined up as a receiver against linebackers or safeties. Draft projection: Round 1.

    2. Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois
    Height: 5-10 Weight: 225
    College stats: 14 starts, 388 carries, 2,539 yards, 22 TDs; 59 receptions, 5 TDs
    Vital numbers: 4.45 40-yard dash

    Mendenhall is a one-year starter and the limited carries is a plus for teams looking for under-used college backs. I watched the Penn State and USC games and Mendenhall has the power to burst through the line and the speed to have a significant number of explosive plays in the NFL. He has excellent weight room strength and can take contact. Sees the field well and will take advantage of over-pursuing defenses. Many draftable defensive players mentioned him as the best back they faced. Catching the ball is easy for him and an expanded pass attack around him is a strong possibility. He has 397 less carries than McFadden. Draft projection: Round 1.

    3. Jonathan Stewart, Oregon
    Height: 5-10 Weight: 235
    College stats: 23 starts, 516 carries, 2,891 yards, 27 TDs; 49 receptions, 4 TDs
    Vital numbers: 4.48 40-yard dash

    Stewart had toe surgery recently and it did set back his draft status. He is a powerful runner who likes to describe his style as Jamal Lewis-like. He has the blocking skills to stay on the field on third downs. He has kickoff return skills and will excel in short yardage/goal line situations. He may not make as many people miss as McFadden, Mendenhall or Jones but he will break more tackles. Draft projection: Round 1.

    4. Felix Jones, Arkansas
    Height: 5-10 Weight: 207
    College stats: 11 starts, 386 carries, 2,956 yards, 20 TDs; 39 receptions, 3 TDs
    Vital numbers: 4.47 40-yard dash

    Jones played in the shadow of Darren McFadden at Arkansas. He has 399 less carries which isn't a bad thing in the eyes of NFL people. He has three kickoff returns for touchdowns and plays even faster than his forty time suggests. He seems to be a fit as a role player/complimentary back which would seem to suit a team like Dallas or Arizona. Last year his 8.7 yards per carry demonstrates the big-play style he brings to an offense. He may not be ready to be a third-down back with all the protection recognition and receiver skills required. Draft projection: Rounds 1-2.

    5. Jamaal Charles, Texas
    Height: 5-11 Weight: 207
    College stats: 17 starts, 533 carries, 3,328 yards, 36 TDs; 49 receptions, 3 TDs
    Vital numbers: 4.38 40-yard dash

    Charles is moving up the draft boards with his pure speed and his 2007 season was a big jump from the previous years. Charles likes to bounce runs outside where his speed is a bigger factor. He has ball security issues that evaluators like Miami's Bill Parcells and New England's Bill Belichick will not tolerate. Draft projection: Round 2.

    6. Ray Rice, Rutgers
    Height: 5-8 Weight: 199
    College stats: 38 starts, 910 carries, 4,926 yards, 49 TDs; 37 receptions, 1 TD
    Vital numbers: 4.47 40-yard dash

    Rice reminds me of Tiki Barber. I have watched him since high school and he plays bigger than his size says he should be able to and I'm not concerned about it at the next level. His excessive touches in three college seasons will be a concern to some teams. Ray makes his linemen look better than they really are with his vision and patience. Earlier, teams thought he wasn't fast enough to be a top-flight back but he answered that concern at the combine. Rice reminds me of Edgerrin James around the line of scrimmage, making good decisions and always crossing square at the point of attack. Draft projection: Round 2.

    7. Matt Forte, Tulane
    Height: 6-1 Weight: 217
    College stats: 30 starts, 833 carries, 4,265 yards, 39 TDs; 103 receptions, 5 TDs
    Vital numbers: 4.46 40-yard dash

    Forte is a big back with very good receiving skills. His 40 time was an eye-opener for those who believed he was a 4.6 guy. I like him in a one-back set or as a west coast fullback to take advantage of his receiving skills (he had 100-plus catches in college). I witnessed a burst from him at the Senior Bowl practices that intrigued me. Draft projection: Rounds 2-3.

    8. Kevin Smith, Central Florida
    Height: 6-1 Weight: 217
    College stats: 33 starts, 905 carries, 4,679 yards, 45 TDs; 55 receptions, 1 TD
    Vital numbers: 4.58 40-yard dash

    There were no secrets when a team played Central Florida. Stop Smith and you win. He always ran against fronts that had more defenders than his team had blockers. He plays faster than timed speed but really isn't a break away back. He will become an NFL starter but he may have a shorter career than a team would hope for with all he did on a college field. He will take more hits than some other backs and doesn't make a lot of people miss in the open field. Draft projection: Round 3.

    9. Chris Johnson, East Carolina
    Height: 6-1 Weight: 217
    College stats: 30 starts, 833 carries, 4,265 yards, 39 TDs; 103 receptions, 5 TDs
    Vital numbers: 4.24 40-yard dash

    Johnson has rare speed and could be a matchup nightmare at the next level. The team that drafts him will look closely at the package the Saints built for Reggie Bush. He doesn't have the ability to make people miss and his 'avoid' skills are just average, so consequently his pure speed doesn't always transfer to the field. He must learn to take the running lane with conviction and just go! Johnson is the kind of back who could go three or four carries with no gains and then pop a 40-yard run. Draft projection: Rounds 2-3.

    10. Steve Slaton, West Virginia
    Height: 5-9 Weight: 197
    College stats: 32 starts, 664 carries, 4,042 yards, 50 TDs; 65 receptions, 3 TDs
    Vital numbers: 4.49 40-yard dash

    Slaton played in a spread offense and some believe he will struggle in a more conventional setting. I have watched him live a few times and I think a roll on third downs with the draw play as his feature run and motioning him out of the backfield into slot situations is the best way to use him. He's not the strongest back in the draft but he has a role to play and would compliment a team that already has a big back. Draft projection: Round 4.

    11. Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech
    Height: 5-10 Weight: 215
    College stats: 27 starts, 697 carries, 3,365 yards, 28 TDs; 41 receptions, 0 TDs
    Vital numbers: 4.50 40-yard dash

    Choice was a little bigger than originally believed. He plays the game with intensity and I have been impressed when I talked to him about his team. Will run with power like Lamont Jordan and is a nice fit for a disciplined scheme like Houston will run this year. Draft projection: Round 4.

    12. Mike Hart, Michigan
    Height: 5-9 Weight: 206
    College stats: 39 starts, 1,015 carries, 5,040 yards, 41 TDs; 67 receptions, 2 TDs
    Vital numbers: 4.69 40-yard dash

    Hart seems to be the lost running back. There is a lot of speculation that he will not be drafted, which I consider a mistake. He's not fast, he has over 1,000 carries and he has no great traits, but he is a football player. His teammate, Jake Long, couldn't say enough about his toughness, character and willingness to block. He may be a guy teams are trying to replace every year but he will deliver when given the chance. He reminds me of a guy I signed, Scottie Graham. No one thought he would last but he did for years and was always ready when called upon. Draft projection: Round 4.


    The rest of the draft has another 10 backs with draftable grades, and another 10 who could get signed as free agents. Allen Patrick of Oklahoma, Justin Forsett of California, Jacob Hester of LSU, and Thomas Brown of Georgia lead the next wave of backs to go.
  2. Teague31

    Teague31 Defender of the Star

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    chris johnson = tyson thompson... all speed, no instincts.
  3. dillinger319

    dillinger319 Striped Leopard Zone Supporter

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    I would be very happy with Ray Rice in the 2nd......
  4. sago1

    sago1 Active Member

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    More analysis then I wanted to know. So much for my possible "wow" player.
  5. dbair1967

    dbair1967 Arch Defender

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    I think he's more talented overall than Thompson, and he certainly has great receiving skills whereas Thompson doesnt...but as a pure RB your point is probably valid

    David
  6. silverbear

    silverbear Semi-Official Loose Cannon

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    Wow-- the only thing I'd change in that listing is to move Chris Johnson up to 7 from 9 and move Matt Forte down from 7 to the 9 spot... other than that, that's how I'd rate the top 12 RBs too, and about where each ought to go in the draft...

    I had Johnson a bit higher a coupla weeks ago, then I started reading stuff like we read here... that speed won't be fully utilized on the field if he's not elusive... even very fast straight line runners don't have much success in the NFL, as a rule; he won't be faster than everybody else on the field all the time...

    I can say that I'm not real big on drafting Felix Jones either, I'm not sure what the Cowboys think they see in him... I see a player who's never likely to be much more than the change of pace back and some help on kick returns, and I'm not sure that's worth a first round pick... if Barber were to get hurt, I don't see Jones carrying that kind of load and being effective...

    But hey, it's entirely possible that I've just had my fill of running backs named Jones for a while... :D
  7. Redball Express

    Redball Express All Aboard!!!

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    ..after the 1st 4-5 that would really work for us if all we are looking for is a complementary back to MBIII.

    Garrett is going to factor heavily in to who and what we really decide to do here.

    He never was able to get Julius Jones on track and I'm thinking how he envisions the RB positions and how he is going to be looking at certain strengths from the RBs and in what situations will be pretty important.

    Having said that, what actually happens, whether we draft one with our 1st 2picks in the 1st rd. will tell us where Garrett comes in the pecking order of the coaches.

    Same thing with a WR. That also is a 1st rd. priority as well, despite the recent de-valuing of some of these WRs we are now reading about as not being 1st. rd. talent because of off-the-field concerns with a few of them.

    Jerry Jones isn't going to fall for that again like he did with not taking Randy Moss. If we can consider accepting Pacman as a player, we'll overlook some pot smoing or college suspensions when evaluating the worth of one of these top WR players..trust me.

    I think despite all the vocal statements about CB being the top issue from many in the media and even some from Jerry Jones himself..I think it's all a smoke screen.

    I see offense being the prime target in this draft for Garrett to evolve his offense to the next level.

    Two of the biggest letdowns last year on this team was the lack of production with our #2 RB and then our complete flatline at WR when TO went down.

    WR depth and RB depth are going to be addressed at the top of this draft. I'd also look for a FB to be drafted early who can block and catch the ball out of the backfield as well.

    As much as we'd all like to think that CB is going to cure our faults defensively, it isn't. Certanly we need help, but not 1st rd. help.

    Offense and TO and Romo and having a lot of weapons available to score points and play ball control offense is primary. That protects the defense more than having a CB that we take with a #1 pick.

    If we have a scoring machine, better than we had last year, that gives us leads instead of coming from behind, which we did alot of last year.

    And it changes the defensive philosophy a bunch because if we have leads and are able to dominat TOP more, we take other teams out of running the ball consistantly.

    This leaves Campo and the defensive coaches to then open up the pass rush and blitzes to go after the passing attack if they don't need to worry about watching for the running attack as much.

    CB will still be addressed, but in the 2nd rd..IMO. And if Pacman gets done, CB will be doubly addressed there, too.

    So there is still plenty of opportunity to get a WOW players(s) in the draft. It's jsut that we are not going to again spend another #1 pick defensively.

    Ain't going to happen.

    This draft will be primarily about offense, bet on it.

    :starspin ReDBaLL EXpreSS:starspin
  8. tomson75

    tomson75 Brain Dead Shill

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    You're banking on no defensive players in round one? I'll take that bet.
  9. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    Ray Rice is the sleeper back in this draft and will go in first round. Right around where Emmitt Smith went:)
  10. dbair1967

    dbair1967 Arch Defender

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    It's certainly possible (not taking a defensive player in rd 1)...especially if 1) they trade for Pac Thug and/or 2) they trade one of those first rd picks for a WR

    David
  11. dbair1967

    dbair1967 Arch Defender

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    yeah...um...ok

    David
  12. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    Noted -
    He is a workhorse, is explosive and powerfull
    Hits holes, bounces off tacklers and has great vision.

    so he's what 5-9/10 so was Emmitt
    Very similar backs in running style
    Rice may be quicker

    He has yet to prove he has Emmitts heart in NFL
  13. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    I'd be happy with Jones in the 1st round. I think he'd give the Cowboys the same thing Westbrook gives the Eagles.

    I'd be even happier with Rice in the 2nd round. Great value there.

    Johnson... I dunno.
  14. tomson75

    tomson75 Brain Dead Shill

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    Didn't say it was impossible. I just said I would take that bet.
  15. ThreeSportStar80

    ThreeSportStar80 Benched

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    His evaluation of Kevin Smith is crazy, from the people I've talked to and things I've read he has great vision and cutback ability and is a very patient runner.
  16. ThreeSportStar80

    ThreeSportStar80 Benched

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    Now signing him as a compliment to MB3 wouldn't be a bad idea, ESPECIALLY in the 4th round... I have to admitt I wasn't particularly high on him comiing into the draft BUT at the RIGHT spot I believe he could be a sleeper of the draft... He reminds me of a Brian Westbrook type player and would pair nicely with a guy like MB3.
  17. Aven8

    Aven8 Well-Known Member

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    I totally agree with you here. I think Slaton is being overlooked. I remember coming into last year that the top two backs were McFadden and Slaton. This guy is super quick and would make a great compliment to MBIII. I think going after a back in the 1st of 2nd is way too early. We have other needs, such as CB, WR, WR, WR, WR, and I still think we need more pass rushers. I'm all for Slaton. Yeah he didn't have that great of a year,(WVU was loaded with young talented RB's) but what did Mendanhall do the year before that? zilch
  18. ndanger

    ndanger Active Member

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    I am hoping Ray Rice is our guy. The zero fumbles in 910 carries just boggles my mind. I am not worried at all about 910 carries in college like some folks are. His workload would level down with us and he "could" carry the full load if need be.
  19. ThatsmyQB

    ThatsmyQB Benched

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    If we sign Pacman, I"d say it's a 90%+ possibility we don't draft a defender in round 1 since our only real need on defense right now is a C.B. and if we get Pacman, it allows us to go offense with our top 2 picks and pickup a C.B./S. in rounds 2-4.

    If we sign Pacman, I can't see us then going out and using another 1st rounder on another C.B. (but we will use one of our other high picks possibly 2 of the next 3 picks in rounds 2-4 on a D.B.), and if we're not taking another CB. in round 1, what player and/or position could we possibly take in round 1?
    So if we sign Pacman, I'd say it's 90%+ we don't draft a defensive player in round 1, only guy I could see us taking in round 1 if we sign Pacman is maybe Kenny Phillips, but other than that I'd say it's a given we don't draft a defender in round 1 if we get Pacman.
  20. FuzzyLumpkins

    FuzzyLumpkins The Boognish

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    That was the knock on him going into his senior season, He answered that knock on him and kirwan has a bit of catch up to do.

    Gosselin has him going in the first now and its beginning to look more an more that may the case. Draft daddy has him 'as a first rounder on several teams draft boards.'

    We shall see.

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