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With the NFL Draft less than two weeks away, I’ve decided to give the people my top 5 prospects by position. My rankings are based solely on my opinion and self-scouting. Be sure to listen to Sports Trap Radio Saturdays from 10am-2pm on ueradiolive.com and on www.livestream.com/ueradiolive
1. Trent Richardson 5-9 228lbs Alabama
Strengths: This kid is the full package. He’s an elite package of size, speed, and explosiveness. People think he’s not effective in the passing game, but he’s caught 68 passes for 710 yards in his career. He is also good in blitz pickup, not afraid to stick his facemask in the oncoming defender’s chest. Ball security was a problem in his first two seasons, but he did a better job securing the football in his final season.
Weaknesses: The only one that I see, but it’s really not a bad thing is his willingness to take on contact at all times. We all know an NFL running back’s shelf life is short as it is, so with some advice from coaches, hopefully Richardson will use a little more wiggle and step out of bounds at the sideline a bit more than in college. Yes he is a bull, but the guys in the NFL won’t be afraid to try to knock his ass out.
Grade: Top 5 pick
2. Lamar Miller 5-11 212lbs Miami
Strengths: Excellent top end speed, very explosive in and out of his cuts. Presses the hole and has elite cutback ability. Will be a home-run threat from day one in the NFL. Has the ability to return kickoffs if needed.
Weaknesses: Only had 300 plus carries in his college career, and injured his left shoulder during the 2011 season. He fought his way through it, but teams will question his durability with the low amount of carries and injury in his only season as a starter.
Grade: Early 2nd round
3. David Wilson 5-9 206lbs Virginia Tech
Strengths: Great balance, bounces off tackles and breaks a good amount for a running back with average size. Has good vision and does a fine job setting up his blocks. Was a damn good kick returner before becoming the full time starter in 2011.
Weaknesses: Has had problems with ball security, had 7 fumbles over his career. Has below average hands, and needs to improve as a pass blocker as well.
Grade: Early to mid 2nd round
4. Doug Martin 5-9 223lbs Boise St.
Strengths: Very strong runner who finishes his carries well. Nice combo of size and weight, low center of gravity makes him hard to bring down. Excellent pass receiver and is a willing blocker in pass protection. Not afraid to mix it up with oncoming defenders.
Weaknesses: Level of competition is a question for me. Boise St. obviously doesn’t play in a BCS conference during his time there, so even though he looked great, it was against low level opposition. Had problems with ball security during his career as well.
Grade: Early to mid 2nd round
5. Chris Polk 5-10 215lbs Washington
Strengths: Strong, durable, battle-tested running back. Prototypical NFL size, ran for over 1000 yards the last 3 seasons. Caught 79 passes in his career out of the backfield. Runs hard, with good pad level.
Weaknesses: Lacks that home-run type of speed. Has had two shoulder surgeries in his college career. Isn’t real agile and isn’t very explosive in and out of his cuts.
Grade: late 2nd- early 3rd
The next 5: Bernard Pierce 6-0 218lbs Temple, LaMicheal James 5-8 194lbs Oregon, Tauren Poole 5-10 205lbs Tennessee, Vic Ballard 5-11 219lbs Miss. St., Isaiah Pead 5-10 197lbs Cincinnati.
Be on the Lookout for my Top 5 WR’s coming in the middle of this week.