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Old 11-20-2012, 03:14 PM    (permalink
Ozzy
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Grizzlegom Just saw Sam McGuffie's name on Ozzy's list and it made me think of him when he was on Michigan. I feel like that was a REALLY long time ago and he should have been in the NFL by now. Isn't he a receiver at Rice? Does he have any real NFL value?
Really I should not have put him on there, but yes on Michigan he looked like he could maybe make an undrafted free agent list, but now I doubt he will even be able to pull that off. Most of the guys on the bottom showed potential early in their career but then transfered to another school and were forgotten about or simply did not play much afterwards.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:02 PM    (permalink
Caulibflower
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Yeah, I've made a point of checking out McGuffie every year, just to see where he's at (viral highlight video, playing as a true freshman at Michigan... Not a bad start for a guy's football resume), but the fact is, I just don't think he's an NFL player. For all the hype, he was basically a bust as a college player. I think there'll probably be some people who want to see him as a Danny Woodhead-type player, but he just isn't. It's not even a matter of breaking down what he is or isn't good at. He's just not at that level.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:43 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by Caulibflower View Post
I was thinking about making the Kerwynn-McCluster comparison in the prospect comparison thread the other day.
I see him more like Ronnie Hillman than McCluster.

Guys like Roy Finch, Onterio McCaleb, and Dri Archer are more like McCluster.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:58 PM    (permalink
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I've been thinking a lot lately about what makes a player a "running back" anymore, and basically I've concluded that it simply means a player lines up behind the quarterback. That said, there is a huge variety of roles a running back can have on an offense, and the needs of teams vary according to their schemes and personnel. It's been difficult for me to put running backs all into the same ranking, because teams value different traits; for example, you might think the Jets need an upgrade at running back, but say they wait until the third round to address the position - say Stepfan Taylor and Kenjon Barner are still on the board. If they need help in their running game, does drafting Stepfan Taylor help more than Kenjon Barner? Taylor's pretty similar to Shonn Greene. Kenjon adds something different. But conversely, if you're looking at a team like the Packers, in the same frame they might be looking at these two players and be thinking that what they really need is a more physical presence between the tackles, and Stepfan Taylor looks a lot more attractive to them. Not perfect examples, but you get the idea.

So I think it makes sense to rank RBs with different roles in mind. My "complete back" ranking is a ranking of the running backs who are basically "traditional" running backs; players who have a rounded game and that GMs look at as potential starters - the ranking basically imagines that there are no other running backs on the team who drafts them; they're thus ranked as if they are going to have to do everything. Then I rank players in specialized roles. So as not to get crazy, I've just made two complimentary categories - Power and Speed. The tackle-breakers and the ankle-breakers; players who will get you short yardage and provide some nastiness to a team's running game, and players who can contribute in a variety of ways, but are primarily looked at as guys you want to find ways to get in the open field. Since the value of a player depends on how many teams want him, I think this is a better way of ranking players than in a single column; there may be teams that are interested in a scat back who already have a power runner, so it doesn't make sense to put those players in the same value column when teams are clearly willing to employ a multi-pronged approach. These aren't complete rankings, but players I've watched enough to develop opinions of. Players can be in multiple categories.

Complete Backs (Starters)

Michael Dyer
Montee Ball
Zac Stacy
Christine Michael
Stepfan Taylor


Complimentary Backs

Power (Think LeGarrett Blount, Peyton Hillis, Daniel Thomas, Marcel Reece-type roles)

Christine Michael
Zach Line

Speed (Think CJ Spiller, Darren Sproles, Percy Harvin, Felix Jones-type roles)

Tavon Austin
Denard Robinson
Kenjon Barner


Looking at that, you may want to simplify it a little more into "running backs who are more like fullbacks" and "running backs who are more like receivers." That's fine with me. If you're looking at the Percy Harvin inclusion and thinking, "He's not a running back at all!" I'll just point out that he had more rushing attempts than receptions every year at Florida, and in 2 of those 3 years had more rushing yards than receiving yards, and had more rushing TDs than receiving TDs every year. He lines up at running back regularly in the NFL even if he's more of a receiver, but the idea is that it's a role they use him in… a role they might use him in more if they didn't have the best all-around running back in the league.

So I've included Tavon Austin in the Speed rankings, because it's very conceivable that he can help NFL teams who call plays where he lines up at running back, and I also think it's reasonable to expect that teams very well could decide to use him that way. But I don't include him in the complete back rankings, because a team would have to be insane to draft him thinking he could be their starter. On the other hand, he'd be near the top of my wide receiver rankings.

Maybe this will catch on, maybe it won't, but I'd be really interested to see what kind of rankings people come up with if they specify a category and rank "running backs" according to the fairly distinct roles we do see throughout the league, and not merely an overall rating with no distinctions made between the expectations of a player. Clearly, Onterrio McCalebb and Stepfan Taylor aren't going to be asked to do the same things, so it makes more sense to me to rank them against players who will, even if they all fall under that "running back" umbrella.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:34 PM    (permalink
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You're underrating Zach Line by categorizing him as a "Power" back. He can pass block and has great hands and his shiftiness creates yards after catch. There should be a category labeled "Passing Down back" (no it's not the same as 3rd-down back because teams throw on 1st and 2nd down as well).

Also being a "Speed" back doesn't mean you can't be a "complete" back or an "Every-down" back or "Feature" back. See Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, (late-career) Reggie Bush, etc.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:54 PM    (permalink
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You're underrating Zach Line by categorizing him as a "Power" back. He can pass block and has great hands and his shiftiness creates yards after catch. There should be a category labeled "Passing Down back" (no it's not the same as 3rd-down back because teams throw on 1st and 2nd down as well).

Also being a "Speed" back doesn't mean you can't be a "complete" back or an "Every-down" back or "Feature" back. See Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, (late-career) Reggie Bush, etc.
Zach line might be one of the next names down if I were to continue the "complete back" ranking. He's surely on both lists. They're all on every list. I just didn't write them all out. Also, the three backs you mentioned were considered complimentary or multi-dimensional players coming out. Nothing stops any of these players from becoming Pro Bowlers at the position - it's about expectations. And I did think about the "passing down back" too, but felt like I didn't want any more categories. That's why when I gave examples I clearly did both; LeGarrett Blount and Daniel Thomas are not great receivers, but Marcel Reece and Peyton Hillis are. CJ Spiller and Jamaal Charles are extremely dangerous in space but their teams give them a lot of handoffs; Percy Harvin and Darren Sproles get more of their offensive yards receiving passes, but they still handle a lot of responsibilities given to running backs and line up in a variety of places behind the line.

Typically the speed guys have good hands. I'm not sure I can think of a guy in the league who's known primarily for speed but doesn't catch many passes. All of the players who've been mentioned in that category are adequate receivers, so as far as I'm concerned its just a bonus to get that in your power back. And the idea is more about getting them the ball in space, and it's a lot easier to catch a swing pass than a fade; you're not throwing a swing pass to your short-yardage back unless he's Peyton Hillis, but you'll throw it to the 4.42 guy all day, because if he can hang onto an easy pass and make one guy miss he could get you a whole lot of yards just by being fast.
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:56 PM    (permalink
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Burkhead is a complete back. He does everything well - pass protection/running the ball/catching the ball out of the backfield. He is severely underrated.
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:15 AM    (permalink
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Latavius Murray is a guy I really like. 6'3 220 would be perfect for a ZBS. He could actually end up passing gillislee as my #1 back this draft. Theres not alot of video of him at the moment but he runs pretty hard and is very decisive.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:44 AM    (permalink
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Burkhead is a complete back. He does everything well - pass protection/running the ball/catching the ball out of the backfield. He is severely underrated.
Are white skill position players ever overrated? Haha
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:36 AM    (permalink
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At first glance he reminds me of Peyton Hillis...but that is where the comparison starts and ends.
so, because he's white?
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:55 PM    (permalink
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Are white skill position players ever overrated? Haha
That's true. It's kind of sad it is just laughed at. The laziness and stereotyping of prospects both black and white is rampant in both the scouting and draftnik communities. It has been covered ad nauseum on this site so I won't go on an diatribe.

But just for fun for all of you folks out there - when draft time comes around see how many talking heads are going to compare Geno Smith to Griffin and Newton. And also notice how everyone will compare Conner Vernon to Wes Welker even though Vernon projects as an outside WR and is not a slot guy.

Also - I feel Rex Burkhead is a better Ryan Mathews. He runs harder, is a better receiver and does not have the ball security issues.
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:38 PM    (permalink
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Also - I feel Rex Burkhead is a better Ryan Mathews. He runs harder, is a better receiver and does not have the ball security issues.
Burkhead is more like Mike Hart than Ryan Matthews. I don't think he can go before the 5th round. He could make a roster and even play a bit, but I don't see a team making him their lead back.

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Old 11-21-2012, 07:01 PM    (permalink
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Burkhead = Donald Brown
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:32 PM    (permalink
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Every-Down:

Michael Dyer
Zac Stacy
Denard Robinson
Ray Graham
Montee Ball

Power Backs:

Christine Michael
Zach Line
Michael Dyer
Stepfan Taylor
Cameron Marshall

Speed Backs:

Denard Robinson
Ray Graham
Tavon Austin
Kenjon Barner
Andre Ellington

Passing-Down Backs:

Tavon Austin
Ray Graham
Denard Robinson
Zach Line
Montee Ball

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Old 11-24-2012, 06:41 PM    (permalink
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Gillislee showing again why he might be the best RB in this draft.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:34 PM    (permalink
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Gillislee showing again why he might be the best RB in this draft.
Think so? I don't know if I've watched him. Just watched a bunch of Ray Graham recently, and he jumped up in my rankings accordingly.
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:51 AM    (permalink
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Think so? I don't know if I've watched him. Just watched a bunch of Ray Graham recently, and he jumped up in my rankings accordingly.
Ray Graham is a stud. He has just recently has began to show off his old quickness and burst after recovering from last years injury. I have him soundly behind Montee Ball as the second best back in the draft.
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:47 PM    (permalink
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Think so? I don't know if I've watched him. Just watched a bunch of Ray Graham recently, and he jumped up in my rankings accordingly.
I do. Very well rounded back who I'd probably argue the most complete back in the draft. Is more explosive than I think he'll get credit for too. He's also a very good pass blocker which will definitely increase the number of snaps he gets. We see talented backs like a Lamar Miller who is very good with the ball in his hands but gets limited reps because of his pass pro which isn't that good. Gillislee's ypc isn't very impressive for a college RB but it's hard to know how much to look into that given that DeMarco and Doug Martin both averaged under 5 ypc in their senior years. Something to keep in mind.

Also, I LOVED Ray Graham coming into the season and felt he had the ability to give Lattimore a run for his money as the top RB. He has really good vision and can make some flat out filthy cuts. He's pretty strong for a guy his size and is tough to bring down. Strong receiver out of the backfield as well. He definitely didn't have the same burst or cutting ability coming early this season coming back from injury. It's encouraging to see that slowly but surely, he's starting to get it back. 2011 Ray Graham would be the best back in this draft imo so I'm hoping he can get back all the way to his old form. Could be a steal for someone if he does.
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:50 PM    (permalink
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I watched some of his game film from earlier in the season, I think against Cincinnati, and while he looked good there is definitely a difference between that game and another I watched - Notre Dame. Against Notre Dame he looked really decisive, fast and surprisingly powerful. He's looking good. Also, Russell Wilson just ripped off a sweet scramble while I was typing this. Go Seahawks!
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:31 AM    (permalink
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If Alfred Morris can be a starter in the NFL than Zach Line should be. Alfred Morris is not a really impressive runner and is not a sudden athlete but he runs hard and hits the open hole without dancing. I would bet Zach Line actually has more impressive mearsuarbles come combine time and could definitely have success at the next level.
I'm sorry, I disagree. I think Line is a very dependable, tough runner, but I don't see him having a lot of success at the next level. He often gets huge holes to run through and this makes him look better than he is. I would love to see him do well...I am a fan...but, while I do see him possibly making a team, I think it will be as a FB/special teamer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P13iY4VN_1g
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:22 AM    (permalink
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I am kind of surprised that no one has brought up LeVeon Bell from Michigan St. I have seen him only a couple of times, but he looks like a real bellcow to me. I also didn't realize how big he was...245 lbs...and very light on his feet for such a big man. Any thoughts?
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Old 11-26-2012, 12:43 PM    (permalink
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What is everyone's opinion on Theo Riddick?! He looked like the best player on the field at times on Saturday against USC, tough inside and with obvious talents in the receiving game due to his position changes in the past. He is well built and could really be a playmaker in the pros. You also gotta love his versatility and the fact that he has a very low mileage on his legs due to playing WR the past couple of years....
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:48 PM    (permalink
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What is everyone's opinion on Theo Riddick?! He looked like the best player on the field at times on Saturday against USC, tough inside and with obvious talents in the receiving game due to his position changes in the past. He is well built and could really be a playmaker in the pros. You also gotta love his versatility and the fact that he has a very low mileage on his legs due to playing WR the past couple of years....
He's not the best RB in this class, but could be a really nice NFL player. He's going to be compared to Percy Harvin, but he's not that good. Plus, I think he's going to be primarily a RB in the NFL that is used out wide, while Harvin is a WR that is used in the backfield. Looks closer to a Jaquizz Rodgers type of player. Not ever going to be an every down RB, but looks like a 3rd down back that can catch passes out of the backfield or line up in the slot. And with the NFL becoming more pass happy by the day, that's a valuable player.
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:56 AM    (permalink
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Watch Mike James' stock rise. He is strong in the weight room and has above average speed. He should do well at the combine and at workouts. He could go as high as round four or as low as UFA. One thing about James is he has experience at FB and can catch the ball out of the back field.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:26 AM    (permalink
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Ed Lacy looked good. Where you guys see him being drafted? 4th round?
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