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I definitely think he has the RB skills to do it, but it really depends on how he times. I don't know if he can be a starter, but I think he can definitely be a very good back up or the 2nd guy in a 1/2 punch.
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He has the hands, blocking, and pretty good vision and ball security. I am also curious to see how he times in the 40 and the agility drills. He's a good football player, not sure if he's gonna run the sort of time that will get him noticed as a tailback. He's proved himself in the SEC though, I think he'll run around a 4.60 and get picked up as a third RB/special teamer.
I don't really care what position he plays, the fact remains that Hester is a baller. He's not flashy but he does everything sound and well. He has great hands, can pass block, run block and would be a nice complementary back with his vision, especially in the red zone. No he is not physical enough to be the next Alstott but he could be just as valuable for an offense, while he also has the kind of skills that would make him a fixture on all special teams.
couple things on hester but also on schmitt and hillis too.
I think all three of them have the ability to play rb in the pros althought hester is most likely to get a shot. I think he has a mid 4.5 forty in him and at his size that is sufficient to get a chance. Hillis and schmitt are both bigger which makes it easier to put them at fullback, but they are both probably more athletic. Hillis is athletic enough that he has acted as arkansas punt returner at times, which for a 240 pounder is damn impressive and I have read that schmitt has been timed under 4.6 which is also damn impressive for a 260 pounder..he could be like a jerome bettis or brandon jacobs in the pros.
Well after watching Hester's performance today against Florida, I have no lingering doubts about whether he can play at the next level. There was one draw play in particular in the 4th quarter where I got to see his burst. Announcers claimed he runs a 4.5 and benches 400-something lbs. I think he needs to pull a Brian Leonard and drop like 8-10 lbs. and insist that he'd make a better tailback at the next level.
How similar is this situation to the Brian Leonard one?
IMO, not much. Hester is splitting carries and doing a lot of the dirty, harder running, with Keiland benefitting from his work. He may line-up as the fullback sometimes but he gets his share of touches as tailback. Leonard got some, but I don't think anywhere near the relative quantity that Hester is getting.