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Caulibflower 11-01-2012 02:11 PM

2012 Running Backs General Discussion
 
Seems like teams pick running backs based more to add a specific element to their offense than merely because they lack a bellcow, so evaluating prospects is a little different. Players who might've been more highly valued 5 or 10 years ago because they could handle a large workload are less valuable than a more gimmicky player, because a workhorse back who gets it 10 yards a game is probably only getting you 40 yards. You're hoping the gimmicky back can get you those 40 on 5 touches. I don't mean "gimmicky" in a derogatory way.

But my thought is that evaluating running backs isn't comparing one to another and asking which is a better "starting running back," because unless you're really elite that position is going on extinct. Anymore it's just a question of what a player offers, and then projecting which skills are going to be viable assets in the NFL.

I haven't been watching or following Texas A&M this year, but I watched quite a lot of them last year evaluating Tannehill and so I've seen a lot of Christine Michael. At this point he's probably the no. 1 senior running back for me, but not following the program, I don't really know why he's not producing so much this year. I think I heard something about a suspension towards the beginning of the season? Anyways, here's him having a (mostly) great game against Arkansas last year:




Senior, but relatively low mileage for a player who's started since he was a freshman with around 500 career carries. Listed at 5'11" 220.

Has the acceleration to run away from defenders. Has real suddenness about him. Doesn't make you want to call him a power runner, but runs with physicality. Shows a variety of elusive moves, regularly employing successful spins, stiffarms and showing the ability to break direct tackles. He tries to use every button on the controller, but he doesn't dance; he picks one and goes with it. His spin is pretty deadly because he sets it up like he's going to try and run you over, usually making contact, then immediately whips his momentum around, plants his foot and heads to open field.

Terrific balance, can regain it by sticking a hand on the ground and then rapidly accelerating again once reoriented. Looks like he could be valuable in the screen game.

Due to his running style, sometimes the ball is exposed. Will need to be more situationally aware and always carry it high and tight against his body running through traffic. Has a tendency to bring it away from his chest as his arms naturally want to pump when he runs. Runs with a little bit of abandon, which I think you want in a running back, but needs to work on the way he carries the ball.

Reminds me of what I liked about Doug Martin last year, although I'd say Christine Michael is a sleeker, faster version. Little more DeMarco Murray in him. Doug Martin seemed more well-rounded to me. I didn't see a lot of pass-blocking in Michael's game. I put him in the same range as I had Martin last year: Late 1st-2nd.

princefielder28 11-01-2012 02:22 PM

A sleeper prospect that I really like at the position is Dennis Johnson of Arkansas. He's battled injuries a bit throughout his time in college, but when he's been on the field he's proven to be a productive back. One of those running backs who's more compact, so he runs with a low center of gravity with good burst and he's physical. He can also be an asset as a receiver out of the backfield.

MassNole 11-01-2012 02:23 PM

This is easily the worst year for RB's I can remember.

Caulibflower 11-01-2012 02:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MassNole (Post 3169943)
This is easily the worst year for RB's I can remember.

It really does seem that way. Part of the reason I made this a general thread and not a Christine Michael thread. I feel like he might be the best back this year, but I couldn't imagine the thread going over a couple of pages. There just aren't any real big names.

Caulibflower 11-01-2012 02:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by princefielder28 (Post 3169940)
A sleeper prospect that I really like at the position is Dennis Johnson of Arkansas. He's battled injuries a bit throughout his time in college, but when he's been on the field he's proven to be a productive back. One of those running backs who's more compact, so he runs with a low center of gravity with good burst and he's physical. He can also be an asset as a receiver out of the backfield.

I'm right with you on this one. Against SECZZZZZZZ:


TACKLE 11-01-2012 02:42 PM

To the OP, I liked Michael a lot coming into the year but he's been the 2nd or 3rd best back on A&M this year. He's been a big disappointment this year.

MassNole 11-01-2012 02:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Caulibflower (Post 3169954)
It really does seem that way. Part of the reason I made this a general thread and not a Christine Michael thread. I feel like he might be the best back this year, but I couldn't imagine the thread going over a couple of pages. There just aren't any real big names.

I started a thread for Giovani Bernard, whom I would give number one to right now (who himself as missed a season to injury and 2 games this year). If he could have stayed healthy, it was easily Marcus Lattimore. Chris Thompson was well on his way up the charts before he tore his ACL (after missing most of 2011 with a broken back). Barner from Oregon is intriguing as well.

Sometime will obviously take one before Round 3, but the value just isn't there with anyone this year.

MassNole 11-01-2012 02:46 PM

I know I'll be called a homer for this, but looking at this crop of RBs, the RB with the most value right now could very well be Lonnie Pryor of Florida State. You get a kid who can play both RB or FB (he has become a vastly improved runner), he catches the ball well out of the backfield and bring many off the field intangibles.

Note I said the most value, not necessarily the best. But it can't be denied he brings a lot to the table and has a very unique skill set in a very, very down year for RBs.

CashmoneyDrew 11-01-2012 04:39 PM

I'm a big Stepfan Taylor fan, personally. He's not going to win the combine, but I think he'll produce at the next level. I wouldn't be surprised to see Indy grab him somewhere in the middle rounds.

rawdawg 11-01-2012 09:00 PM

The best senior RB is almost an oxymoron. Typically star RBs don't ever become college seniors. Andre Ellington is probably #1 senior for me right now. He runs well at the combine, and he can potentially be the first back off the board. But no way is he a 1st rounder.

My favorite draft eligible RB is Joseph Randle at this point. He's a 3-down back that can run between the tackles (though he hasn't done much of that and isn't huge), can get the edge, take it to the house, but most importantly, he can stay on the field in passing downs and catch out of the backfield or pickup the blitz.

I've heard him compared to a bigger Jamaal Charles/Reggie Bush, and he is that type of quick runner, but I think he's the most ready 3-down RB since Matt Forte came out 4-5 years ago. I think he gets picked in the same range as Forte (mid-to-late 2nd) and is a potential day 1 starter for someone.

SolidGold 11-01-2012 09:18 PM

I really like Stepfan Taylor - I think he is a very solid back. He always stood out to me when watching Luck last year and this season he is the Cardinals workhorse running back.

I think Burkhead is pretty underrated too. He is a do everything RB- he can catch/run - reminds me of Ryan Matthews. It stinks he has been injured this season. I'd put a 2nd round grade on him.

RCAChainGang 11-01-2012 10:06 PM

Christine Michael reminds me of MJD.

Caulibflower 11-01-2012 10:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RCAChainGang (Post 3170462)
Christine Michael reminds me of MJD.

At first I was like, "Whaaaat?"

but I kind of know what you mean.

derza222 11-01-2012 10:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rawdawg (Post 3170359)
The best senior RB is almost an oxymoron. Typically star RBs don't ever become college seniors. Andre Ellington is probably #1 senior for me right now. He runs well at the combine, and he can potentially be the first back off the board. But no way is he a 1st rounder.

My favorite draft eligible RB is Joseph Randle at this point. He's a 3-down back that can run between the tackles (though he hasn't done much of that and isn't huge), can get the edge, take it to the house, but most importantly, he can stay on the field in passing downs and catch out of the backfield or pickup the blitz.

I've heard him compared to a bigger Jamaal Charles/Reggie Bush, and he is that type of quick runner, but I think he's the most ready 3-down RB since Matt Forte came out 4-5 years ago. I think he gets picked in the same range as Forte (mid-to-late 2nd) and is a potential day 1 starter for someone.

I really like Randle based on the way most NFL teams run their offenses and agree he's my favorite draft eligible RB, and agree with a lot of what you have there. Definitely can hit the home run which is key, because in pass first offenses where backs don't get a lot of carries they need to take advantage of what they can do. Same for teams that like to mix in multiple backs.

But a huge part of the appeal to me is the rest of what you said. He looks really comfortable picking up the blitz and catching the ball out of the backfield. Think he's potentially a really nice player, at the very least an explosive portion of a backfield that uses multiple guys and a guy who will be able to play on third downs.

Caulibflower 11-02-2012 12:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rawdawg (Post 3170359)
The best senior RB is almost an oxymoron. Typically star RBs don't ever become college seniors/

IIIIIIIII don't know about that.

I basically called Michaels a second round pick. 1st round is the ceiling I see for him at this point, if he finishes the season on a good note and performs well at the combine. Seems like the kind of guy who could come in and blow it up. But he's probably, to me, going to look like a second rounder because I still like running backs and his skillset appeals to me. So that said, NFL backs who stayed through their senior years (In no particular order, simply as I remember them):

Ronnie Brown
Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis
CJ Spiller
Arian Foster
Matt Forte
DeAngelo Williams
Alfred Morris
Darren Sproles

In other words, regardless of where you think Michaels' draft stock is, your claim that "best senior running back" is an oxymoron is itself absurd. Or at least hyperbole.

rawdawg 11-02-2012 08:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Caulibflower (Post 3170595)
IIIIIIIII don't know about that.

I basically called Michaels a second round pick. 1st round is the ceiling I see for him at this point, if he finishes the season on a good note and performs well at the combine. Seems like the kind of guy who could come in and blow it up. But he's probably, to me, going to look like a second rounder because I still like running backs and his skillset appeals to me. So that said, NFL backs who stayed through their senior years (In no particular order, simply as I remember them):

Ronnie Brown
Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis
CJ Spiller
Arian Foster
Matt Forte
DeAngelo Williams
Alfred Morris
Darren Sproles

In other words, regardless of where you think Michaels' draft stock is, your claim that "best senior running back" is an oxymoron is itself absurd. Or at least hyperbole.

Foster was undrafted
Green Ellis was undrafted
Morris was a 6th round pick
Sproles was a 4th round pick
Forte and Williams went to Tulane and Memphis respectively and were only seniors because they were unproven against top competition to come out as Juniors.

The point was. Senior RBs rarely are the first at their position off the board. Being the top SR RB typically isn't anything to write home about. Only Spiller and Brown apply (on your list) as senior RBs who were also at the top of their draft class at their positions.

Oh and Christine Michael would be lucky to go on the 2nd day at this point. He's not even the leading rusher for his team (3rd actually, 2nd RB), still sharing too many carries, which isn't that bad except for the fact that he has never carried anything close to the full load at RB, yet still has durability issues with a broken leg and ACL injury in his college career. Not doubting that he could be a really good NFL back, but there's almost no chance on Earth he goes in the 1st round, and he's a longshot for the 2nd day, at this point. Finishing the season on a high note is also looking bleak with Miss St and Bama next on the schedule, and a possible bowl game vs. a good defensive team.

SchizophrenicBatman 11-02-2012 09:47 PM

Bernard is the best draft eligible back

Injury prone, though

TACKLE 11-04-2012 01:09 AM

Welcome back Ray Graham. We missed you.

Caulibflower 11-04-2012 01:23 AM

Anyone know what Michael Dyer's planning to do?

phlysac 11-04-2012 09:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TACKLE (Post 3172338)
Welcome back Ray Graham. We missed you.

You can see he's starting to feel healthy again. Tough to end your college career recovering from injury on a bad team splitting carries (with Rushel Shell) but he should make an impact on Sundays.

Bob Sanders Dreadlock 11-04-2012 11:08 AM

Kenjon Barner?

Babylon 11-04-2012 11:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Sanders Dreadlock (Post 3172487)
Kenjon Barner?

A burner but has some power to run inside too. The NFL unlike college is not a place to make a living running wide but Barner is going to make a living moving the chains at the next level. He made USC's perimiter defense look slower than slow.

Caulibflower 11-04-2012 12:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Sanders Dreadlock (Post 3172487)
Kenjon Barner?

I just opened this thread again to talk about Barner. Is it ok if I like him better than I liked LaMichael James? He's much more decisive and physical. Might not sound like it's a big deal for a <200# RB to be physical, but Kenjon does a way better job of falling forward and getting his shoulders squared going through trash than James did.

Armchair Scout 11-04-2012 05:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Caulibflower (Post 3172625)
I just opened this thread again to talk about Barner. Is it ok if I like him better than I liked LaMichael James? He's much more decisive and physical. Might not sound like it's a big deal for a <200# RB to be physical, but Kenjon does a way better job of falling forward and getting his shoulders squared going through trash than James did.

I must say I disagree that Barner is better than LaMichael James. I do agree with you that Barner does a better job taking what he is given than James, but James was much more difficult to tackle and was even more elusive. James had/has much better leg drive and bounced off tacklers much more than Barner does. James also was more difficult to tackle in the open field and cut even quicker than Barner.

Barner does a better job getting north-south than James did and he has looked really good this year, better than he did last year, but I don't think he is quite as dynamic as James was.

Menardo75 11-04-2012 09:10 PM

Really think Silas Redd will be a stud if he goes to the right system.


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