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Top Five 2015 NFL Draft Prospects- Running Back
These guys will look to be the future work horses of NFL franchises. Today I rank the top five running back prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft.
1. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
Bio: After playing behind two other great Wisconsin running backs in Montee Ball and James White, Melvin Gordon became the teams starter in 2014. He became the fixture of the offense rushing for over 2,500 yards and scored 32 touchdowns. He also broke the college single game rushing record by running for 408 yards against Nebraska and was the runner up for the Heisman trophy.
Strengths: Well rounded skill set and has elite balance and acceleration. Goes full speed in a flash and bursts with the vision and patience to follow blocks and find holes to daylight and get to the second level and beyond. Has the natural balance to bounce off contact without losing momentum with a physical nature to break arm tackles. Has the ability lower his pads and keep his legs pumping to generate deceiving power.
Weaknesses: Not a great athlete. Needs to improve as a receiver out of the backfield. Not the ideal body type with high cut frame and only average bulk. Needs to bulk up and show more power in his runs when met at the line by defenders.
Projected Round: 1
2. Todd Gurley, Georgia
Bio: In three years at Georgia, Todd Gurley was the workhorse of the offense rushing for over 3,200 yards and 36 touchdowns. He has been viewed as the best Bulldog running back since Herschel Walker.
Strengths: Built for the rigorous NFL game with a muscular, physical frame and naturally lowers his pads and squares his shoulders to attack the line of scrimmage and bounce off defenders. He runs with natural balance, power and momentum that makes him tough to slow down and was rarely brought down by the first tackler. Soft, natural hands out of the backfield and is a willing blocker in pass protection.
Weaknesses: Taller than the ideal back of his build. Plagued by injuries in his final season including ankle and an ACL tear that ended his season. Durability may be an issue in the future due to these injuries. He was also suspended four games in 2014 for violating NCAA rules.
Projected Round: 1-2
3. Tevin Coleman, Indiana
Bio: In his three years at Indiana, Tevin Coleman rushed for over 3,200 yards and 28 touchdowns including a school record 2,000 yard rushing season in 2014. He was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award in 2014.
Strengths: Has the balance and power to gash through defenses. His vision to find holes, body control to get skinny, and burst to accelerate downfield make him an every down back. Despite being on a bad Indiana team and defenses game planning around him, Coleman was able to put up big rushing stats each week.
Weaknesses: Didn't play against the strongest run defenses in the Big Ten. Needs to be prove he is a decent receiver out of the backfield. Was rarely asked to run receiving routes in Indiana's one trick pony offense. Needs to show power when coming through the line. Also unproven as a pass blocker.
Projected Round: 2
4. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
Bio: In four years at Nebraska, Ameer Abdullah rushed for over 4,500 yards and 46 total touchdowns. At the 2014 Senior Bowl, he rushed for over 70 yards on seven carries and was named the player of the game.
Strengths: A lot tougher than he looks and lowers his pads at the point of attack. Accelerates quickly and runs with a purpose, controlling his momentum well to make sharp cuts and elude tacklers in the open field. Quick decision maker and has natural ball carrier instincts and an excellent sense of his surroundings to force poor angles with his multiple gears. Reliable hands out of the backfield and gives up his body in pass protection.
Weaknesses: Less than ideal body build in all aspects. Has issues with ball security and is limited in pass protection due to his size. Needs to learn to sense where pressure is coming from.
Projected Round: 2
5. T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
Bio: In three years at Alabama, T.J. Yeldon rushed for over 3,300 yards and 37 touchdowns. He won a national championship as freshman and has been a two time All-SEC running back.
Strengths: Taller and leaner build than most backs. Deceptively fast and agile. Has above average body control and burst to make effortless lateral cuts and leave defenders whiffing at air, displaying his impressive athleticism in space. Quick to the hole but has ideal vision for cutback lanes.
Weaknesses: Runs high and exposes the ball to defenders. Needs to work on pass protection. Too patient of a runner between the tackles. Has to wait for a hole to open in the line rather than improvising,
Projected Round: 2-3