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NFL Combine: Scouting the Running Backs

Posted Feb 23, 2014

An in-depth analysis of the running backs who worked out at the NFL Scouting Combine.


Ricky Henne’s Take: If you’re into speed, then Kent State’s Dri Archer put on quite a show for you to close out what is always the longest day here at Lucas Oil Stadium.  The 5-8 Archer was the only running back to post a sub 4.40 40-yard dash, and he blew it away with a 4.26.  That is tied for the second fastest time since 2003, just shy of Chris Johnson’s famous 4.24.  It wasn’t just his blazing speed in the 40 that impressed, though, as he looked great during drills as well.  Unfortunately, Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde had a rough day as he pulled up lame following his first 40-yard dash with a hamstring injury.  As a result, he didn’t partake in the vast majority of the workout, which is a shame, but he still has a bright future in the NFL.  I enjoyed watching Jeremy Hill in action as I feel the LSU star has the talent to be a punishing force.  In fact, his 6.9 yards-per-carry average set a new SEC record, but he has had some character issues so how he performs during the interview process will be extremely important.  One player I wasn’t familiar with heading into the day was Jerick McKinnon, but he did make an impression on me.  Apparently he split his time last season at Georgia Southern between playing quarterback and running back, and on Sunday he showed some elite athleticism. McKinnon finished first in the bench press (32, which is six more than the next closest RB), second in the 40-yard dash (4.41), second in the vertical jump (40.5 inches) and second in the broad jump (132.0 inches). He’s definitely one prospect who made the most of his opportunity at this year’s Combine.

Jordan Beane’s Take: When it comes to your fantasy football draft, a productive running back is guaranteed to be off the board early. When it comes to the real draft, it looks like a running back may not be taken in the first round for the second time in a row. Still, there were some nice performances here at Lucas Oil Stadium. I’ll start with a name that few people had on their radar before today – Kent State’s Dri Archer. His forty time of 4.26 is the fastest official time for a back since the Titan’s Chris Johnson ran a 4.24 in 2008. Archer had a huge 2012 with 1,429 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns, but battled injuries in 2013. His forty time combined with how smooth he looked in drills will certainly get his name circulating over the next few weeks. Another speedster and potential late round pick is Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas, who ran an official 4.50 but looked quicker in person. Not sure where he’ll end up in terms of a position in the NFL but there’s always a place for someone with speed. Finally, a local kid that made a nice impression in Indy was Tyler Gaffney. The Cathedral product and former Stanford Cardinal ran the 10th fastest forty time and despite his 6-1 frame, looked a lot smoother in drills getting around the cones than some of his shorter fellow running backs. He could be a nice late round pickup.  On the other hand you have to feel for Carlos Hyde, one of the highest rated running backs coming into the Combine. The Ohio State product pulled up in the 40, prematurely ending his time on the field.


TOP PHOTOS OF THE RUNNING BACK PROSPECTS WORKING OUT

HEAR DIRECTLY FROM SOME OF THE TOP RUNNING BACK PROSPECTS

TOP FIVE PERFORMANCES

40-Yard Dash

1. Dri Archer, Kent St. – 4.26
2. Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern – 4.41
3. Henry Josey, Missouri – 4.43
4. Damien Williams, Oklahoma – 4.45
5. LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi St. – 4.46

Bench Press

1. Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern – 32
2. Bishop Sankey, Washington –26
3. Kapri Bibbs, Colorado St. – 24
T-4. J.C. Copeland, LSU – 23
T-4. Isaiah Crowell, Alabama St. – 23
T-4. LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi St. - 23
T-4. James White, Wisconsin - 23

Vertical Jump

1. Lache Seastrunk, UNC – 41.5 inches
2. Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern – 40.5 inches
3. Tre Mason, Auburn – 38.5 inches
T-4.Dri Archer, Kent St. – 38.0 inches
T-4.George Atkinson, Notre Dame – 38.0 inches
T-4. Isaiah Crowell, Alabama St. - 38.0 inches
T-4. Andre Williams, Boston College - 38.0 inches

Broad Jump

1. Lache Seastrunk, UNC – 134.0 inches
2. Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern – 132.0 inches
3. Andre Williams, Boston College – 129.0 inches
T-4. Tre Mason, Auburn – 126.0 inches
T-4. Bishop Sankey, Washington – 126.0 inches
T-4. Charles Sims, West Virginia - 126.0 inches

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