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2011 NFL Draft Predictions – Running Back Rankings

2011 NFL Draft Coverage – RB Preview

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The NFL draft moves to primetime for the second time in 2011. The first round will be in PRIMETIME, and is scheduled to take place Thursday, April 28, 2011; the second and third rounds on Friday, April 29; and the final four rounds on Saturday, April 30, 2011.

The Panthers with the worst record for 2010 have the right to the 1st pick in 2011. Note: A provision in the current NFLPA-CBA ensures that this draft will still take place even with the current labor dispute.

Running Back Rankings

MARK INGRAM, Alabama
5”10, 215 lbs

Legendary Draftnik Mel Kiper called Ingram “the next Emmitt Smith” and the comparisons are pretty apt. Ingram is not the fastest back (like Smith) but he possesses superior balance, patience, vision and instincts – just like Emmitt did. In a position that often is left on a back burner in recent draft years (it’s not a sexy top grab like QB, WR, OT or DE) Ingram should be the first RB off the board. He should go first round.

MIKEL LeSHOURE, Illinois
6”0, 230 lbs

After Rashard Mendenhall a few seasons ago, Illinois is developing a reputation of pumping out backs with an NFL pedigree. LeShoure is a big back that brings power and speed to the table; he looked dominant in the games I watched him in this season. He might not be quite up to snuff with Mendenhall, but no one should hold that against him. LeShoure has an honest work ethic and the right attitude. He is a back ready to contribute in the pros and he could go late in the first round.

RYAN WILLIAMS, Virginia Tech
5”10, 206 lbs

As a redshirt sophomore, Williams left college as soon as he could, but he’s shown enough for the Hokies to entice NFL franchises. Tech has excellent RB depth and it took an injury to incumbent Darren Evans for Williams to show his stuff last season. What did he show? He’s competitive, he runs angry and he has terrific burst through the line of scrimmage. No hunting and pecking with this guy. Williams is also strong for a player his size. It’s close between LeShoure and Williams for who will be the second RB taken, because this ACC product has plenty to offer.

DANIEL THOMAS, Kansas State
6”2, 227 lbs

Thomas is huge and if he ran a fast 40-time, he would have the measurables that NFL scouts get hot and bothered over. I think he has a little too much Eddie George or Chris Brown in him, in that he is a large back that runs too upright; he will take a lot of licks in the pros and will earn his money by taking extensive punishment. Speed, power and vision are there, however.

Honorable Mention(s): JACQUIZZ RODGERS, Oregon State; JORDAN TODMAN, Connecticut; DeMARCO MURRAY, Oklahoma All three of these backs project as third-down backs in the NFL, for various reasons. They performed in college but they are all a cut below the top four.

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About James Hayes

James has been naming every player on the EA Sports video game rosters for half a decade now, he’s finally putting his knowledge to better use writing for us here at CappersPicks.com. Your comments are welcome below…Give Us Your Take!


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