Jan 9, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson (3) holds the BCS National Championship Trophy after his team defeated the LSU Tigers 21-0 at the Louisiana Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE

The Marcus 2012 NFL Big Board: Top 7 Running Backs

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In the second installment of the 2012 Marcus Big Board, I take a look at the top seven running backs heading into the 2012 NFL draft.

Similar to most big boards and just about everyone else who has an opinion would rank Alabama running back Trent Richardson as the number one overall back.

After Richardson, the rest is a toss-up. Rounds 3-7 may end up producing some long-term talented backs.

Combined the fact that RB’s in today’s NFL are no longer as valuable and they come and go like jockstraps, we may see some guys make teams in September after not hearing their name called at all in April during the NFL Draft.

Fullbacks are included. Not many, but the ones who may impact the draft or the NFL will make the top 7 list.

 

1.) Trent Richardson   5’10”    224 LBS    ALABAMA    4.58 40 YD DASH        

Trent Richardson is a physical specimen with great power and burst for his size. Overall, he is also a Top 5 prospect and the number 1 running back coming into the 2012 Draft, despite not participating in the NFL combine. Some scouts and NFL GM’s may or may not hold that against him, either way he should be a franchise pick early in the First Round.

If you watch Richardson on tape playing football or interviewing in a t-shirt in the Alabama weight room, you see he is a hard working, one of a kind athlete in every way. Mike Mayock says he is the best back coming out of college since “all-day” Adrian Peterson. Im not too sure about that, but Richardson will get alot of touches his Rookie season like AP in the NFL come 2012 wherever he lands. His maturity and work ethic should keep him ahead of other underachieving backs. Day One Richardson will be contributing. We all remember his Ole Miss run that was spectacular alone, but, I must also point out he had 183 yards and 4 TD’s, on only 17 attempts through just 3 quarters in that same game.

The only negative may be his average hands catching the ball out of the backfield.

 

2.) David Wilson   5’10”    206 LBS   VIRGINIA TECH     4.49  40-YD DASH     41.0 VERTICAL JUMP 

Wilson left after a very successful Junior season producing in the Hokie backfield. His track star speed and insane athletic ability will make him a must see player if he lands in the right spot. Some have him ranked lower than me but his overall speed and play making ability every time he touches the ball makes him a no brainer at 2. He also has his own style of running the ball that could prove positive and make him one of a kind. Or, though doubtful,  if he is not committed, we may never see that type of David Wilson in the NFL. My bet would be he makes the transition very smooth.

 

3.) Doug Martin   5’9″    223 LBS   BOISE STATE     4.55  40-YD DASH    6.79  THREE CONE DRILL 

Martin reminds me alot of Ray Rice coming out of Rutgers. Alot questioned his size and his production in an overall smaller conference and weaker competition. To me, no matter the conference, three straight seasons of 12 plus rushing touchdowns in an offense with Kellen Moore is pretty good.

Either way Martin is very athletic and has better speed than many anticipated he would. Combine that with his production in a high-octane offense consistently for three seasons I see him being an every down back. Similar to Rice in another aspect, he most likely will be contributing and possibly starting on a NFL roster.

 

4.) LaMichael James   5’8″    194 LBS   OREGON    4.45  40-YD DASH    123 INCH BROAD JUMP  

LaMichael’s accomplishments throughout his college career are hard to ignore. He left Chip Kelly’s offense with 771 rushing attempts, 5,082 rushing yards, and 58 total touchdowns.

Only weakness may be his pass protection at the next level but that doesn’t mean he won’t work at it. His quickness and decisiveness will make him a playmaker on an offense designed to get him the ball in space. Lookout if he lands on an already explosive offense with a QB who can get him the ball wherever, whenever!

 

5.) Lamar Miller   5’11”   212 LBS   MIAMI (FL)    4.40  40-YD DASH   33.0 INCH VERTICAL JUMP 

Miller is another early entry prospect with Track speed. He put together a solid Sophomore campaign at The U and has all the ability and tools to be a late First Round pick.

But to me he left a little too early(Only one solid year of production in 2011). His speed and impressive quickness out of the backfield will land him an opportunity though, somewhere in the NFL.

 

6.) Chris Polk   5’11”   215 LBS   WASHINGTON   4.57  40-YD DASH   111.0 INCH BROAD JUMP  

Lately Polk has started to open more and more eyes. He put up solid numbers in three straight seasons as a Huskie with over 220 attempts and 1100 plus yards in all three. His size and sneaky speed make him a perfect fit for a ground and pound offense. Polk could legitimately be a three down back as well.

 

(2 TIED AT 7)  

 

7.) Bradie Ewing  6’0″  239 LBS  FULLBACK       WISCONSIN     4.76  40-YD DASH    36.5 INCH VERTICAL JUMP 

Ewing will be drafted by a team that has a specific spot to fill at the fullback position. Being part of that Badger offense that pounds the ball down their opponents throat, Ewing is more than prepared to come in and contribute as a full-time lead blocker. Ewing is one of very few Draft Pick worthy FB’s in 2012. ( Rhett Ellison USC FB may also hear his name called)

7.) Ronnie Hillman 5’9″  200 LBS    SAN DIEGO STATE       4.45  40-YD DASH   37.0 INCH VERTICAL JUMP 

Hillman has great vision combined with tremendous speed. The combination of the two made him very productive as an Freshman starting for the Aztecs. He started every game in the last two seasons while producing 38 touchdowns from scrimmage.

 

*The number of names who could be “Sleepers” is endless. To stress my point of the Running Back position no longer having much value in the Modern Day NFL, we may hear and see several more names not mentioned here. They may fill spots vacated by older veteran running backs now past their prime.

Well, at least they are in the eyes of most NFL GM’s who keep cutting them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tags: 2012 NFL Draft Bradie Ewing Carolina Panthers Chris Polk David Wilson Doug Martin Lamar Miller LaMichael James Ronnie Hillman Trent Richardson

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