Running Backs by Round

There are some of us that believe that the signing of LD is a signal that Leon's departure is imminent.  If Leon is traded or signed by another team, we will need to address our running back situation.  Luckily, this year's draft class is loaded with talent.  Here are my suggestions for who we should target in each round. 

Round 1: 

  • Ryan Matthews, Fresno State-- 6'0", approx 220, 4.4.  Hands down the best back in the draft.  Excellent vision, speed, power and balance.  Runs with aggression but can also make you miss.  Very difficult to get a clean shot on and very difficult to take down.  Has a one-cut style where he plants and bursts through an opening.  He reminds me a lot of Tomlinson, except he's bigger and faster and less averse to contact.  He has true potential for greatness.  Although I'm not a proponent for trading up in this draft, in his case I make an exception.  He's the real deal.

Round 2:

  • Toby Gerhart, Stanford -- 6'1", 235, 4.5.  If ever there was a perfect match as far running style and scheme, its this man and this team.  He's a big, punishing back with excellent patience and vision.  He also has surprising agility and deceptive speed.  Partnered up with Greene and behind our zone-blocking scheme, our backfield could become the most feared in all of football.
  • Ben Tate, Auburn -- 5'11", 220, 4.43, 26 reps on the bench press.  An explosive and powerful runner.  4th all-time leading rusher at Auburn, which is no small feat considering the company he's in (Bo Jackson, Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown Stephen Davis, etc.).  He has the power to run between the tackles and the speed to bounce it outside and take it to the house.  He doesn't seek contact but he doesn't shy away from it either.  He's supremely confident and isn't shy about telling you good he is.  Nothing wrong with displaying a little swag on the Jets.  He'd fit right in with us.

Round 4:

  • LeGarrette Blount, Oregon -- 6'0", 240, 4.5.  Phenomenal talent who will slip because of misperceptions about his character (i.e. the infamous punch). If he slips this far, its an absolute steal.  He's a monster when he runs with the football.  A big man who's incredibly athletic and agile.  He has the ability to elude tacklers who take poor angles but he's not affraid to square up punish you if you get in his way.  He will be fresh due to being suspended for most of the year, as well as his carries being limited in the style of offense run in Oregon.  He was stuck in a spread offense while in college and I can only salivate at the prospect of pairing him up with a blocking TE, a FB, and a zone-blocking scheme.  He would thrive in our offense.,
  • Anthony Dixon, Mississippi State-- 6'1", 235, 4.6.  Much like Blount he's an excellent blend of power, speed and agility.  Also like Blount, he was stuck in a shot-gun styled offense and got most of his carries on draw-type plays.  4 year starter and led the SEC in rushing last season.  Big, strong, tough kid.  Runs with aggression and is unaffraid of contact.

Round 5:

  • Joique Bell, Wayne State.  6'1", 220, 4.6.  As a senior, was named the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (Division 2) player of the year after leading the nation in rushing (189.4 ypg), scoring (17.5 ppg) and all-purpose yards (217.5 ypg). Bell became fourth Division II player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season, finishing with 2,084...caught 23 passes for 293 yards and 3 TDs.  This guy has it all: vision, balance, strength, elusiveness, power speed, hands, and a rare tenacity that I've seen in very few backs.  Yes he's that good.  Scary good.  He has the potential to be great. 


I don't have selections for rounds 6-7 because I don't think its worth it to wait that long. 

I obviously prefer big backs.  But everybody is different.  I was man-crushing on Gerhart for a long time, but I think I'm now on the Matthews bandwagon.  I've been looking at him closer since more and more mocks have him in our range with the 29th pick.  I also find it ironic that we acquired LD, whom he's strikingly similar to (thank you nrmax88 for putting me onto this).  Can't lose with Matthews.

What do you guys think?  Should we target a RB in the draft if Leon moves on?  If so, who and when?

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