NFL draft running backs

THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVERApril 26, 2011 

Player

College

Ht.

Wt.

Proj. Rd.

Comment

1. Mark Ingram

Alabama

5-9

215

1

2009 Heisman winner overcame injuries last season.

2. Mikel Leshoure

Illinois

6-0

227

1-2

Broke Illini's single-season rushing record with 1,697 yards in '10.

3. Ryan Williams

Virginia Tech

5-9

212

2

Hampered by hamstring injury last season; coming out after sophomore season.

4. Daniel Thomas

Kansas State

6-0

230

2-3

Another guy with hamstring problems, but had 19 TDs last season, tops in Big 12.

5. Kendall Hunter

Oklahoma State

5-7

199

2-3

Had 4,181 career rushing yards; small RB in Darren Sproles mold.

6. Taiwan Jones

E. Washington

6-0

196

3

Top FCS prospect averaged 145.2 yards rushing last season before breaking his foot in playoffs.

7. Shane Vereen

California

5-10

210

3

Averaged 114.7 all-purpose yards and is a threat catching passes.

8. DeMarco Murray

Oklahoma

6-0

213

3

Had school-record 6,626 total yards, which is saying a lot considering who has come through Sooners program.

9. Jordan Todman

Connecticut

5-10

203

3

Last season's Big East offensive player of the year had 3,179 career yards.

10. Jacquizz Rodgers

Oregon State

5-6

196

4

Rushed for 3,877 career yards, second in Beavers history, but he will have to overcome size issues.

Panthers perspective

Carolina, of course, is loaded at this position - unless DeAngelo Williams leaves via free agency. Still, Carolina has depth with Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson, who showed flashes of promise last season. Having three talented players at this position might give Carolina some trade flexibility, too.

Connections

Jamie Harper led Clemson with 760 yards in 2010 and comes out after his junior season. ... North Carolina's Shaun Draughn could be a late-round pick, coming off an MVP performance (160 yards) for the Tar Heels in the Music City Bowl.

Sleeper

Louisiana State's Stevan Ridley isn't flashy but can get the tough inside yards. He ran for 1,147 yards and 15 TDs last season.

Worth noting

This is a strikingly thin draft for running backs. Ingram is the only sure-fire first-rounder, and after LeShoure and Williams, another might not go until the third round.

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