February 26, 2012
NFL Combine 2012 Results: Running Backs Who Boosted Their Draft Stock
The 40-yard dash time can be very telling for running backs, so running a good one can go a long ways towards improving your stock.
Fast running backs need to come in and prove themselves, while the bigger bruising backs can make themselves very valuable by running good times.
There is nothing more valuable in the NFL than a running back that is big, but is also very fast.
Let’s breakdown what these three players did for themselves at the Combine:
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
Lamar Miller may have solidified himself as the second best running back in the 2012 NFL draft with his showing at the Combine—clocking an official 4.40 time in the 40-yard dash, but notching an unofficial 4.38 in the process.
Coming into the Combine I wasn’t sure if he was a first-round guy, and it really depended on the team needs in the middle of the round.
Miller is a quick back that hits the hole and goes straight for the end zone. He showed a great burst in Miami and the ability to bust through the second level before the defense could collapse on it.
I wouldn’t consider him to be a shifty back, but he runs very strong and with his pads in front of him.
He can also be an impact in the special teams game.
He displayed some very good quickness, and considering he’s 5’11”, 212 pounds, he’s now the second best running back on my board.
Chris Polk, RB, Washington
Polk has the potential to be a very good NFL back, and if it weren’t for Miller looking so quick I would have ranked Polk No. 2 behind Trent Richardson.
What I like about Polk is that he’s a downhill runner that hits the hole hard and keeps his feet moving and momentum going forward.
He’s a traditional bowling bowl back that kind of reminds me of Falcons’ running back Michael Turner.
He came into the combine looking slim and very athletic, and then backed that up by running an official 4.57, unofficial 4.46 as his lowest time.
Many people see Polk as a second-round pick, but I think he worked himself up into the late first at the combine.
LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
James was the talk of Sunday afternoon with his lightning quick 40-time—running an unofficial 4.37.
Sub 4.4 would be considered elite speed in the NFL, and that’s exactly what James needed to get his name rising up draft boards.
There have been questions about his size and durability coming into the NFL, but with a time like this he could become quite a commodity.
I project James as a very dangerous third down back, that can burn teams off the edge or in the passing game, and he should be able play a big role in special teams.
Many have him as a questionable second- to third-round pick, but after the Combine there is no question that he can be a Round 2 prospect in the right system.
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