2013 NFL Combine - The Running Backs
Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell
Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell
Posted Feb 21, 2013

Pre-Combine quick looks at the running backs invited to Indianapolis.

2013 NFL Pre-Combine

Top Ten RB Rankings

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- 2013 CFN Pre-Combine RB Rankings, No. 11 to 25 
1. Eddie Lacy, Alabama 6-2, 220 (Jr.) Proj. 1
Pre-Combine Analysis Positives: You want power? You want moves? You want a little bit of speed and burst? Lacy has the entire package with the ability and potential to be a No. 1 back to revolve an offense around. … Has the right build and the right size. He isn't afraid of contact and has a brilliant spin move – ask Notre Dame – to avoid big shots. … A fighter. Forget about getting him down without a clean tackle. … Good enough hands to turn into a factor in the passing game.

Negatives: Not necessarily the most instinctive runner. He's creative, but he's not great at reading the play. … Worked behind the best offensive line in college football. His stats weren't inflated, but he had plenty of clean alleys to run through. … Just an okay blocker for his size. Not a liability, but he's not going to blow up his man.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? Featured franchise back

2. Giovani Bernard, North Carolina 5-10, 205 (Soph.) Proj. 2
Pre-Combine Analysis Positives: Tremendously productive as both a runner and a returner. He'll have a long career as a part of a rotation, but he can handle the whole workload. He can do it all – run, catch, block and return … Tough. Played through pain and soreness from a repaired knee. Isn't afraid to handle the ball as much as possible. … Phenomenal instincts with terrific anticipation. Sees the hole and the opening well before it appears.

Negatives: His knee. Had to fight through a torn ACL and never appeared to play without a little bit of a hitch. He wasn't limited, but it's going to be a bit of a concern. … Not really a power back. He'll never shy away from contact, but he's not going to pop anyone. … Durability will be a problem. He'll take plenty of big hits and might not have a long shelf life if he's not a part of a rotation.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? A great all-around back who'll become a dangerous part of any offensive scheme.

3. Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State 6-2, 242 (Jr.) Proj. 3
Pre-Combine Analysis Positives: One of the best power backs in the draft with uncommon moves for a player of his size. He brings the thunder, but he can run around defenders, too. … Committed himself to his job. When the lead back role became his, he took the opportunity and ran with it, producing even though there wasn't a passing game to take the heat off. … Surprisingly, there should be plenty of tread left on the tires. He handled the ball over 400 times last year, but he showed early in his career that he could be a dangerous part of a rotation.

Negatives: He's going to take a beating. While he's elusive for his size, he's not going to wiggle around too many NFL defenders. … Doesn't use his bulk or his body well enough as a blocker. Threw a few killer, crushing blocks – basically saved the Boise State game with a block – but he's not consistent. … Good enough hands to be used as a receiver in college, but he's not going to be much of an NFL target. He's not a liability for a passing game, but he's not going to be a major positive.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? A good No. 1 back who'll thrive as part of a rotation.

4. Montee Ball, Wisconsin 5-11, 215 Proj. 2
Pre-Combine Analysis Positives: Ultra-productive at an all-time level. An elite of the elite goal line runner who has a natural ability to get across the line. … Tough as nails. Took huge shots time and again and suffered some on-field beatings, but he always kept rolling and producing. … Extremely quick and patient. Waits for the hole to open and then cuts and gets through it with a terrific burst. Elite balance; doesn't get knocked off his base with one shot.

Negatives: He'll have a potentially short shelf-life. With 924 career carries and 59 catches, the clock might be ticking on how many shots he'll be able to take. … Not a whole bunch of power. Sacrificed power for quickness after dropping weight. … The Wisconsin Curse. Ron Dayne, Michael Bennett, Brian Calhoun, P.J. Hill, John Clay – Badger backs never seem to be able to translate collegiate numbers into NFL success.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? A strong part of a rotation. A potential starter who could find a niche as a closer in the red zone.

5. Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State 6-0, 200 (Jr.) Proj. 2
Pre-Combine Analysis Positives: Fantastic at making himself small around the goal line. Able to wiggle and slink his way though for scores. … Extremely quick and makes things happen. With a little bit of room he can turn a short gain into a big play in a hurry. … Nice receiving skills. With the right team he could become a devastating third down back – at worst – and he won't need to come off the field. He could turn into a quarterback's best friend.

Negatives: He's missing NFL power. He's tough enough to get through the interior, but he's never going to blow over anyone at the next level. … Not a blocker. He can't be counted on to make the key block in pass protection and needs to be used as a receiver on passing downs. … Missing workhorse back size. He'll need to be a part of a rotation.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? Productive starter.

6. Andre Ellington, Clemson 5-9, 190 Proj. 3
Pre-Combine Analysis Positives: Speed. He's a flashy back who could be a dangerous part of a rotation when given 10-to-15 carries a game. … Tough to knock off his base. Needs to be wrapped up and will bounce off of sloppy tacklers. Tough for his size. … Great third down potential. He only caught 14 passes last year, but he came up with 59 career grabs – he was underutilized as a target.

Negatives: Won't bring any power. He's tough, but he'll make his money outside the tackles and in the open field. … A good, athletic runner, but he's not special. The holes will need to be created for him. … Not a blocker. He's willing, but he doesn't have the size and has to do everything he can just to chip a defender.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? Rock-solid No. 2 back in a rotation. Possible kick returner and/or third down back.

7. Johnathan Franklin, UCLA 5-10, 200 Proj. 3
Pre-Combine Analysis Positives: Productive and tough. He fought through the lean times when the offense didn't do anything, and he thrived when he got a little bit of help. … Great at finding the hole with a quick cut to make a good gain a big one. Doesn't go down with just one hit. … Bounces off tacklers and can't be arm tackled.

Negatives: A good, sound back, but he doesn't have elite skills. He can produce in the NFL, but he might be just a guy. … No power. He's tough, but he's not going to bowl over anyone and he's not going to be a top blocker. … Fumbles. He got better at ball security, but it was a problem over the course of his career. He could go from being a promising back to a quick cut if he puts it on the turf a few times in the preseason.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? If he doesn't have to be The Guy, he can be a good starter.

8. Stepfan Taylor, Stanford 5-10, 215 Proj. 4
Pre-Combine Analysis Positives: Tough and powerful running bigger than his size. He's going to run up and through the middle and he'll get to the second level by making it happen. It might not be pretty, but he's effective. … Dependable. He was the Stanford running game in plenty of big games and showed he could produce when the lights were on. … Quick, he doesn't need much of a hole to get through in a hurry. He might not be a speed back, but in the NFL, getting four yards a crack on typical running plays is good enough.

Negatives: Not a home run hitter. He has the raw tools, but his game will be about grinding out runs. The top-end speed won't be there at the next level. … Workmanlike. He can be an effective runner, but he doesn't have special skills to be an elite back to carry a ground game. … A competent receiver, but not a dangerous one.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? He'll spend ten years as a cog in the system. He might never be anything amazing, but there's almost no bust potential.

9. Jawan Jamison, Rutgers 5-8, 200 (Soph.) Proj. 4
Pre-Combine Analysis Positives: Is he a Ray Rice clone? He's not the same talent, but he has the same size and pound-for-pound toughness. He could be just scratching the surface on what he can become. … Terrific hands. Like Rice, he doesn't put the ball on the ground. He can take a shot, bounce up, and come up with a good gain the next play. … Quick,quick, quick. One cut and boom – he doesn't need much room to come up with a good run.

Negatives: Small. He's built well, but he's short and doesn't have the frame to be much of a tough power back. He's willing, but he doesn't have the bulk. … Always a bit dinged up and his scoring production tailed off after suffering an ankle injury. His production and workload slowed down over the last part of the season. … Needs to be more of a patient runner. Needs to see a few more carries to be a bit more comfortable in using his blocks.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? He'll get a chance to grow into a No. 2 change-of-pace back. Could flourish as a third down, Darren Sproles-like producer.

10. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina 6-0, 232 (Jr.) Proj. 4
Pre-Combine Analysis Positives: The pure talent is undeniable. A good, smart runner who has speed, power and toughness – when healthy. … Great quickness and feet for a player of his size. Doesn't have to barrel over defenders, but he can. Terrific balance; doesn't get knocked off his base. … A workhorse of workhorses. Handled a man-sized workload from the start of his career and managed to produce big as games went on. He can carry an offense – again, when healthy.

Negatives: Injuries, injuries, injuries. He wasn't the same back after suffering his first major knee injury. While he was productive last season, he didn't have the same burst or quickness. He's going to have to prove he can be effective after suffering an even worse knee injury last year. … Not a speedster. While he could move fine, his game was about grinding defenses down. …

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? A great character player who would've been a top 15 overall pick if he didn't suffer two major knee injuries. He'll be fine, but he'll never be the special franchise back he could've been.

- 2013 CFN Pre-Combine RB Rankings, No. 11 to 25