October 17, 2017, 10:16:49 AM

Author Topic: A Scoutís Take on the Running Back Class in the 2017 NFL Draft  (Read 1209 times)

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Offline Bob Fox

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A Scoutís Take on the Running Back Class in the 2017 NFL Draft

By Bob Fox



With the exodus of Eddie Lacy to the Seattle Seahawks earlier this week via free agency, the Green Bay Packers find themselves in a bit of quandary regarding their running back situation.

Right now, the Packers only have Ty Montgomery as a sure thing at running back. And that is just a year after taking on that position full-time after being a wide receiver his first year with the Packers.

The Packers can also re-sign unrestricted free agent Christine Michael, who the Packers brought on last season after he was released by the Seahawks. Other than that, the Packers also tendered an offer to exclusive rights free agent Don Jackson, who received a handful of plays last season with the Packers when injuries hit the running back position hard.

Plus, there are still a number of veteran running backs available via free agency. The list includes Adrian Peterson, LeGarrette Blount and Jamaal Charles.

Fortunately for the Packers and any team in need of help at running back this year, the 2017 NFL draft is extremely deep and talented this year at that position.

With that in mind, I wanted to get the opinion of NFL scout Chris Landry on this group of prospects. I once again was able to speak to Landry on 620 WDAEís Steve Duemig Show earlier this week, which was guest-hosted by Pat Donovan and Aaron Jacobson.

I first asked Landry to talk about what I believed to be great depth in the running back class in this yearís draft and I mentioned Marlon Mack of South Florida.

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ďI have Marlon as a high third-round pick,Ē Landry said. ďIn the upper-tier third round. I think he, Kareem Hunt of Toledo and the kid from North Carolina State, Matthew Dayes, are all high third-round values.

ďYou could get what I think would be fourth-round value with guys like Samaje Perine of Oklahoma, Jamaal Williams of BYU, Wayne Gallman of Clemson, all juniors. Youíre right, there are guys like Brian Hill of Wyoming, who is an outstanding player. If you want a little back who is shifty, which is not what some people want, you have Donnel Pumphrey [San Diego State] is really good. Elijah McGuire of Louisiana Lafayette is a fifth or sixth-round value.

ďThere are good players in this draft. I absolutely like Marlon Mack. I think he would be great value at the top of the third round if you can get him there. Maybe even the late second round. Weíll see. I donít think there is a half dozen players at the running back position who are better than Marlon in this draft. One of them is Joe Mixon, and we know thatís going to be an ownership decision.

ďSo I think that there is absolutely an opportunity to get healthy at the running back position [in this draft]. And most people prefer the younger guys who donít have as much wear and tear on them.Ē

The Packers have a number of needs going into this draft. Mostly on the defensive side of the ball. Positions like cornerback, outside linebacker and inside linebacker. But what if one of the top three running backs were still on the board when they Packers had their selection at pick No. 29 in the first round.

Iím talking about Leonard Fournette of LSU, Dalvin Cook of Florida State and Christian McCaffrey of Stanford.

Would general manager Ted Thompson select one of them if that were the case? The answer is yes, if they were the highest-rated player on the Green Bay draft board.

I asked Landry to talk about the Big 3.

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ďThey all have the same grade, but all are different type of guys,Ē Landry said. ďFournette is the Adrian Peterson power guy. An impact carry back. Needs to have 25 touches or carries a game. Not as good catching the football.

ďLike Dalvin Cook, the more complete back. He can run, has more explosiveness and has more make-you-miss  skills than Leonard. Much more effective catching the football out of the backfield.



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ďChristian McCaffrey is the smaller satellite back. You can line him up in the backfield, the wing position or the slot position. If you put him in the receiving group, he might be as good as a receiver as there is in the draft. A great route-runner. Superb hands. Nice returner.

ďSo listen, itís really like going to a car lot. Do you want a sports car, a minivan, a SUV or a pickup truck? I mean, they are all good, but what do you want? All these guys to me are first-round talent. I think behind them is Alvin Kamara of Tennessee, who has really good explosiveness with size.

ďBut Iím going to tell you, that on the football field, Iím not so sure that Joe Mixon is not the best running back in this draft overall. ButÖfill in the blank on Joe Mixon. That is going to be a very tough decision. And Iím not advocating for him off the field. Iím just saying, football-wise, heís special.Ē

I had the Packers taking Mack in my second mock draft, but based on Landryís current grade on the former Bull, the Packers would most likely have to pull the trigger in the late-second round to bring in Mack, as opposed to waiting until the late-third round.

When I talked with Landry this week, I also brought up Joe Williams of Utah, who I had the Packers selecting in my first mock draft. Williams was a dynamo in the second half of the 2016 season for the Utes when he rushed for 1,110 yards and nine touchdowns (in six games).

In the the Foster Farms Bowl against Indiana, Williams rushed for 222 yards and another score, plus caught a pass for 56 more yards.

Then at the East-West Shrine Game practices he impressed Landry, who said this about Williams:

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ďUtah RB Joe Williams has an outstanding burst and he was a little bit thicker than I anticipated. He is going to be a mismatch in the passing game as he gains more experience. He looks like an ideal change-of-pace back at the next level.Ē

Just to show you how deep and talented this running back class is in this draft, Landry currently has a seventh-round grade on Williams.

Bottom line, no matter what the Packers decide to do about bringing in a veteran free agent running back, the upcoming draft can certainly upgrade the depth and talent at the running back position for the team.

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About the Author

Bob closely follows the Packers, Badgers, Brewers, Bucks, Golden Eagles and Panthers, but also enjoys sports in Florida as he is a big supporter of the Lightning, Rays, Gators and Bulls, plus enjoys the Bucs, when they arenít playing the Packers.

Bob always had the itch to return to the media, and he became a writer at a Packer website called ThaPack for a couple of years, before he joined Packer Report, where he was for several years, before joining Wisconsin Sports Online (Packer Chatters) writing about the Packers, Badgers and Brewers.

Bob worked as a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report from November of 2011 into June of 2015, mainly covering the Green Bay Packers, but also did columns for teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Tampa Bay Bucs and the Wisconsin Badgers as well.

Bob currently writes in his Blog at WordPress and also at LandryFootball.com.


Offline Leader

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Re: A Scoutís Take on the Running Back Class in the 2017 NFL Draft
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2017, 04:14:44 PM »
Landry: ďBut Iím going to tell you, that on the football field, Iím not so sure that Joe Mixon is not the best running back in this draft overall. ButÖfill in the blank on Joe Mixon. That is going to be a very tough decision. And Iím not advocating for him off the field. Iím just saying, football-wise, heís special.Ē

Mixon.
Pull the trigger. Do it.

Offline LMG

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Re: A Scoutís Take on the Running Back Class in the 2017 NFL Draft
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2017, 05:21:57 PM »

Pull the trigger??

If the Packers stay @ #29 Mixon will be long gone,
If you are not the lead dog the view never changes.

Offline ricky

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Re: A Scoutís Take on the Running Back Class in the 2017 NFL Draft
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2017, 05:41:55 PM »
For those who are worried about the Packers RB situation, and believe a draft pick can't be relied on, how about Lacy his first year? Or Bell? Or of course Elliott. The OL is the key, as are the addition of the two blocking TE's. So, if TT doesn't sign a FA. Though if he does, I'm actually leaning toward bringing Peterson on board at the right price- though he would probably be a late addition. Because he's going to have to get over the idea he is going to worth a big contract, rather than a much smaller, incentive laden package. And Mixon? Oh yes. If he is there, absolutely.
"My hopes are not always realized, but I always hope." Ovid

Offline Leader

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Re: A Scoutís Take on the Running Back Class in the 2017 NFL Draft
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2017, 05:55:02 PM »
Pull the trigger??
If the Packers stay @ #29 Mixon will be long gone,

Pull the trigger.
Make it happen.
Take the plunge.
Go for it.

Or as NIKE would say: Just Do It.

I've no clue really. I'm just reading along on alot of these guys - but a constant is how good this kid is and a semi-constant is how he's gonna drop down because of his off field antics. If he's there SNAG HIM. If he's close - consider going and getting him.

Conversation about us not being a running team not with standing - if this kids "something special" - we could use exactly what he's got. A player that can bust it loose at any time. Had one of them in the last decade? (thats a rhetorical question - no answer required - but you get the idea) - and I get that we've got "needs" elsewhere - but another constant is we'll ALWAYS have needs and it might be time to jack up our draft a bit from from filling a need with 1st year "JAG's" to "something specials". Shake up the team and league. IMO of course. 
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 05:56:41 PM by Leader »

Online ThatGuy284

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Re: A Scoutís Take on the Running Back Class in the 2017 NFL Draft
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2017, 08:40:39 PM »
Sign of the times - Break a woman's face but have football talent?

"Off-the-field antics"