Robert Turbin, Utah State
5'10", 220 pounds.
Pros: Great size for a feature back and possesses a surprising burst. Can accelerate in and out of cuts at an impressive rate. Difficult to tackle and elusive enough in the open field. Played some of his better games against the toughest competition (Utah, BYU, Texas A&M, Auburn) and dominated the WAC en route to Offensive Player of the Year honors. Is also a reliable receiver out of the backfield. Owns a great work ethic and leadership qualities.
Cons: As most rookies, Turbin could improve his pass protection, though he is one of the best in the draft. Tends to run upright at times and must become better inside the tackles. Has already had a knee injury, but appears to have fully healed.
Outlook: Outside of Boise State, not too many people watch WAC football. The Utah State running back rushed for 1,517 yards and 19 touchdowns this season, but largely remains under the radar. That's good news for the 49ers, who would love to see him available in the 4th round and beyond.
Turbin has the potential to be the 49ers' version of Beast Mode and a perfect complement to Kendall Hunter. Frank Gore, as sad as it may be to admit, has no more than one season left in the tank. Therefore, it's time to prepare for the future while also improving the now. Drafting Turbin would allow him to learn from Gore for a season before becoming his successor.
A solid combine workout will place him on the radar of many teams, so the 49ers need to be ready to pull the trigger.