2012 NFL Draft: 8 Running Backs That Improved Their Stock at the Combine

Jody SmithContributor IFebruary 27, 2012

Washington running back Chris Polk
Washington running back Chris PolkJoe Robbins/Getty Images

Every season a number of incoming NFL rookies manage to create a buzz with a headline-grabbing performance at the annual NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. With the offensive players having completed most of their measurables, 2012 looks to be no exception.

Here's a review of some of the running backs who helped their draft stock and improved their chances of moving up the NFL depth charts after the first weekend of the Combine.


Lamar Miller (Miami)

Miller measured out very well at 5'10" and 212 pounds.  He solidified his status as the second ranked running back in this class, behind Alabama's Trent Richardson who did not participate in any drills.  His official 4.40 in the 40-yard dash was the fastest of all running backs.

Projection: First-round pick


Chris Polk (Washington)

Polk did well to shed some weight and it helped him run an unofficial 4.46.  With an excellent size combination at 5'10" and 215 pounds, he looked like a good route-runner with solid hands. He improved his stock after a poor showing in the Senior Bowl.

Projection: Third-fourth round


LaMichael James (Oregon)

James looks like a solid receiving threat out of the backfield who could be a tough matchup for linebackers and safeties. He is small  at 5' 8" and 194 pounds, but quick with a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash. He showed explosive potential with the second highest broad jump of all running backs.  

Projection: Third round


David Wilson (Virgina Tech)

Wilson probably improved his draft stock more than any other big-name running back. He is now a solid candidate, along with Lamar Miller, to be the second back selected. He shows good size at 5' 9" and speed (4.49).

Wilson blew away the field and showed explosive leg strength with a 41.5 inch vertical jump. He also led all running backs with 13' 2" broad jump. He is a good route-runner who caught the ball well with his hands, giving a huge performance in Indy.

Projection: Second round



Doug Martin (Boise State)

Martin also did a good job of improving his value with a solid showing. He was a good receiver and blocker in college who measured in at 5' 9" and 223 pounds. He had a solid 40-yard dash time (4.55) for a back of his size. Martin showed good strength by tying for the most bench press repetitions with 28.

Projection: Second round


Chris Rainey (Florida)

This hybrid RB/WR continues to draw comparisons to Percy Harvin.  He is small at 5' 8" and 180 pounds, but he ran a blazing 4.45 in the 40. Rainey showed explosive leg strength with a very good performance in the vertical and broad jump and looked fantastic as a pass catcher and route-runner. His injuries and off-the-field issues could have a negative effect on his perceived value.

Projection: Third-fourth round


Robert Turbin (Utah State)

Turbin has an excellent combination of size (5' 9", 222 pounds), speed (official 40 time of 4.45) and power (tied for the most bench press reps with 28).  He is a good receiver with soft hands who could be a good fit in a one-cut, zone scheme. His durability and injury history will remain a concern.

Projection: Third-fourth round


Ronnie Hillman (San Diego State)

Hillman declared early after two strong campaigns for the Aztecs and helped himself with a solid effort on Sunday. He measured bigger than projected at 200 pounds and 5' 9" tall. He tied with Oregon's LaMichael James for the second fastest time in the 40 (official 4.45) and also had an impressive 37-inch vertical leap.

Projection: Third-fourth round