2012 NFL Draft Projections: Second-Round Running Backs with Pro Bowl Potential

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystApril 4, 2012

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Lamar Miller #6 of the Miami Hurricanes rushes during a game  against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

It's become something of a trend to wait before drafting a running back in the NFL, and while the league has seen stars such as Houston Texans running back Arian Foster go undrafted, there have also been some bell cows borne of the draft's second round, including LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009 and the Chicago Bears' Matt Forte in 2008.

The 2012 NFL draft features a number of running backs that could hear their names called on the draft's second day. Here's a look at a trio of ball-carriers that have the best chance to join McCoy and Forte as second-round standouts in the National Football League.


Doug Martin, Boise State

Running back Doug Martin was a big part of the ascension of the Boise State Broncos over the past few seasons, as the 5'9", 223-pound senior has tallied over 3,300 rushing yards and scored 43 touchdowns over the past three years.

Martin's rather diminutive height is a red flag for some front offices, and he isn't awe-inspiring in any one facet of the game, but he's a more-than-capable rusher, receiver and blocker that possesses all the qualities of a feature back, according to a recent tweet by Greg Cosell of NFL Films.

RB Martin: Ran with velocity + power. Low center of gravity. Balance + body control. Some wiggle but not elusive. Mentality of feature back.

— Greg Cosell (@gregcosell) March 31, 2012

The Cleveland Browns are reportedly bringing in Martin for a visit, and should the Browns decide to select Martin early in the second round, there's a very good chance that he would excel in Cleveland's West Coast Offense.


Lamar Miller, Miami (Fla.)

Lamar Miller only had one full season as the starter at running back for the Hurricanes, but the 5'11", 212-pound redshirt sophomore made the most of the opportunity when it presented itself, gaining over 1,300 total yards and scoring double-digit touchdowns in 2011.

Miller possesses a tantalizing blend of size and speed, and while CBS Sports' Rob Rang has voiced concerns over Miller's ability to learn complex NFL offenses, Mike Tanier of Yahoo! Sports feels that Miller's physical gifts are enough to warrant second-round consideration.

Miller offers such an intriguing production/potential combination that many teams will consider him in the second or early third round, [and] Miller has a lot of room to grow and could become a bell cow in a Mike Shanahan-Gary Kubiak offense or the slasher in a power-based running game. His upside is very high.

With Rashard Mendenhall likely out at least part of the 2012 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the teams that is rumored to have a degree of interest in Miller's services on the second day of the draft. Miller seems to have a skill set that would mesh very well with the Steelers' between-the-tackles ground game.


David Wilson, Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech running back David Wilson was ridiculously productive on the ground for the Hokies in 2011, racking up over 1,700 rushing yards as a junior. The 5'10", 211-pound first-team All-ACC performer has already visited with the Cleveland Browns this week.

Wilson also enjoyed a solid showing at February's scouting combine, running the 40-yard dash in an unofficial time of 4.40 seconds that he backed up at Virginia Tech's recent pro day. While Sporting News' Russ Lande points out that Wilson's ball security and pass-blocking are areas of concern, he's still very intrigued by the youngster's physical prowess.

Wilson is the most dynamic back in this year’s draft. His size might cause teams to pass on him in the first round, but Wilson's potential to make big plays every time he touches the ball will limit his slide. If Wilson can improve in pass protection, he could make a similar impact as current Philadelphia Eagles star LeSean McCoy.

In addition to the aforementioned Browns, Lande states that the Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams also have some interest in Wilson in the beginning of the draft's second round. Should Wilson find himself lining up behind Andrew Luck for the Colts, he will have every opportunity to showcase his talents early.