Jewel Hampton might be one of the read hidden gems in the draft (get it?) The former Iowa backup running back didn't quite cut it in the Big Ten and ended up transferring to small school Southern Illinois after an ACL injury.
He is the type of running back prospect that teams salivate over in the later rounds. Someone who has extraordinary talent, but might fly under the radar a great deal.
As you can see by the embedded photo, Jewel Hampton runs with a lower center of gravity than most running backs. This enables him to be much stronger than his 5'8" frame suggests.
It also enables him to remain balanced at the point of contact and when making the decision to either turn up field or cut back against the grain.
Some of the most successful scat backs in the National Football League possess this skill; Hampton is no different.
Jewel Hampton transferred from Iowa to Southern Illinois following the 2010 season. While playing in limited action for Southern Illinois, he showed flashes of the brilliance we saw from Hampton at Iowa during his surprising 2008 season.
However, you do have to take into account the level of competition that Hampton played against with Southern Illinois.
Jewel Hampton could be a solid short-yardage back in the National Football League. He does possess surprising speed, but it is all about what he does at the point of contact.
Hampton consistently churns those legs when facing a would-be tackler at the line of scrimmage. This, coupled with his plus-balance and lower center of gravity, leads to a running back that will rarely be brought down for negative gains.
In fact, this was the most impressive aspect of Hampton's game in the limited game film I was able to acquire.
This is hard slide to write, but it needs to be taken into account. Jewel Hampton tore both of his ACL's in consecutive seasons and has some major durability concerns.
If all things were equal, there would be a possibility that he might have been a mid-round pick. At this point, it is hard to imagine Hampton getting drafted prior to the seventh round, if at all.
It really is a shame because he possesses a unique skill set at the running back position. However, it is hard to look past two separate ACL tears.
"Cutback ability," "going against the grain" and "being able to stop on a dime" are three different terms that scouts consistently use when drawing conclusions about running back prospects.
Jewel Hampton possesses all three of these abilities. Moreover, he understands when to utilize blockers or blow past the line of scrimmage on his own accord.
Some of the top running backs in the 2012 NFL draft—David Wilson and Chris Polk—don't even possess this ability.
Teams looking for a running back in the latter rounds will definitely take this into account.