Chris Polk arrived at Washington as a starter and never looked back. He got hurt early in his freshman year but followed that up with three straight 1,000-yard seasons, including the second-best rushing year in school history in 2010.
Polk has a true workhorse mentality, averaging more than 20 carries a game in his senior year, but he's also got maybe the best set of hands and ball skills in the receiving game of any back in this class.
After a poor showing at the Senior Bowl weigh-in, Polk shaped up for the combine, easing some worries about his conditioning.
Polk's scouting reports paint a picture of a back with few large flaws:
Polk has ideal size to carry the load for an NFL team as a starter. He is well put together and looks to the naked eye to be more of a compact, agile athlete than he does a power back.
Polk is an all-around player who doesn't necessarily excel in one specific aspect of his game but does many things at a high level and is capable of playing within a variety of schemes.
He is quick off the ball and a natural runner between the tackles. He prefers to kick it outside and gain an edge on the defense to utilize his speed, but he can be productive inside and is a heavy runner who is tough to bring down. Polk is patient and has smooth footwork to be able to throttle down his speed and wait on blockers and plays to develop.
Polk displayed elite ability only in his last year at Washington and was a slow developer up to that point. He is a decent blocker in pass protection but can struggle with his technique at times.
He has the anchor and thigh strength to leverage under bigger rushers, but he still needs to work on squaring up defenders as a blocker instead of chipping them as they run by.
Polk doesn't have elite speed in the open field to run away from defensive backs, and although he is explosive in short area movements, he won't be able to accelerate past safeties who have an angle on him in pursuit downfield.
A competitive, productive, upright, strong-bodied runner, Polk wears on defenses and is one of the best receiving backs in the country. Has the size, instincts, stamina and versatility to handle a starting workload, but has to earn trust as a pass protector.
As both scouting reports pointed out, Polk needs to work on pass protection, and a weakness in that area often keeps a rookie running back off of the field.
Still, the injury frequency at the position could get him in the lineup at any time, and he's good enough to keep his job once he gets it.
He won't get a shot to be a starter on Philadelphia as long as LeSean McCoy is around, but he can be a lead back if McCoy goes down, and he can help the team not overwork McCoy, as Andy Reid admitted he did last year after the draft.
Polk's terrific pass-catching skills should fit right in the Eagles offense, and he is one of the most likely undrafted free agents to make a final 53-man roster.
Polk should have a fruitful career, especially considering that few backs carry the full load in today's NFL. He'll never be a superstar, but like fellow former Washington back Corey Dillon, Polk will likely be the back who gets the call in the fourth quarter and at the goal line for a long time.
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