2012 NFL Draft Predictions: Running Backs Who Will Be Taken in Second Round

Jason ClarkCorrespondent IIApril 27, 2012

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02:  Running back LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks runs the ball against the Wisconsin Badgers at the 98th Rose Bowl Game on January 2, 2012 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Trent Richardson was supposed to be the only running back taken in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, but Doug Martin and David Wilson joined him, leaving the second-round running back pool thinner than expected. Of those left, who will jump off the board in Round 2?

The last few years, some of the NFL's backfield stars have come out of the second round, including LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles and Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears. Those who could emerge from this year's draft include LaMichael James, Lamar Miller and Isaiah Pead.


LaMichael James

James is (wisely) trying to advertise himself as a Darren Sproles-type back who can be active out of the backfield in the running and passing game. The former Oregon Duck had a prolific college career, but has to prove that his mind-blowing stats (over 1,500 rushing yards each of the last three years) weren't just the product of Chip Kelly's lightning-quick offense.

A possible destination is San Diego, where the Chargers realized that not keeping Sproles was a mistake despite having Ryan Mathews as the starter.


Lamar Miller

Miller, who is the highest-rated player to come out of Miami this year, isn't a powerful back, but has elite agility and can make guys miss easily. Injury troubles over the years are a big concern, as they certainly kept him out of the first round and may keep him out of the second. A shoulder injury limited his participation at the NFL combine, but did nothing to prevent him from running a running back-best 4.4-second 40-yard-dash.

Mock drafts from Todd McShay and Mel Kiper have Miller falling to the Green Bay Packers, who could certainly use a running back to help balance out an elite passing attack.


Isaiah Pead

Pead isn't projected to go in the second round, but the Cincinnati product certainly has the skills to find his way in. He displays above-average ability in just about every category, but doesn't have a defining elite trait either. Pead is a safe pick who can handle just about any workload, but he can't be depended upon as an offensive star.

A good fit for him could be the New England Patriots, who just lost BenJarvis Green-Ellis to free agency and currently have Stevan Ridley (their third-round pick last year) in the starting role. 


Chris Polk is another back who could break through to the second round, but it's unlikely because the teams with the biggest running back needs have already drafted to fill those needs.