Marcus Lattimore has visions of becoming the next Willis McGahee. At this point, he couldn't have a better role model.
That said, his circumstances are a little bit different.
McGahee had only 363 carries in his two seasons at Miami. Lattimore's season ended on the 555th carry of his college career. Even before the catastrophic leg injury, teams would have had to consider the significant workload Lattimore carried in college before drafting him.
Mix in the fact that Lattimore's 2011 season ended with a season-ending injury to his left knee, and the injury risk is just too high to warrant using a draft pick.
Before the injuries, Lattimore was one of the five-to-seven best college running backs I've seen in the last 15 years. But now, there are too many questions to answer by April to warrant a draft pick.
After tearing up his knee in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, the Buffalo Bills used the 23rd pick in the first round on McGahee. They allowed him to sit out the entire 2003 NFL season, and he went on to have three straight 1,000-yard seasons for the Bills.
He has had a solid career with the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos as well.
Some may have thought the Bills' decision to take McGahee in the first round was a huge gamble. Imagine what the thoughts would be on a team that takes Lattimore in the first round—or at all.
McGahee didn't have a major injury to his other knee, and his body hadn't taken the overall pounding that Lattimore's has.
While Lattimore may still have a successful NFL career, he may have to go the undrafted free agent route. Bleacher Report's draft expert, Matt Miller says Lattimore could go in the second or third round, but it will take a team with patience to wait for him for that to happen.
The upside is there, but the downside is far more ominous. Lattimore will almost certainly get his shot, but I find it hard to fathom it comes via the draft. As a fan and a human being, I hope I'm wrong.
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