Sharing My CFB Notes From 2008: 2009 NFL Draft Preview Running Backs

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Sharing My CFB Notes From 2008: 2009 NFL Draft Preview Running Backs
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

I continue my NFL Draft preview which is really just pouring through piles of scribbled notes in my spiral notebook that I used when doing my college game previews, picks, and commentaries from last season.

In the first article I talked about the Quarterbacks. Like I said last time out, don't expect my analysis to win you any mock draft contests or match what a lot of the "experts" have to say.

I didn't go to the NFL combine nor did I attend any school's pro days, I didn't even look at any of the results outside of the heights and weights I used to put together these articles, and if I wanted to, I could have just used the old ones I had but I know it would be dated at this point.

I go by what I saw on the football field. Those who follow my college football stuff know I don't watch pregame shows or listen to hype, I go by what I see on the field.

I watch every game that is available either live or on TIVO and everyone knows where to find me on Saturday afternoons or during weeknight games, I'm in the chat room at my site with many other college football freaks comparing notes and watching the games together from all over the world.

Over the years, I have a much higher documented success rate of impact players, players that stick, and the busts than just about any expert out there and yes it's all documented. In any event, here is my running back analysis for all players that I saw in action over their careers.

 

Tarrion Adams, Tulsa, 6'0", 209

As a pure football player, I think Tarrion Adams has more than shown what he can do on the field and he has done nothing to show that he can't get it done in the right situation.

My guess is what were more likely to hear is he isn't fast enough and he benefited from running out of a pass happy spread offense. I think running out of whatever system you play in is the goal of the game and Adams showed that when the going gets tough, he's tough to stop and bring down.

Tulsa was on TV plenty and NFL teams will certainly want to bring him in, as he shredded Ball State in a bad-weather bowlgame. He's the type of guy we root for and wouldn't be a bad situational back on an NFL roster.

 

Kahlil Bell, UCLA, 5'11" 212

While UCLA has produced some fine NFL talent in the past, I don't see Bell being part of that tradition. The Bruins weren't good last year, and Bell wasn't much help. Personally, I think he's a step too slow.


Kyle Bell, Colorado State, 6'1", 232

Kyle Bell is going to be playing in the NFL next year and then some and he is going to be a fan favorite wherever he ends up. Bell is a hard-nosed player with good speed and good football sense.

I can see him as a special teamer and I can see him in the backfield, and not just in short-yardage situations. He has the size, speed, and strength coaches will love and has the tough-as-nails attitude fans appreciate.

While he split time last year at RB, it probably saved him from taking some serious hits guys like him seem to take often.

 

Andre Brown, North Carolina State, 6'0", 224

If he isn't already, Brown is the type of player who will be moving up draft boards in a hurry when scouts see him run.

Brown is a flyer with size, which is a magical combination. Brown does have a knock, it's injuries which may keep some teams on the sidelines.

I'm not sure how much I would be willing to put into Brown as I think longevity is going to be an issue, but what playing time the team who picks him does get out of him should be exciting.

 

Aaron Brown, TCU, 6'0", 196

Aaron Brown is going to wind up on an NFL roster and he'll be returning kicks in the first pre-season game, the rest of his NFL career will be dependent on his performance but my guess is he sticks.

With so much emphasis placed on the kick return game these days a a team can get starting field position near the 40 yard line with just the threat of a guy who can take it all the way, Brown's 31+ yard return average is a game changer. Because he can play RB and return kicks, there's a ton of value in Brown.


Donald Brown, Connecticut, 5'10", 210

Donald Brown is easily one of the top running backs in this year's draft. He was an unstoppable force for the Huskies this past season an a joy to watch for every college football fan.

Brown has breakaway speed, toughness, football sense, he can catch; plain and simple the total package. He's a smart player who isn't going to disappoint. If you are one of those fantasy football guys, draft him in your keeper leagues now.


Glen Coffee, Alabama, 6'0", 209

I'm probably not alone in being surprised that Glen Coffee declared for the NFL Draft this year. While I know Coffee has all of the tools to play at the next level, especially the toughness, and speed, I just don't think he stacks up as well against the current class of backs.

Maybe it was because he knew he was going to lose a lot of his starters for the Tide or the increasing crowd in the Alabama backfield but regardless he is probably costing himself millions of dollars over the next few years by dropping in the draft.

Overall, he's a good player who will be a long-term NFL contributor if he can avoid injury that his style usually leads to over the long term at the pro level.

 

Tristan Davis, Auburn, 5'9", 210

Davis is a flyer who is hurt all the time. While his speed is attractive he will surely test an NFL teams patience as it will be interesting to see how long the lure of his speed lasts when he isn't able to show it on the field consistently.

While I hope for his sake Davis can put it all behind him as he has the type of speed that will get him into an NFL camp and he'll get more than a long look as he can return kicks as well, it's just tough to justify a roster spot for a guy who isn't going to play. Davis will have to show he can take the pounding of an NFL season.

 

James Davis, Clemson, 5'11", 218

While we often hear of players leaving the college game too early, James Davis is one I feel hung around too long.

I don't think Davis gained anything on the football field by staying at Clemson and in reality the teams disappointing season probably diminished his value some.

Davis is a leader and has talent and is really a prototypical NFL back and will be tremendous value as if he came out a year or two earlier, he's a first-round pick.

 

Mike Davis, South Carolina, 5'9', 215

While Davis was a serviceable college running back, he has no prospect of playing at the next level. If he makes it in the NFL, I will be the first to congratulate him, but I would be surprised if he got much of a look.


Tony Dixon, Kentucky, 5'8", 200

Tony Dixon is yet another guy who return kicks, who has blazing speed but is going to have to overcome injury problems to contribute. While his speed is going to earn him a real chance, much like Auburn's Tristan Davis, he is going to need to shed the injury tag.


Tyrell Fenroy, Louisiana-Lafayette, 5'8', 205

Fenroy reminds me of a guy I talked about extensively a few years ago in my newsletter, Ryan Moats.

He's a smallish back with great speed and toughness who played for an 'under the radar" school but managed to put up monster numbers against some pretty tough out-of-conference opponents.

Those who are familiar with my draft previews of the past would refer to Fenroy as a "Mitch guy," and he is in fact one of my guys to look out for in this year's draft.

While he may not make an impact on your fantasy roster this year, don't be surprised if he turns out like former Mitch guy Michael Turner.

 

Arian Foster, Tennessee, 6'1", 226

I would be lying if I didn't say I was disappointed in Foster's play as a Vol. While he seemed to have all the potential in the world and destined for greatness, Foster never showed that he could harness that potential or consistently perform at a level at a top notch school.

While last year's Vol team wasn't quite up to the standards in Knoxville, I think Foster was part of the problem. I don't see Foster having a long-term NFL career and would probably be a wasted draft pick.

 

See the rest of my running back analysis:

Mitch's 2009 NFL Draft Preview: Running Backs A-F

Mitch's 2009 NFL Draft Preview: Running Backs G-M

Mitch's 2009 NFL Draft Preview: Running Backs O - S

Mitch's 2009 NFL Draft Preview: Running Backs T - Z

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