2011 NFL Draft: Power Ranking Mark Ingram, Ryan Williams And The Top 10 RB's
With the first round of the 2011 NFL playoffs now over, and the BCS National Championship played, we are now one step closer to the a NFL Draft and the birth of a new breed of fascinating athletes.
Some of the nation's most successful college running backs will be entering the draft this season, including Mark Ingram, Daniel Thomas, Ryan Williams, Noel Devine, and Dion Lewis. Mark Ingram is the only back that is projected to be selected in the first round, but their is a ton of depth at the position this year.
In fact, running back is one of the deepest positions in the entire draft. In the later rounds, some lucky teams will be able to come away with a valuable steal in a guy like Emannuel Moody of Florida, or Miami, Florida's Damien Berry because of the immense talent from college that is now eligible to turn pro this year.
Familiarize yourself with the future running game of the National Football League.
The following slides exhibit the top 10 running backs entering the NFL Draft this season, and where they are likely to be selected.
10. Shane Vereen, California Golden Bears
Weight: 204 pounds
Season Stats: 231 rushing attempts for 1167 yards and 13 touchdowns; 22 receptions for 209 yards and three touchdowns
Draft Projection: early-mid 3rd round
Due to his high projected value in the upcoming NFL draft, Vereen has decided to forgo his senior season at Cal and become a pro. While at Cal, Vereen ranked third all-time in rushing touchdowns (with 29), fourth all-time in total touchdowns (with 35), fifth all-time in all-purpose yards (w/ 4,069), seventh all-time rushing yards (2,834), and ninth all-time in scoring (with 210 points).
9. Noel Devine, West Virginia Mountaineers
Weight: 180 pounds
Season Stats: 209 carries for 936 yards and six touchdowns; 34 receptions for 258 yards and one touchdown
Draft Projection: mid-late third round
Noel Devine would have been selected pretty high last season if he would've entered the NFL Draft, but opted to return to West Virginia for his senior season. Devine passed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for two seasons while at West Virginia, earning 3,381 rushing yards throughout his four-year collegiate career, which is fifth overall on WVU's all-time list.
8. Mikel Leshoure, Illinois Fighting Illini
Weight: 230 pounds
Season Stats: 281 carries for 1697 yards and 17 touchdowns; 17 receptions for 196 yards and three touchdowns
Draft Projection: late second-early third round
Mikel Leshoure finished his Junior season at Illinois in fashion, scoring 13 total touchdowns in his last six games. He than capped off his collegiate career with an outstanding Texas Bowl performance against Baylor, recording 29 rushing attempts for 184 yards and three touchdowns along with two receptions and 21 yards. Leshoure has the talent to have an immediate impact at the next level, and he has proven that this season after rushing for the third most yards out of any player in Division I College Football.
7. Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State Beavers
Weight: 191 pounds
Season Stats: 256 rushing attempts for 1184 yards and 14 touchdowns; 44 receptions for 287 yards and three touchdowns
Draft Projection: Third-fourth round
Throughout his extremely impressive collegiate career Jacquizz Rodgers has been chosen for the 2008 first team All- Pac-10, 2008 AP Third Team All-American, 2008 Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, 2009 First Team All- Pac-10, 2009 AP Third Team All-American, and 2010 AP First Team All-American. Rodgers will be much like a Daren Sproles.
6. Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh Panthers
Weight: 195 pounds
Season Stats: 219 carries for 1061 yards and 13 touchdowns; 27 receptions for 216 yards
Draft Projection: Late Second - Early Third Round
Dion Lewis has done all he can in his final two games to rise his draft stock, recently declaring for the pro's along with fellow teammates WR Jon Baldwin and FB Henry Hynoski. In his last regular season game, against the Cincinnati Bearcats, Lewis made 42 rushing attempts for 261 yards for four touchdowns along with two receptions for 14 yards. He then followed up that performance with another fantastic outing, carrying the football 22 times for 105 yards and one touchdown.
5. Demarco Murray, Oklahoma Sooners
Weight: 207 pounds
Season Stats: 282 rushing attempts for 1214 yards and 15 touchdowns; 71 receptions for 594 yards and five touchdowns
Draft Projection: Early-mid second round
While at Oklahoma, Demarco Murray has earned the all-time record for all-purpose yards in the school's history, with 6,498. Murray has ran for 13 100-yard performances throughout his collegiate career, and is sixth overall in Oklahoma's history for rushing yards, recording a total of 3,524. Murray is one of the most NFL-ready running backs after Alabama's Mark Ingram, and should find himself selected some time during the second round.
4. Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State Cowboys
Weight: 197 pounds
Season Stats: 271 carries for 1548 yards and 16 touchdowns; 20 receptions for 101 yards
Draft Projection: Early-Mid Second Round
In his Senior season, the 22-year-old Kendall Hunter was ranked ninth overall in rushing yards throughout the entire nation. After being sidelined for a majority of his senior season, Hunter came back with a bang showing NFL scouts that he has tremendous potential at the next level. When Hunter is healthy, he's extremely productive. He was the nation's seventh-leading rushing in 2008, with 119.6 yards per game. Hunter has been named to the First-Team All-Big 12 in 2008 and was the 2008 Big 12 rushing champion.
3. Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech Hokies
Weight: 202 pounds
Season Stats: 110 carries for 477 yards and nine touchdowns; 10 receptions for 109 yards and one touchdown
Draft Projection: Early second round (maybe first round if a RB-needy team wants to take the risk)
Ryan Williams announced that he would declare for the NFL Draft after his Sophomore season on January 9th. Williams was named to the third-team All-America in 2009 by Sporting News, and rushed for a school-record of 1,655 yards the same year. If Williams has a good workout at the combine he could find himself selected before the first-round is over.
2. Daniel Thomas, Kansas State Wildcats
Weight: 228 pounds
Season Stats: 298 carries for 1585 yards and 29 touchdowns; 27 receptions for 171 yards
Draft Projection: Late first-early second round
As the seventh leading rusher in the nation this season, Daniel Thomas will be a hot-commodity in the NFL draft with superb Wildcat capabilities. Thomas had an outstanding performance in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, rushing the ball 22 times for 90 yards and three touchdowns against Syracuse. Thomas rushed for over 100 yards seven times this season, earning at least 200 yards in two of those games. The well-sized, 6'2'' running back has an NFL body and will have an immediate impact on any team he is drafted to, if given the proper opportunities.
1. Mark Ingram, Alabama Crimson Tide
Weight: 215 pounds
Season Stats: 158 carries for 875 yards and 13 touchdowns; 21 receptions for 282 yards and one touchdown
Draft Projection: Mid-late first round
Mark Ingram made a name for himself after winning the Heisman Trophy in 2009, along with an SEC Championship, following that up with a BCS National Championship in 2010. Ingram was projected as the top-rated running back since the beginning of the season, and that's where he has remained with his dominant play. Depending on how the earlier picks play out, Ingram may be drafted within the top-15 selections. Ingram proved to be a consistent touchdown threat, scoring at least one touchdown in 9-out-of-11 games he played in this season.
Outside The Top 10...
15. Bilal Powell, Louisville Cardinals
14. John Clay, Wisconsin Badgers
13. Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
12. Graig Cooper, Miami Hurricanes
11. Delone Carter, Syracuse Orangemen