Shane Vereen: Why the Former California RB Fits Well for the New York Giants in the 2011 Draft
Position: Running back.
Class: Redshirted junior
Weight: 210 lbs.
Combine 40 time: 4.47.
Why he is a good fit for the Giants:
New York’s running game picked up in 2010 after its surprising lack of production the year before.
Ahmad Bradshaw started the season strongly, but was benched due to ball security issues. Brandon Jacobs rose to the occasion and ended the season strongly.
The two of them make quite a running back committee, but Ahmad Bradshaw is set to be a free agent this year, while Brandon Jacobs will be making four million dollars in 2011.
There have been questions raised whether the Giants can only afford to bring one of them back and if that’s the case, they are going to need another tailback.
The two best running back prospects in the 2011 Draft, Mark Ingram and Mikel Leshoure, will be long gone by the time the Giants have their pick in the second round, hence making it unlikely to pick up a running back in the early rounds.
Should the Giants look into Vereen if available in the mid-rounds?
Additionally, he is a very good kick returner, and would therefore cover several needs that the Giants currently have.
For most of his college career, he was the back up of Lion’s running back, Javhid Best, but when handed the starting job in 2010, he rose to the occasion.
Vereen is considered in the range of being a future late second round pick up till latest late in the third round.
However, if he slips to the fourth round—which he might because of his lack of experience and the small need for running back in this draft—he might well end up being one of the biggest potential steals in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Despite his size, Vereen has to be considered a power runner.
He showed off great strength at the Combine, totaling 31 reps of 225 lbs. This was the second most for running backs—only one behind fullback, Anthony Sherman.
The former Golden Bear makes quick reads and hits the holes with urgency. This allows him to gain positive yards on almost every down even if the play is schematically broke.
Although he is not a burner, Vereen is an OK outside runner as well. What really helps him is his ability to make quick decisions and his patience when setting up blockers in front of him. He does not make many tacklers flat out miss him, but he has terrific legs, and he keeps them moving, hence generally picking up yards after the initial contact.
His ball security might become an issue in the NFL, as he often relied on his strength instead of tucking the ball properly in college. Scouts and coaches know that this won’t fly in the NFL, so that is something that needs to be addressed.
With that being said, Shane Vereen, is not known to be fumble prone.
He is also a very good pass catcher. He has very soft hands and was occasionally lined up as a slot receiver at Cal.
This also let him learn a much more complex route tree than your average running back, and I expect him to contribute in the passing game of any team from day one.
The running back’s pass blocking ability is Vereen’s biggest question mark.
In order to be an every down back in the NFL, you have to understand pass block assignments and this is definitely something he will have to work on during this offseason and preseason.
The fact is that we don’t know a whole lot about his ability to block defenders, because most of the time at Cal, he would slip out of the backfield to become a receiver on passing situations.
However, from what we have seen, it seems like although he generally picks up the right guy, he often allows the defender to close in on him instead of being aggressive and attacking the defender.
Having a pass catching running back on your roster can definitely help out a lot of teams. He is the kind of guy that would be wonderful to have as you are developing a young quarterback, as a pass catching running back typically is a nice security blanket.
Passes targeting running backs often have a high completion percentage, and close to always end up in positive yards.
For the sake of the Giants, he could be a solid target when Eli Manning gets flustered.
Due to his size and style of play, many people have drawn comparisons between Vereen and Ray Rice.
I believe this is quite accurate, although he also somewhat resembles Ronnie Brown.
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