Position: Running back
Weight: 210 lbs.
Combine 40 yard dash: 4.47
Combine weight reps: 31
Projection: Second – fourth round
Denver’s running back situation is rather dismal at the moment. The former first rounder, Knowshon Moreno, can’t seem to stay healthy.
His partner in crime, Correll Buckhalter, is nearing the end of his career and according to the Denver Post, is an obvious candidate for release after a terrible 2010 season.
The fact of the matter is that at some point during the draft, the Broncos will probably need to address the running back position, and Shane Vereen just might fit the bill.
He is widely considered as a change of pace back-prospect in the NFL.
For most of his college career, he was the backup for Lion’s running back, Jahvid Best, but when he was handed the starting job in 2010, he rose to the occasion.
Vereen is considered a late second or third-round pick.
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 may well end up being one of the biggest steals in the 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 broken.
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.
The running back’s pass-blocking ability is his biggest question mark.
In order to be an every down running back in the NFL, you have to understand pass-blocking assignments. This is definitely something he will have to work on during this offseason and preseason.
The fact is, 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 almost always end up in positive yardage.
For the sake of the Broncos, he could be a solid target while young quarterback Tim Tebow develops.