The running back position has seen its value on draft day questioned over the last several years. With RBBC becoming the mainstream trend in the NFL, the days of the highly valued feature back seem to be reserved for a select few (see Adrian Peterson, Vikings.)
That said, there’s no denying the value that an elite running back can have for an offense.
James Wilder, Jr. enters the 2013 college football season as a player on the rise. His carries went from 35 in 2011 to 165 last year, with his YPC seeing a similar jump (4.6 in ’11 to 5.8 in ’12). This year, Wilder is expected to share the running back duties with talented teammate Devonta Freeman, but I expect #32 to ultimately be the impact player in the Florida State running game.
Wilder began his career at Florida State as one of the most highly touted high school recruits in the nation. He was considered a 5-star prospect after he completed a career at linebacker and running back at Tampa Plant High School. The son of former NFL running back James Wilder, Sr., this Seminole has experienced what life as an NFL running back is like from an early age.
The elder Wilder had a successful career in the NFL after being selected by the Tampa Buccaneers in the 2nd round of the 1981 NFL Draft. He was a pro bowl selection after the 1984 season, and set the then-record for carries in a season (407).
Bloodlines are always important in an evaluation.
Unfortunately, Wilder, Jr. has had some concerning legal troubles. He was arrested three times last year. I’m not too concerned about the issue, however, since none of the arrests involved any kind of violent or dangerous behavior. From all available resources I could access, Wilder appears to be a good guy that shouldn’t project as a “character concern.”
Below is the “First Look” for James Wilder, Jr., RB, Florida State:
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