De’Anthony Thomas will be a polarizing prospect as the 2014 NFL Draft season unfolds. Some will see him as a dynamic offensive weapon that lacks a true, natural position. Others will express confidence in his ability to be a running back in the NFL, and there will be a collection of analysts that view him strictly as a slot WR.
Thomas was the top athlete in the 2011 high school class (Rivals), and brought a sprinter’s speed to the Oregon Ducks’ backfield. He made an immediate impact as a freshman, earning the Pac-12 Co-Offensive Freshman of the Year award.
Thomas’s 2013 season has been impacted by a nagging ankle injury (causing him to miss several games) and his production has dipped as a result. That said, Thomas still has rare athletic traits that will trump the box score during the evaluation process.
Averaging 7.8 yards per carry for a season’s worth of work is very impressive. But doing it back-to-back years is bordering insane. And that’s exactly what RS Junior Lache Seastrunk has managed to do for the Baylor Bears in 2012 and 2013.
An Oregon transfer, Seastrunk was recognized by almost every major scouting outlet as one of the premier high school running backs in the Country. Since transferring to Baylor, he’s totaled 1,994 yards and 18 TDs during his two years as a starting running back with the afore-mentioned, mind-blowing 7.8 yards per carry (on 257 carries!).
Seastrunk was on pace to top his impressive 2012 season before a groin injury sidelined him. However, he appears to be healthy again and is likely to declare for the 2014 NFL Draft.
Andre Williams, the bruising and productive Heisman Trophy candidate runner for the Boston College Eagles exploded onto the national stage in 2013 with 2,103 yards rushing, 17 TDs, and a highlight reel that seems to go on forever.
Williams was a part-time runner prior to this season, as he totaled 349 career carries before getting 329 opportunities this year alone. And while he’s been a solid runner in years past, his senior season has really put his skills on display. Continue reading …
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. Continue reading …
The first three rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft is in the books. This year’s draft has routinely been described as one of the deepest in years, and the names remaining on the board prove that point. There are a lot of potential future starting quarterbacks available, along with some very talented running backs and defensive linemen.
Below are the highest-rated players still remaining from FRG Scouting’s Big Board. Their Big Board ranking appears at the left of their name. Remember: Follow FRG Scouting on Twitter for instant analysis on Day Three: