Intriguing RB prospects

PFW staff
PFW scouting videos on YouTube

This is the second in a series of 10 features profiling late-rising prospects from the pro-day circuit or developmental talent that just missed the cut in PFW's 2012 Draft Preview, offering a more condensed scouting report than the 400-plus in this year's Draft Preview. Results from more than 175 pro days are now featured online in PFW's draft database.

The devaluation of the running back position continues to push capable ballcarriers down the draft pecking order. Consequently, late-round or undrafted free-agent gems emerge seemingly on a yearly basis. Arian Foster, Pierre Thomas and Danny Woodhead all were bypassed in the draft before rising to prominence on winning teams. The following players, listed in alphabetical order, could follow in those footsteps.

RB Alvester Alexander, #32 (Junior)
Wyoming            PFW grade: 5.05
Ht: 5-10 3/8 | Wt: 206 | Sp: 4.46 | Arm: 31 1/4 | Hand: 9
Notes: The Texas prep was also a sprinter for the track team, running the 100 meters in 10.56 seconds. Led the Cowboys in rushing as a true freshman in 2009, rushing 136 times for 640 yards (4.7-yard average) and seven touchdowns in 13 games (four starts). Contributed eight catches for 101 yards (12.6-yard average) and zero touchdowns in addition to six kickoff returns for 139 yards (23.2-yard average). Named the team’s Offensive Back of the Year in '10 after leading the team in rushing again with 189-792-14 (4.2), setting the school record for rushing touchdowns. In 12 starts, he caught 15-134-0 (8.9) to lead the team in all-purpose yards (926). In 13 games (12 starts) in ’11, he led the team with 921 all-purpose yards after rushing 152-695-6 (4.6), catching 12-200-0 (16.7) receiving and adding 1-26-0 (26.0) as a kickoff returner.
Bottom line: Adequate-sized, lean and narrow-framed, Alexander is a linear, upright runner with good timed speed and good hands out of the backfield (see Weber State, San Diego State). Lacks wiggle to make people miss and his run strength is just average. Not a physical blocker and career production is not special — generally gains what is blocked. Could have used another year of development, but left school early to help his family.
NFL projection: Priority free agent.

FB Derrick Coleman, #33
UCLA            PFW grade: 5.13
Ht: 5-11 1/4 | Wt: 232 | Sp: 4.52 | Arm: 34 1/8 | Hand: 10 1/8
Notes: Is hearing impaired (wears hearing aids and reads lips). Running back-linebacker who totaled 5,214 yards and 86 touchdowns as a prep in California, where he also competed in basketball and track and field. As a true freshman running back in 2008, rushed 53 times for 284 yards (5.4-yard average) and two touchdowns in 10 games (one start). Did not see action in the first two contests. In ’09, carried 54-244-1 (4.5) in 13 games (one start). Played 11 games in ’10, earning two starts, and ran 82-487-5 (5.9). Did not play against Houston (concussion). Complemented Johnathan Franklin in ’11, toting 152-765-11 (5.0) in 14 games. Also caught 17 career passes for 66 yards (3.9) and zero touchdowns. Was second-team All-Pacific-12 as a special-teams performer as a senior and took home team awards for outstanding special-teams play (twice) and all-around excellence according to coaches. Was a 21-year-old senior.
Bottom line: A chiseled tweener prospect, Coleman was a straight-linish, complementary college running back, though his best chance in the pros will be to bulk up into an athletic fullback. Has speed in the 4.5s at 230 pounds and runs with low pads, showing a nose for the endzone. Also was a special-teams standout for the Bruins. Mature, mentally tough, character player who persevered through deafness and is the type you root for.
NFL projection: Late draftable pick.

RB Raymond Carter, #20
Colorado State            PFW grade: 5.10
Ht:5-11 1/2 | Wt: 217 | Sp: 4.46 | Arm: 32 | Hand: 9 1/2
Notes: Highly recruited out of Los Angeles, where he was also a standout sprinter. Sat out the 2007 season at UCLA after tearing his right ACL in fall camp. In ’08, managed just 25 rushes for 29 yards (1.2-yard average) and a touchdown in seven games. Bruised his knee against Brigham Young and missed two games, then injured his groin against Washington State and missed three more games. Sat out the ’09 season per NCAA transfer rules. At Colorado State in ’10, started 5-of-8 games in which he played and rushed 65-235-1 (3.6). Added 15 receptions for 163 yards (10.9). Sprained his right knee against TCU and missed three games, then missed the season finale against Wyoming because of a separate injury to the same knee. Started 7-of-12 games in ’11, carrying 121-584-4 (4.8) and catching 15-138-1 (9.2).
Bottom line: A UCLA transfer who doubled as a track sprinter, Carter is a high-cut, upright slasher who elevated his visibility at the Colorado State pro day, where he ran in the mid 4.4s, posted a 36½-inch vertical jump and bench-pressed 225 pounds 26 times. Has NFL size and speed and good hands out of the backfield (see Idaho 2010, TCU 2011) though he builds up and shows average agility. Carried just 211 times in college, as he missed two full seasons to injury (torn ACL) and transfer.
NFL projection: Priority free agent.

RB Stephfon Green, #21
Penn State            PFW grade: 5.00
Ht: 5-9 3/8 | Wt: 204 | Sp: 4.46 | Arm: 30 1/4 | Hand: 8 5/8
Notes: Prepped in Bronx, N.Y., where he suffered a season-ending broken right ankle injury midway through his senior season. Redshirted in 2007. Played all 13 games in ’08, rushing 105 times for 578 yards (5.5-yard average) and four touchdowns. Dislocated his right ankle in the Rose Bowl against USC, had surgery and missed ’09 spring practice. In the fall, had 71-319-3 (4.5) in 11 games. Hurt his right ankle against Minnesota and missed two games. Played all 13 games in ’10 and ran 48-188-1 (3.9). Sustained head injuries against Youngstown State and Ohio State. In early September ’11, was charged with purchasing alcohol for minors — served a five-game suspension and managed 61-266-6 (4.4) in eight games. For his career, recorded 41 receptions for 453 yards (11.0) and a touchdown and returned 21 kickoffs for 439 yards (20.9). Graduated.
Bottom line: Speedy back who flashed as a young player, but never earned featured back status or lived up to full potential. Shows good first-step quickness, second-level burst and open-field ability, though his eyes and instincts are average and he gears down to cut (recorded a poor 3-cone time of 7.33 seconds at his pro day). Lacks ideal bulk and durability has been an issue. Single-back runner who will have to be used on draws, stretches and screens. Has underachiever traits and will have to be a better pro than college player to stick.
NFL projection: Priority free agent.

FB Joe Martinek, #23
Rutgers            PFW grade: 5.00
Ht: 5-11 1/2 | Wt: 224 | Sp: 4.51 | Arm: 29 3/8 | Hand: 9 3/4
Notes: Was the 2006 New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year and finished his prep career with a state-record 7,589 rushing yards and 80 touchdowns. Won the state title in the javelin throw. Redshirted in ’07 while playing running back and safety. Saw mostly special-teams action in 13 games in ‘08, making one start as he rushed 76 times for 404 yards (5.3-yard average) and four touchdowns. Started 10-of-13 games in which he played at running back in ’09 and led the team with 206-967-9 (4.7) rushing. Suffered through an injury-plagued season in ’10, seeing action in 10 games with seven starts. Rushed 85-276-4 (3.2) as he played through an ankle injury. Did not participate in ’11 spring practice after having offseason ankle and shoulder surgery. At fullback in ’11, started 8-of-13 games and ran 24-123-0 (5.1) with 27-262-1 (9.7) receiving. Honored with team’s Loyal Knight Award, recognizing character, dedication and resiliency.
Bottom line: Team-first, try-hard, overachieving, converted running back with tweener traits whose best chance to stick will be as a West Coast fullback. Tough, athletic, competitive, but undersized. At his pro day, ran a 4.5 40-time at 224 pounds and his 3-cone time of 6.87 seconds would have ranked among the RB leaders at the NFL Scouting Combine. Unselfish attitude could endear him to coaches, such as his former Rutgers and current Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano, and he could find a role in the league. Ability to improve as a second-level, movement blocker could dictate his longevity.
NFL projection: Priority free agent.

RB Daryl Richardson, #1
Abilene Christian            PFW grade: 5.13
5-10 1/2 | Wt: 196 | Sp: 4.49 | Arm: 29 3/4 | Hand: 9 1/8
Notes: His brother, Bernard Scott, is a running back with the Cincinnati Bengals and stands as ACU’s all-time leading rusher. The Florida prep attended Cisco (Texas) College in 2008 and led the team with 95 carries for 526 yards (5.5-yard average) and seven touchdowns. In ’09, he transferred to Abilene Christian and saw action in all 13 games (10 starts), posting a team-leading 199-961-16 in ’09 (4.8) rushing. Also contributed 23 catches for 209 yards (9.1-yard average) and one touchdown. Led the Wildcats in scoring (102 points) and all-purpose yards (1,170). Recorded 115-517-7 (4.5) rushing and 25-199-1 (8.0) receiving in 10 contests (five starts) in ’10. Missed a pair of games early in the season with a knee injury. Started 8-of-11 games in ’11, totaling 139-825-11 (5.9) on the ground with 40-371-2 (9.3) receiving. Did not carry in the season opener while nursing a groin strain.
Bottom line: The younger brother of Bengals RB Bernard Scott and Dolphins 2011 fourth-rounder Clyde Gates (both ACU products), Richardson has good speed, catches well and showed off his explosiveness at the ACU pro day, posting a 40½-inch vertical leap and broad jump of 11 feet 3 inches. However, he is a brittle, finesse runner with marginal play strength and lacks a professional makeup.
NFL projection: Priority free agent.

RB Adonis Thomas, #24
Toledo            PFW grade: 5.15
Ht: 5-8 3/4 | Wt: 185 | Sp: 4.46 | Arm: 30 1/2 | Hand: 7 1/2
Notes: Also lettered in track as  a prep in New Jersey, where he won a state football championship. Redshirted in 2007. Saw action in seven contests in ‘08, mostly on special teams, but had nine rushes for 40 yards (4.4-yard average) and one touchdown against Miami (Ohio). In ’09, he played in 11 games and recorded 27-151-0 (5.6) on the ground while catching one pass for one yard. Led the Rockets in rushing and the MAC in rushing average in ’10 after producing 175-1,098-8 (6.3) along with 31 catches for 372 yards (12.0-yard average) and two touchdowns in 13 games (12 starts). In ’11, started 9-of-10 games and carried 171-1,071-12 (6.3) with 31-350-1 (11.3) receiving. Broke his left arm on his first carry against Syracuse and was sidelined for three more games.
Bottom line: A scrappy, productive, mid-major playmaker, Thomas is an undersized waterbug with the quickness to factor as a change-of-pace or third-down back and screen weapon. Field-fast and quick as a hiccup. Good instincts and vision — sorts through traffic and has short-area burst to dart through creases. Sees the cutback and scoots to daylight. Shifty open-field runner — agile, elusive and slippery. Effective receiver (despite very small hands) and is creative after the catch. Is not built to pound inside — lacks ideal size and durability could be an issue. Stands out on tape and was not abused from a workload standpoint.
NFL projection: Priority free agent.


Other notable pro-day standouts:

RB Lance Dunbar, North Texas
Ht: 5-8 3/8 | Wt: 197 | Sp: 4.51 | Arm: 29 7/8 | Hand: 8 1/4

Short, lean, productive perimeter back who shows quick feet, lateral agility, balance and vision but is a soft blocker and does not exhibit a special-teams mentality. Durability and marginal competition are concerning.

RB Curenski Gilleylen, Nebraska
Ht: 5-11 1/4 | Wt: 213 | Sp: 4.47 | Arm: 31 3/4 | Hand: 9 1/4
A converted receiver who did not take a carry as a senior, but showed well enough at his pro day to warrant a chance as a developmental, third-down pass catcher. Praised for his team-first attitude.