At the same time we're concluding the Second Shutdown 40 series of scouting reports at the end of March, we'll also be starting up a series of 20 more player profiles (bring out pre-draft scouting report total to 100) called "The Sleeper Hold". This series will be for players who could very well fit in either Shutdown 40, but who are also ridiculously under the radar for whatever reason, and deserving of a specific mention as players who need (and deserve) more eyes on them.
It's hard to think of players better fitting this description than Nebraska running back Roy Helu, Jr, who rushed for 1,245 yards and 11 touchdowns in his senior campaign despite his status in a rotation that allowed him just two games with 20 or more carries, and four with less than 10 carries. Especially for his size, Helu shows an impressive and surprising second-level burst, and this was confirmed at the scouting combine. At 6-foot-0 and 219 pounds, Helu ran a 4.40 40-yard dash (tied for fourth-best among all running backs), and his 10-yard split of 1.51 tied him with Auburn's Mario Fannin for the best time out of the blocks.
No one-year wonder (he ran for 1,147 yards in 2009 and 803 yards in 2008), Helu has raised questions about a tendency to hesitate at the line, and his blocking has raised some red flags in some circles, but I'm of the belief that the primary reason he isn't a second-round prospect is that people simply haven't seen him consistently bash away at a defense. I'll go more into that in my scouting report in a few weeks, but this YouTube video should suffice for now if you haven't seen him play.
I actually met Roy on the plane out of Indianapolis as I was leaving this year's combine, and made sure to talk to him about an interview in the future. We finally hooked up on Thursday of this week, and went over a lot of different things: His role in the Cornhuskers' offense, his Senior Bowl and combine experiences, where he sees himself in this NFL draft class, and how his faith has affected him on the field.
Click on the link below to listen.