The group of running backs in the 2014 NFL Draft class is intriguing, because they could fall seemingly anywhere between rounds 2 and 5. The likes of Tre Mason, Carlos Hyde, Jeremy Hill, and Andre Williams are touted by some draft analysts and downgraded by others, and it will be interesting to see which prospects rise and fall in the pre-draft process. Once the Combine passes, more grades will fall into place, but right now it looks like Hyde, Mason, and Ka’Deem Carey are the three RBs to beat.
Baylor Bears running back Lache Seastrunk has a high amount of agility and college production, and he’s an intriguing back. However, many people are concerned about Seastrunk’s ability to make an impact at the next level, particularly when it comes to projecting his three-down potential. He has plenty of upside as a rusher, but his pass-catching ability and pass protection are unproven to say the least. Teams look for both in backs, even if rushing is the most important thing. Not only is the league more of a passing league, obviously, but teams only want to draft feature backs who have three-down ability high.
CBS Sports’s Dane Brugler tweeted yesterday that he doesn’t have Seastrunk ranked as one of the top seven running backs in the class due to his pass-catching and pass pro concerns, as well as the fact that he “needs space” to operate. Those are legitimate concerns, and it will be interesting to see if the former Baylor star can be one of the first five RBs taken this year.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. recently had a conference call, and ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss writes that Kiper called North Carolina Tar Heels interior offensive lineman Russell Bodine “a player to watch”.
Bodine’s draft grade figures to fluctuate greatly, and he’s someone to watch because of the lack of talent among interior OLs in this year’s class. Despite his lack of strength and issues in pass protection, Bodine’s versatility and solid run blocking make him a legitimate option at either center or guard. It will be interesting to see which position NFL teams want him at, and I would rather have him at guard due to his lack of strength and solid pulling as a run blocker.