Draft preview: Running backs


Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas is the frontrunner to be the next back selected after Alabama's Mark Ingram, according to draft analyst Mike Mayock of the NFL Network.

MIKE MAYOCK'S CHOSEN FEW

MARK INGRAM5-9, 215, AlabamaBecame the school's first Heisman Trophy winner following the 2009 season after rushing for a school-record 1,658 yards and helping the Crimson Tide win the national title…A preseason knee injury in 2010 short-circuited hopes of Heisman repeat but still averaged 5.5 yards per carry…Established school record for career rushing touchdowns with 42 in just three seasons while gaining 3,261 yards…Not the fastest back but coveted by many teams for his vision and balance.

DANIEL THOMAS6-0, 230, Kansas StateRanks second in school history with 2,850 rushing yards and fourth with 30 touchdowns despite playing just two seasons…Transferred to Kansas State from Northwest Mississippi Community College, choosing the Wildcats because they gave the junior college quarterback a chance to play running back rather than defense…Possesses good size and power but needs to display the speed to go with it…Slowed by hamstring injuries throughout the evaluation period.

MIKEL LESHOURE6-0, 227, IllinoisRanked third in the nation in rushing in 2010, producing 1,697 yards with 17 touchdowns and nary a fumble. Averaged 6.0 yards per carry…Racked up 330 yards against Northwestern at Wrigley Field, the highest single-game total in college football in 2010…Rushed for 734 yards in 2009 and played sparingly as a true freshman in 2008…Missed time in '08 with broken jaw from a fight with a teammate and in '09 for violating team rules.

RYAN WILLIAMS5-9, 212, Virginia TechMade a remarkable debut in 2009, rushing for 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns after starting tailback Darren Evans sustained a knee injury in the preseason...Hampered by injuries of his own in 2010, missing four games with hamstring problems on way to 473 yards and nine touchdowns…Surprised some by turning pro off a lackluster season and with two years of eligibility remaining…Running style has drawn comparisons to DeAngelo Williams.

KENDALL HUNTER5-7, 199, Oklahoma StateRanks fourth in school history with 4,181 rushing yards and 37 rushing touchdowns, all while averaging 5.9 yards per carry over four seasons…Size and speed reminds some of Darren Sproles...Has been clocked at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash, though he ran a 4.53 at NFL Scouting Combine.


STRICKLAND'S SECOND LOOK

DEMARCO MURRAY6-0, 213, OklahomaSchool record holder with 6,626 all-purpose yards, 64 touchdowns and 1,572 receiving yards by a running back...Scored more than one touchdown in 13 games…Recorded a 4.37 in the 40, the second-best time among the running back class.

JACQUIZZ RODGERS5-6, 196, Oregon StateOne of only three Pac-10 running backs to earn first-team all-conference honors three times after averaging 107.7 rushing yards per game during his career…Set Pac-10 freshman rushing record in 2008 with 1,253 yards despite missing three games…Undersized but not a true speed back…Known for exceptional balance and vision as well as surprising strength.

JAMIE HARPER5-11, 233, ClemsonSplit carries with Andre Ellington in 2010, rushing for 760 yards…Averaged 100.8 rushing yards per game when Ellington missed final four games of the regular season with an injury …A big, physical runner but also surprisingly nimble…Possesses excellent receiving skills.

JORDAN TODMAN5-9, 203, ConnecticutFinished fourth in the nation with 1,695 rushing yards in 2010, earning Big East Offensive Player of the Year honors and helping the Huskies win the conference title…Rushed for 121 yards against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl…Tied for second among running backs at NFL Scouting Combine with a 38-inch vertical and tied for sixth with a 4.4 in the 40.

CHARLES CLAY6-3, 245, TulsaThe top fullback prospect in the draft class and an intriguing one at that…Caught 189 passes for 2,544 yards and 28 touchdowns over four season, including a 1,000-yard receiving year as a freshman…Rushed for 911 yards and 10 touchdowns…Could be an H-back in the NFL.

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