|Player, Pos, Team||Height||Weight||Draft Grade|
|21||George Atkinson III RB, Notre Dame||6'1"||210||C||6.3||Full Scouting Report|
George Atkinson III – Running Back – Notre Dame
Atkinson is a third-year junior and the son of former Oakland Raider George Atkinson, Jr. During his first two seasons at Notre Dame, Atkinson was a role player and a kickoff returner. He began the 2013 campaign as a starter, lost his job by midseason, but still got some carries as a rotational back. He finished the season with 93 carries for 555 yards and three touchdowns. His career kickoff return stats are 88 returns for 2,136 yards and two scores. His career average per kick return is 24.27 yards.
Atkinson has a lot to work on before draft day.
Atkinson has great size at approximately 6015 – 218. He has a strong-looking lower body, but is still lean in the upper body. He has great speed and if he gets invited to the Combine, Atkinson might be the fastest back in Indianapolis. He has been timed in the 10.5 area in the 100 meters. As fast as he is, however, Atkinson is not a great athlete. He has good, but not great, change of direction and body control. As a runner, he has good initial quickness, but consistently runs tall and exposes his body. While he shows he can be a hard runner, he is not very instinctive or creative. He is a one-cut guy and that one cut isn’t always the right one. He flashes as an outside runner, but isn’t as patient as he could/should be. Still, if he finds an opening, once in the open field he can take it the distance because of his speed. He is not the most elusive guy, but has gotten better at making the first man miss.
As a receiver, Atkinson has some issues. He has poor hands and struggles to adjust to the ball. He has had a number of drops and isn’t reliable. The same can be said about his blocking abilities. Atkinson doesn’t show consistent effort, lacks technique and isn’t tough. The one thing Atkinson can do well is return kickoffs. He shows more patience returning kicks and does a good job finding the open seam. He is not the type to make many miss, but with his speed all he needs is an opening. He does not return punts mainly because he doesn’t track the ball well and can’t be trusted to catch it.
Overall, Atkinson should not have declared for the draft. The problem was that he alienated the Notre Dame coaching staff and was suspended for their Bowl game. The report was that Atkinson was suspended because of texting during the team pregame meal, but according to sources, there was a lot more to it than that. If he had stayed at Notre Dame for the 2014 season, he may not been more than the fourth back. With his speed and return ability, Atkinson may get drafted, but he doesn’t have the skills to be much more than a kickoff returner. Because of his poor hands and blocking, he can’t be trusted as a running back.
Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggabe
|22||Jordan Hall RB, Ohio State||5'9"||191||C||6.3||Full Scouting Report|
Jordan Hall – Running Back – Ohio State
Hall has been a career backup at Ohio State, and if Carlos Hyde had not been suspended for the first three games this year he would have been a backup this year. With a chance to start, Hall made the most of his opportunity. He had 21 carries for 159 yards and 2 TDs against Buffalo. He also caught 3 passes for 14 yards. Hall is not a big guy, measuring 5-8 and 195 but he is very quick and fast with an instant burst. While not a top after contact runner, he has good balance and vision. If he sees an opening he has the ability to make a quick cut to find daylight. With his speed, once he gets in the open he is very dangerous. He was only used as a check down receiver in this game but did catch the ball well. He was adequate as a pass blocker. Going into the game, Hall was thought of as a free agent type. His play Saturday has already changed that but still he has to play well in games against top competition to be more than a late pick.
|23||Fitzgerald Toussaint RB, Michigan||5'10"||200||C||6.3||Full Scouting Report|
Fitzgerald Toussaint – Running Back
Toussiant is another fifth year senior. He is a three year starter. He started the first 9 games in 2012, then suffered a leg injury and missed the final four games. His best season was 2011 when he totaled over 1000 yards rushing and averaged 5.6 yards per carry. Toussaint is not a real big back at about 5’9.5 – 200. He is quicker than fast but still runs well. I would estimate his speed at about 4.58 – 4.60. He is quick to the hole with good vision and instincts. He can make a quick cut in the hole to find daylight and then burst. He has excellent body control. He shows patience as a runner to go along with his instincts. What he lacks is power. While he has very good balance to keep his feet after contact, he doesn’t have the strength and explosiveness to get many yards. Too often, the first tackler gets him down. His average per carry this year is only 3.6 yards. He is not the type to move the pile. He is best as a between the tackles type runner who uses his cutback ability well. He has a burst to get outside but they don’t use him much that way. He is not used much as a receiver, having only 2 catches so far this season and 15 career receptions. As a pass blocker he is willing but lacks the power to face up and anchor with consistency.
Overall, I see Toussaint as a backup type player at the next level. He is going to have to improve his blocking and pass catching skills if he wants to be drafted. While he has talent, he is not a complete back.
|24||Alfred Blue RB, LSU||6'2"||220||C||6.3||Stats|
|25||Charles Ross RB, Rice||6'1"||220||C||6.3||Stats|
|26||Darrin Reeves RB, UAB||5'10"||210||C||6.3||Stats|
|27||James Sims RB, Kansas||6'0"||202||C||6.3||Stats|
|28||Isaiah Crowell RB, Alabama State||5'10"||200||C||6.3||Stats|
|29||Ben Malena RB, Texas A&M||5'9"||195||D||6.2||Full Scouting Report|
Ben Melana – Running back
Melana can be a tough guy to evaluate because he isn’t a bell cow type running back. He plays in a rotation. With the offense that Texas A&M runs, the RBs don’t get a large number of carries. Still, Melana is an effective back and a solid prospect.
He doesn’t have great size at 5’9" - 195 but he has a solid build and plays with strength. He has very good initial quickness and gets to the hole quickly. He runs with lean and has power. He shows patience and instincts as a runner and has the ability to make a quick cut in the hole. He is a good, cutback type runner. While he doesn’t seem to have top breakaway speed, he has a burst when he finds a seam. He is effective both inside and outside and because of his lean and power, he consistently gets yards after contact. He showed tough inside running skills in the Alabama game and was effective in short yardage.
Melana is a willing and consistent pass blocker who will face up a pass rusher. On the game’s opening play he showed his run block ability, taking out a linebacker. He is used in the passing game and displays good hands. He is used mostly on short routes and check downs and will line up split out at times. He is an effective route runner.
I don’t see Melana as a high pick but he can be an excellent mid round pick who should be a good pro. He has the tools needed to be effective at the next level.