Is Stanford's Gerhart overlooked in the RB race?

One problem with the combine hype that comes out of Indianapolis is that we tend to overlook certain players who had good, but not head-turning workouts.

Players like Stanford RB Toby Gerhart.

Not a flashy player, and not a running back who is going to make you look twice after 40-times are posted like we saw with C.J. Spiller of Clemson and Jahvid Best of California. But, his workout was good enough. And for a player his size (6-1, 235), he has enough speed to be productive on the pro level.

Gerhart is a downhill runner that does have an explosive enough first step to move through the hole and get to the second level on Sundays against NFL defenses. We tend to look past a guy like Gerhart due to the fact that he isn’t sexy and isn’t the type of NFL running back who can press the edge, plant and run past NFL defensive backs.

But, he is still a great pick in the middle rounds and could be the type of player that has staying power at the next level.

Although he wasn’t used prolifically at Stanford in terms of catching the ball out of the backfield, he does have the hands to get it done at the next level, along with the ability to pass protect — without a doubt the most challenging aspect of the NFL game for rookie backs.

Think of where he fits. Teams that utilize the downhill power game and teams that spend the first week of training camp perfecting the basic off-tackle running game — because that is how they move the ball. Can you see Gerhart coming downhill in the Lead Strong and the Lead Open? What about Seattle, San Diego or Pittsburgh? I could see him in any of these three backfields as a rookie.

I can, just as I can see him thriving in an offense where he plays a role that gives him five to 10 carries a game behind a No. 1 back.

NFP scout Wes Bunting has Gerhart ranked as the eighth running back prospect among rookies. I think it is a fair grade, but if I am in need of a rookie back — and have other needs in the first two rounds — I keep Gerhart high up on the draft board come April.

And, hope to steal him in the third round.

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