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Which running back will provide help in '14?

Tue, May 20, 2014

In an effort to wrap up the 2014 edition of the Reese’s Senior Bowl, Executive Director Phil Savage has put together his “official” review of this year’s draft class on a position-by-position basis. With 20 years of National Football League experience as a coach, scout, personnel director and general manager, his comments will communicate a professional feel to the discussion of these prospects and their quest to make an impact in the NFL.


31 of 32 NFL organizations selected at least one Reese's Senior Bowl prospect this year with a total of 84 being chosen over the draft weekend. Here is a breakdown of each round and the number of prospects selected:           

1 7 7 of 32 22%
2 11 18 of 64 28%
3 19 37 of 100 37%
4 18 55 of 140 39%
5 13 69 of 175 39%
6 9 77 of 215 36%
7 7 84 of 256 33%

Five of the eight running backs that participated in Mobile were drafted, with the remaining three prospects signed as free agents.

 Highest Selection                                            

West Virginia’s Charles Sims was chosen in the 3rd round (#69 overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sims has natural acceleration, catches the football well and can also return kickoffs. He will get a legitimate shot to compete for 2014 playtime with Mike James and Bobby Rainey, both of whom saw significant action when Doug Martin went down with an injury last year.

 Senior Bowl Bump                                           

Georgia Southern’s Jerick McKinnon came to Mobile as an option QB/running back athlete that would likely be picked in the later rounds. Instead, he parlayed a strong showing during the practices with a stellar performance at the Combine (32 reps on bench press, 4.41 forty and 40.5” vertical) to become the 3rd round (#96 overall) choice of the Minnesota Vikings. 

 Immediate Help                                                 

The Baltimore Ravens struggled mightily to run the football in 2013 and with unresolved legal issues plaguing Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce also being ineffective last year, they selected Lorenzo Taliaferro from Coastal Carolina in the 4th round (#138 overall). He is a big back (6’0"/230) who can run between the tackles, catch the ball out of the backfield and is a proven pass protector. In Gary Kubiak’s offensive scheme (learned from Mike Shanahan), a number of later round picks have performed well including Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Arian Foster and Alfred Morris. Taliaferro could very well become their next 1,000-yard rusher. 

 Best Value                                                        

Loved the 4th round pick (#130 overall) of James White by the New England Patriots. He has shared time and still produced during a career at Wisconsin that included 4,000-plus rush yards and 73 receptions. He mentally fits in with their team-first concept and will be a dependable role player in Foxboro.


Mobile native Jay Prosch of Auburn was one of only three fullbacks selected on draft weekend. He will have to earn his stripes as a lead blocker and H-back with the Houston Texans who chose him in the 6th round (#211 overall).

 Others of Note                                                

Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews signed with the Tennessee Titans after leading the nation in all-purpose yardage over the past two seasons. David Fluellen of Toledo inked a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles after having six consecutive 100-yard games before fracturing his ankle in late October.