Draft Notes: RBs, WRs, Team Tendencies

For those who like to hear what scouts have to say, there’s nobody more connected than Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In his latest “Rating the NFL draft prospects” series, McGinn looks at the running back position and ranks his top-10, based on what he’s seen and what he’s heard from scouts.

At the top is Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde. “Complete player,” one scout told McGinn. “Stud. He’s powerful. Great athlete. Great run feel. Catches the ball very well. He’ll block. Picks up all the protections, even calls some protections. He’s a good-hearted kid but he needs mentoring.”

Behind Hyde are LSU’s Jeremy Hill and Washington’s Bishop Sankey, the latter drawing comparisons to Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith. Rounding out his top-five are Tre Mason of Auburn and Andre Williams of Boston College.

In a complement to his running bank rankings, McGinn examines how the position has become devalued over the years. NFL teams, on average, draft 1.8 runners in the first round this decade compared to 4.9 in the ’80s, a precipitous drop.

More draft notes from around the league…

  • The Charlotte Observer takes a look at the 79 wide receivers taken in the first and second rounds of the past 10 drafts. According to the Observer’s 2013 rankings, about one in four — 21 of 79 — rank among the Top 40.
  • If you’re curious of a certain general manager’s drafting habits, National Football Post’s Tony Villioti dug through 10 seasons worth of results for some gleaning insight. A few notable items, of which there are many: The Jets drafted just one receiver in the first three rounds (the fewest), the Ravens and Bengals drafted 17 and 16 receivers, respectively, and only four teams — Bears, Cowboys, Saints, Texans — did not draft a quarterback in rounds 1-3 in the 10-year study.
  • In defense of the NFL combine, Peter Keating of ESPN The Magazine (subscription required) writes that the bench press and 40-yard dash can predict the future success of players in the league.
  • Citing the player’s postseason draft success and his collegiate résumé, ESPN Insider Louis Riddick (subscription required) names Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald as the best defensive prospect in the 2014 draft class.
  • With picks made by beat writers of each of the 32 teams, Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times passes along this mock draft with only two quarterbacks going in the first round. Also of note is the Dolphins‘ first-round pick, Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles.
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