Late Round Running Backs

Writers are mulling over team draft needs as the hysteria this month looms.  Far and away, everyone knows that Tampa needs a defensive end.  Odds are, one worth the 20th overall pick is going to fall to them in the draft.  If not, hopefully a CB or LB will be there and worth the pick.  Either way I don't think the fans will be disappointed with the first round choice as management has viciously attacked the clear cut needs in recent years.  The deeper rounds, where Dominik tends to shine, is where a more mild weakness can be strengthened.

Everyone has heard ad nauseam that the Bucs NEED to supplement LeGarrette Blount with a speed back:  A shifty, "change-of-pace" runner.  With Josh Freeman throwing well and Blount averaging 5 yards a carry, drafting Mark Ingram in the first round would be a waste (unless, for some insane reason, there is absolutely no one else who's deserving of the pick).  

Speed is much sought after, though not a requirement in the running back position.  It is a luxury that would be nice to have.  Blount ran a low 4.7 but through will and power racked up a 1,000 yard season without even playing the whole year. What I like about him is his durability.  He runs hard and  last year he didn't get banged up; very comforting.  Tampa is going to need to find a durable running back with speed- this isn't always easy as they tend to be on the smaller side.  Here are a few backs that should get a closer look in the late rounds of 5-7.

Roy Helu- Nebraska: he's got solid size 6' and 220 lbs- he runs a  4.4 and had a great senior season.  I'm not sure if he'll still be around in the 5th but wouldn't mind Tampa taking him then.

Derrick Locke - Kentucky: Locke disappointed many as he was expected to run a sub 4.4 and churned out a 4.46.  Though watching him play he's got great lateral quickness and vision.  He'll find the hole to get through the line and has a nose for the seam at the second level.  Could fall past the 5th.

Mario Fanin - Auburn: A big, fast kid.  231 llbs moving at sub 4.4 is going to trick someone.  He didn't start in Auburn for a reason, and that's because he can't run.  He catches well and is a serviceable blocker in the backfield- beyond that it's like having a WR.  I can't see him excelling in the NFL while having so much trouble in college.  Especially when the defenses were thinking more about Cam Newton.

Da'Rel Scott - Maryland: At 210lbs, I think he was the fastest RB at the combine with a 4.35.  His best season was 08 as he missed time in the following two for either injury or suspension.  He's a player who is definitely worth a 6th round pick.

Nic Grigsby - Arisona: Just under 200lbs he runs a 4.38.  Nic's pro day is something worth reverie, but he also had an 1,100 yard season in 08.  His other two seasons paled yet he's got curious ability- enough to be worth a 7th round flyer.

Then there are two runners that look good on paper but I would stay away from unless they dropped like a stone:

Noel Divine - West Virginia: His pro day 40 yard dash was 4.26.  At that speed he'd be the 2nd fastest player in the league.  My problem with Noel is he doesn't even weigh 180lbs and stands 5'8''.  He would be able to sneak behind blockers and hit the corner- yet I don't see him being able to last long in the league at such a diminutive frame.  Maybe worth a 7th round pick, but definitely bring him in if he goes undrafted.

DeMarco Murray - Oklahoma: He's got a lot of attractive numbers.  At Ohio, he scored 50 touchdowns for God's sake.  Then he has the audacity to run a 4.38 at the combine (spectacular this year considering the dearth of speed at the position overall in 2011).  However, his 2010 campaign was the only one in which he played more than 9 games.  His injury prone body has cost him significant time throughout his collegiate career, and there is no reason to think it will change once the competition gets tougher.  For Tampa, at least, there would be little reason to take him before the 6th round, maybe the 5th because of his incredible pass catching ability.

These are mostly the speed guys that could be paired with Blount the best.  Clearly a premium will be placed on adroitness at catching the ball with number 27's shyness to do so.   Is there anyone that should be given a closer look?

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