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PEMBROKE, NC 28372

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Contact the Pine Needle Office:

Phone: 910-521-6204

Email: pineneedle@uncp.edu 

NFL Draft Talk Volume XXXIII

As the NFL draft draws closer and closer here are some questions that are circulating that pertain to prospects and their draft stock as well as their potential and projected impacts at the next level.
Which running back prospects NOT named Josh Jacobs could become starters at the next level?
It seems like the only running back anyone can talk about or deem worthy of receiving consistent praise and pre-draft buzz in former University of Alabama stud Josh Jacobs. Despite not being the starter for his college program and having fewer carrier carries than some of his fellow prospects at his position have had in a single season, he’s the only running back that is projected to be a first-round pick. Here’s a list of some guy that might not get drafted as high as Jacobs but could still become quality starters or even stars at the next level:
•    David Montgomery, Iowa State: He was extremely dynamic and productive for the Cyclones during his collegiate career as he racked up over 3,500 yards from scrimmage and 26 rushing touchdowns over the last three years. He doesn’t possess elite speed, but he is able to break runs for big gains with some shifty moves at the second level of the defense.
     He uses swift side steps, jukes and cuts to make would be tacklers miss and reads the holes that his offensive line opens up then weaves his way through defenders to pick up first downs and score touchdowns. Pundits have compared him to the New York Jets LeVeon Bell because of his patient running style behind his blockers as well as his ability to be a viable threat and reliable target coming out of the backfield or even lining up in the slot.
•    Darrell Henderson, Memphis: Even though Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray won the Heisman trophy last season many believe that Henderson was the most explosive player in all of college football in 2018. He led the nation in rushing with 1,909 yards and led all non-quarterbacks in the country in touchdowns with 22 rushing and three receiving.
     Every time he received a handoff it was like flipping a coin, either he was going to reach the endzone on one of his signature long jaunts. He is recognized as the biggest home run threat in this draft of any player at any position. He excels at bouncing a play to the outside or cutting it across the field and taking it the distance. His big-play ability reminds some draft experts of Jamaal Charles in his heyday when he got into the open field and almost nobody was going to catch him.
•    Justice Hill, Oklahoma State: He is a true three-down back that possesses all of the traits of a featured back and a future Pro Bowler. He runs hard with a low center of gravity that helps him keep his balance and break tackles. Hill also proficient at bouncing a play up the sideline as well as running in between the tackles for tough yards and cutback lanes. He is also a good as a check down receiver out of the backfield who can take advantage of linebackers in coverage.
•    Bryce Love, Stanford: He was being talked about as a first-round pick coming into last season after he decided to come back to Stanford instead of opting to declare for last year’s draft where he was projected to be a late first-round pick. After an underwhelming year where he was hurt for most of it and ended with him tearing his ACL late in the season, he’ll be lucky to crack the fourth round at this point.
     However, if he is able to regain his Heisman finalist form from two years ago, he could become a steal as a late round pick. When healthy, his running style looks so effortless that he appears to be gliding across the gridiron with fluid cuts, jukes and can break off a long touchdown run from anywhere on the field. 
•    Mike Weber, Ohio State: Like many of the Buckeye backs that came before him, he is a tough runner that primarily runs in between the tackles and breaks of large runs by reading the wholes and hitting the creases set before him by his blockers. He will bounce a run to the outside once he gets to the second level and when a play isn’t working to the side it was designed, he won’t hesitate to reverse field and cut it back across the grain of the defense.
•    Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky: He is the purest power back in this draft as the nimble bowling ball makes his money by earning the hard yards up the middle. Snell was prolific for the Wildcats during his three years, surpassing 1,000 yards rushing in each of his seasons in college and totaled 48 touchdowns. He’ll likely be taken on day three of the draft in the fourth or fifth round and will be a proficient goal line and short yardage back. 

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