I mentioned one of the more notable free agent options at running back earlier today, Darren Sproles. Free agent running backs are a mixed bag, at best, this year, but the draft looks to have a solid dozen or so players who could be real contributors in the right role, right system.
It's not exactly a state secret that the St. Louis Rams need a backup running back. They have for a few years now, and with the decision to part ways with Kenneth Darby they'll definitely be adding one, or more, between now and the start of the season. Mike Mayock updated his top five lists of prospects at each position today, and his list includes one name that the Rams talked to at the Senior Bowl: Kendall Hunter form Oklahoma State University.
Mayock, a more credible version of The Hair, has Hunter in the fifth spot on his top five list, behind Mark Ingram, Daniel Thomas, Mikel LeShoure and Ryan Williams, in that order. Ingram and LeShoure look like first round picks, Ingram for sure. Thomas' stock is riding high too. Williams and Hunter possess skill sets, though a little different for each one, that would be a good complement to Steven Jackson.
Hunter makes his first appearance on Mayock's top five list this week, not too far removed from an impressive Combine performance. His forty time was faster than any of the others on Mayock's list. Once considered a third or fourth round pick, Hunter is moving up the charts. NFL Draft Scout via CBS Sports has him listed as a second rounder now. Hunter made a strong impression on me at the Combine; however, there are some nice consolation prizes at running back in this year's draft.
Jacquizz Rodgers draft stock has slipped. Hunter replaced him on Mayock's list after his all around disappointing Combine workout.
Take a look at Mayock's list for each position. How good are the defensive ends this year? It's the only position on his list where each name is unquestionably a first round pick.
Beyond Murray, in terms of draft position, other backs I like include:
- DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma - Not everyone's favorite, but he can be a real playmaker with his speed and receiving ability.
- Shane Vereen, Cal - Very similar to the others, but, like Murray, I think he has value running between the tackles too, should the Rams not have Steven Jackson available for a game or two. I'd have doubts about him as a 20-carries-per-game guy. Good blocker too.
- Jordan Todman, UConn - This guy has not had the attention that some of the other backs have, but that could change between now and draft day. Like the others, he can make plays and does his best work on the outside. Questions about his blocking though.
- Da'Rel Scott, Maryland - Injuries are a concern here. Had the best time of any RB at the Combine with a 4.35 forty. Tough too...and fast and tough is a great combination.
- Derrick Locke, Kentucky - Another small speedster, can he be a cheaper version of Darren Sproles?