Despite some notable omissions (Darwin Thompson, Bruce Anderson, Darrin Hall and Devine Ozigbo), nearly 30 running backs received invitations to participate at the NFL Scouting Combine. While there are a few prospects that profile as true feature guys at the next level, the class is mostly compiled of niche backs that project as complementary pieces in a stable of backs.
With that said, the Combine can be a useful tool in separating similar prospects and siding with the guy that features a more explosive and fast athletic profile. Let's examine the three running backs with the most to prove in Indianapolis.
Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic
Singletary is an absolute joy to watch on film. The cuts he executes often don't make sense and lead to some of the most creative tracks I've ever seen a running back take. His elusive ability is rare and tacklers just look silly trying to square him up in space.
The strange thing about how Singletary wins and how he profiles to the next level is that he doesn't have the burst or long speed expected for his skill set. While he makes insanely dynamic cuts, his acceleration and home run speed disappoint. Is he faster than I am giving credit for? We'll find out in Indy.
I'd also expect a back with his creativity and ability to create in space to be featured more as a receiver in college. He only caught six passes in 2018, with his receiving output declining every season of his career at FAU. Why wasn't catching the football a bigger part of his collegiate role? We'll get a deep look at his ability to run routes and catch the football at the Combine. Looking natural doing so will boost his stock.
Darrell Henderson, Memphis
I recently popped on the Henderson film to write up his scouting report and I didn't get the player I was expecting. He's listed at 5-foot-9 and 200 pounds and averaged 8.9 yards per carry over the last two seasons. Surely this is an explosive back, right?
Well it's not that he's slow, I just expected more breakaway speed. He's much more quicker than fast and his contact balance is far better than I was anticipating. I expect his agility testing to be superb but does he have more long speed than I perceived on his tape? His forty-yard dash will be revealing.
Not to the degree of Singletary, but I would have expected more receiving production from Henderson in college. His modest production came via screens and swing passes while running a very limited route tree. On the reps he did catch the football, Henderson did not always appear natural catching it. I'm also interested in focusing closely on his routes and hands in drills at the Combine.
Qadree Ollison, Pittsburgh
I think Ollison is being slept on a bit in this year's running back crop.
He started his career with 1100 yards and 11 TDs in a standout freshman season, but faded in 2016 and 2017. He’s re-stablished himself as a senior and rushed for 1134 yards and 10 TDs, showcasing an exciting blend of size, power, vision and acceleration.
For a back listed at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, Ollison can really scoot. See for yourself:
For a team searching for value on Day 3 at running back, Ollison has a skill set worth investing in. I think he can test very well relative for his size and generate some buzz at the Combine.
Here's the full list of running back participants.
|Rodney Anderson||RB||Oklahoma||Big 12|
|Alex Barnes||RB||Kansas St.||Big 12|
|Karan Higdon||RB||Michigan||Big Ten|
|Justice Hill||RB||Oklahoma St.||Big 12|
|Alexander Mattison||RB||Boise St.||Mountain West|
|David Montgomery||RB||Iowa St.||Big 12|
|Jalin Moore||RB||Appalachian St.||Sun Belt|
|Miles Sanders||RB||Penn St.||Big Ten|
|L.J. Scott||RB||Michigan St.||Big Ten|
|Devin Singletary||RB||Florida Atlantic||Conference USA|
|Mike Weber||RB||Ohio St.||Big Ten|
|Dexter Williams||RB||Notre Dame||IA Independents|
|James Williams||RB||Washington St.||Pac-12|
|Trayveon Williams||RB||Texas A&M||SEC|