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2017 NFL Draft: BTSC Running Back prospect Big Board

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A position focused teaser for RBs to hold people over as the scores are adjusted and information is added from the combine.

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

STEELERS PICK AT: #30 of the first round; #30 of the second round; #30 of the third round; #41 (compensatory) of the third round; #29 of the fourth round; #29 of the fifth round; #30 of the sixth round; and #30 of the seventh round.

SOURCES: Analysis of needs is based on the discussion at BTSC together with published opinion from people who ought to know what they're talking about. Most of the raw data for this Board came from BTSC articles and comments, cbssports.com, walterfootball.com, the NFL's Draft Tracker site, and SBNation blogs.

YOUR COMMENTS MATTER: The Board is constantly updated to reflect feedback in the Comments. What you see is intended to reflect our community opinion, not the author's personal opinion about what's "right."

Organized by Highest Value ("HV#") to the Steelers. Great players for other teams get downgraded here when they fail to fit the Steelers' openings, system, or other requirements, with enormous downgrades moved to the "Ain't Gonna Happen" list at the end. An HV of 1:25 means the player is a reach for the Steelers at any point before Pick # 25 overall but good value at any point from the end of the 1st on. Getting that player in the early 2nd would be fine, while getting him at 2:14 would almost be a steal. Yes, this system results in a certain amount of grade inflation for positions of need because we are talking about the "highest" grade, not the one where a player is expected to go; grades are never pushed up just because of need, however. Players with the same HV# are more-or-less equivalent so don't sweat the order inside each grouping. I tried to group them by position: Defense, then Offense, inside to out.

The Position: Le'Veon Bell is likely to be the franchise back again this year and that tends to put a cap on the value of a position. The inability for most backs in the draft to project much field time except in Bell's absence reflects in the higher rankings of backs who can find other ways to be useful and discount grades that would have to compete as a backup.

Rounds are subdivided as follows:

  • 1st Round grades: 1:01, 1:05, 1:10, 1:15, 1:20, or 1:25.
  • 2nd & 3rd Round grades: Early (#:01), Mid (#:12), or Late (#:24).
  • 4th to 7th Round grades: Early (#:01) or Late (#:16).

    HV

    Info

    1:25

    Christian McCaffrey, RB/WR, Stanford - 5'11", 202 lbs. with 30" arms and 9" hands. McCaffrey is the only running back in the entire draft with a 1st round grade on the BTSC Board. It's not that he's a better back than guys like Fournette. He's not. The key is that McCaffrey's skill set would allow him to stay on the field when Lev Bell is also there. McCaffrey does what Bell does in the sense that he could start in the NFL at either RB or WR, but he does it from a different angle. Where Bell comes at it as a power back with surprising speed and the abilities of a possession receiver, McCaffrey is a speed back with surprising power, the abilities of a super shifty slot receiver, and the durability to average 30 touches per game in both 2015 and 2016. He's also the single best returner in the entire draft and has NFL bloodlines through his Dad, the very estimable receiver Ed McCaffrey. Our own Nicholas.Martin points to this article about his work ethic, as if there was any doubt. Here is a YouTube video scouting profile. This goes to his NFL.com scouting profile, which compares him to Tiki Barber. Here is the Walter Football RB page. Even the doubters had to step back when McCaffrey flat out owned the Combine.

    STEELERS PICK AT 1:30

    2:12

    Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee - 5'10", 214 lbs. with 32-3/4" arms and 9/-1/4" hands. Kamara and Curtis Samuel are the only running backs besides McCaffrey who might earn consideration from the Steelers in the first two rounds. Kamara is a fast, slashing runner with excellent speed, tremendous receiving ability/hands, and amazing kick return skills. There were two team suspensions for 'behavioral issues', so proving that he's coachable will be important. He also needs to work on his ball security and some technical issues that pro coaching should be able to solve. The bottom line is this: Kamara is no-kidding good enough at both to stay on the field with Bell as opposed to just replacing him when the need arises, and thus fills several small Steeler holes in one package (backup RB, return ace, miscellaneous offensive weapon, upgrade on Toussaint). That's where his value lies. I recommend starting with this gif-heavy, analytical scouting report from our sister site for the Eagles, which concludes that Kamara is a better version of Danny Woodhead. This fine scouting profile from our sister site for the Jets also ends with a fringe-1st value in line with our thinking. This January scouting profile is as critical as you'll find, largely based on a supposed 'lack of power to move the pile' that both the NFL.com scouting profile and his 215 pound size would dispute. This Patriots-oriented scouting profile compares Kamara to Duke Johnson, which seems apt. This February, Tampa-oriented scouting profile was posted in response to a Daniel Jeremiah mock that sent Kamara to the Buccaneers at 1:19 (a grade Mike Mayock would not dispute). This particularly critical scouting profile thinks Kamara is in serious need of weight room work and ends with a shocking Round 4 grade. Here is a YouTube video scouting report that ends with a Round 4 grade based on durability concerns. This typically-careful scouting report from Matt Waldman also avoids the hype train due to decision-making concerns. This goes to an interesting scouting profile posted after Mayock's "Wow, 1st-round" comments. It concludes that Kamara is an ideal split-the-load runner rather than a 25 carry-per-game workhorse. The Walter Football RB page compares him to a Jamaal Charles runner with "phenomenal" receiving skills.

    STEELERS PICK AT 2:30

    3:01

    Curtis Samuel, WR/RB, Ohio State - 5'11", 196 lbs. With 31-1/4" arms and 9-½" hands. Curtis Samuel was used all over the field by Ohio State because he is an amazing playmaker in space. And fast - a 4.31 at the Combine. Alas, he seems to be more a slot receiver than a RB, and thus less desirable to a Steeler team that's well stocked at that position. (For earlier hopes see this December gif-supported scouting report considering him as a RB, this more recent scouting profile viewing him as a dual-purpose offensive coordinator's toy, and this 4-minute video scouting report from Matt Waldman, who views him as a scat back with the ability to play WR). Here is the NFL.com scouting profile, which mentions that some scouts consider him a more "linear" athlete than most people describe. The most common comparison is the one at Walter Football: Percy Harvin. This Fox Sports scouting profile agrees: Percy Harvin. This goes to a 4 minute video scouting report. The general run of comments makes a very clear picture: an all-purpose offensive weapon, but too small to hold up at RB; a mismatch nightmare who needs the right scheme to be successful; etc.

    3:12

    D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texas - 6'0", 233 lbs. with 31-3/8" arms and 10-1/8" hands. [Meeting at the Combine] Probably the best power back in the draft, with enough speed and shiftiness to run for over 2000 yards in 2016. He is particularly good at finding cracks in short yardage and goal line situations. Foreman met with the Steelers at the Combine, and therefore deserves some extra study from us. Pass protection is cited as a weakness in his NFL.com scouting profile, a knock that this long, gif-supported scouting report agrees with. This scouting profile takes a completely opposite view, calling him the best blocker in the draft, and PFF did a study showing that he gave up zero sacks. Go figure. This excellent, gif-heavy scouting report emphasizes Foreman's power game ("an eighteen wheeler"), but notes some fumbling issues that others do too. This scouting profile agrees with most others that he is a 2nd Round value. This Panthers-oriented scouting profile compares Foreman to Jonathan Stewart, unfortunately including a bit of the injury bug. This scouting profile from our sister site for the Giants puts his value in the 2-4 range, dependent largely on how he tests. This scouting profile from our sister site for the Jets ends with a Round 2 grade as a pure two-down player; which says something about how good he is for those two downs. These links go to a 4-minute video scouting report, a 5-minute scouting report, and a 13-minute video scouting report. This scouting profile joins others in making a comparison to Legarrette Blount's running style. This scouting profile prefers a comparison to Eddie Lacey.

    3:12

    Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma - 6'1", 227 lbs. Maybe the best running back in the draft on talent alone, Mixon has a huge red flag for a domestic violence incident when he was 18, lost it, and punched a girl in the head (on film), and incident that BTSC has discussed in great detail and is discussed well but in a more lighthearted way here. Here is a Sports Ilustrated article on point. This grade is based solely on his Round 1 talent, discounted by a huge and unfair amount because he would be a substitute for Bell rather than a complement. In fact, Lev Bell is the most common NFL comparison and the one used in the NFL scouting profile. (Mixon really does have that kind of talent as both a runner and receiver). Here is an interesting scouting profile knocking Mixon for his "arrogance on the field" and seeing that as being somehow connected to the off-field stuff. Here is a nice play-by-play scouting report. Another solid scouting profile with a Lev Bell comparison. A 4 minute video scouting profile. Here is a 5 minute Matt Waldman video studying his footwork alone. Not getting invited to the combine could drop his stock a bit.

    3:12

    Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma - 5'11", 233 lbs. with 30-3/8" arms and 10" hands. A tough, very strong, downhill bowling ball who gets the extra yard every time, while also having some nifty jump-cut elusiveness and more speed than you'd think. If he hadn't been hidden behind an all-world talent in Joe Mixon, Perine would probably rank a lot higher in the public mind. He gets a discount on this Board because he'd only get the chance when Lev Bell wasn't available to do so, but he'd be great in that backup and/or closer capacity and it may not hurt that he's used to being the #2 guy. A team captain and great locker room guy Mike Mayock describes as "underrated." Playing behind Mixon, Perine set the all-time Oklahoma rushing record and also owns the record for the greatest single rushing performance in college history (427 yards!). This goes to an excellent, gif-supported scouting report from our sister site for the Eagles (including this link to an article on his fabulous work ethic and team dedication), which concludes with a Top 50 grade and a strong comparison to Maurice Jones-Drew. But don't get too excited just yet. This goes to a much more critical scouting profile that ends with a Round 5 grade based on a lack of elusiveness, which is not what I just saw in those gifs. This scouting profile is a bit less critical, but still ends in a Round 4 grade. But that is countered by this gif-supported scouting report ends with a Round 2-3 grade and a comparison to Spencer Ware. Get the idea? Perine's stock varies a lot in the eye of the beholder. Here's another extremely positive scouting profile (Round 2 grade, especially if he drops some weight). This goes to one of the epic length Matt Waldman video scouting reports, which concludes by emphasizing the weight issue and suggesting that a Samaje Perine who drops some pounds could experience a Bell-like change in his quickness. Which would be Wow! Here is a Vikings-oriented scouting profile.

    3:12

    Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU - 6'0", 212 lbs. with 31-1/4" arms and 10" hands. Williams is a good, solid, all-around back who'd be a fine backup for Lev Bell. Mike Mayock called him a "tough, downhill, does everything back" who's particularly noticeable as a finisher. As outlined in this solid mid-process scouting profile, Williams is a powerful downhill runner who routinely breaks arm tackles, has enough slickness to make people miss, and enough speed to gobble up yards if he breaks free. Nice patience before the hole and burst through it as well. He comes to the league as more of a two-down back, however, because his pass blocking skills aren't great (something learnable) and he's never really been used as a receiver. Williams' college career had a couple of seemingly minor off-field bumps in the road with time off in 2015 for undisclosed "personal reasons" (also reported as violations of team rules) and a Junior season that included a suspension for drinking, which wouldn't have mattered as much if this wasn't BYU. There was also a 2015 knee injury. Here is his NFL.com scouting profile. This February scouting profile appears to be more detailed than most and is worth a read. This goes to a gif-supported scouting report from our sister site for the Eagles, and this to a simpler scouting profile from our sister site for the Jets. This goes to a 4-minute video scouting report. This video scouting profile from Matt Waldman is typically thorough (see this Colts-fan discussion about it), but goes back to October (same thing for this October scouting profile). This scouting profile considers him a Day 2 value. This January article gives a summary of various positive opinions as of that date. This goes to the (for now) brief CBS scouting profile. This scouting profile is typical by its emphasis on Williams' ability to get extra yards by moving a pile, combined with surprising shiftiness but a lack of true 3rd-down back characteristics. This February article discusses the Round 3 grade from Mel Kiper. And just in case you needed more, here is a briefer scouting profile from January.

    3:24

    Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson- 6'0", 215 lbs. with 32-5/8" arms and 9-1/8" hands. [Meeting at the Combine] An excellent runner who deserves a higher grade, but for the Steelers he needs a steep discount because he'd only see the field if Bell was hurt or taking a breather. His NFL.com scouting profile describes a hard, nasty and competitive running style bigger than his body measurements, with some major technical flaws that coaching might be able to fix. This scouting profile ends with a Round 3 grade based on a limited ceiling versus a broad range of assets. This goes to a stat-heavy December scouting profile. This gif-heavy scouting profile ends with a Round 3-4 grade based on his tenacity, balanced by problems with his pad level, blocking ability, and possibly durability. You can add in "long strider" if you are a fan of pure quickness. This good, gif-supported scouting report emphasizes that Gallman is a competent 3-down back but not an overly brilliant athlete in any particular way, ending with a Round 2 grade. This Raiders oriented, gif-supported scouting report ends with a Round 2 grade but a Round 3 estimate on the theory that other talents in this particular draft will push him down.

    3:24

    Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo - 5'11", 208 lbs. with 31-3/8" arms and 9-5/8" hands. A standout at the Senior Bowl for some good runs that featured shiftiness and acceleration in the hole. Mike Mayock and the crew have particularly praised his fantastic "contact balance", meaning the ability to get hit but still stay on his feet. That kind of decisive running is what the NFL.com scouting profile worried he might not have. He'd fit particularly well in Pittsburgh because he could compete to be Bell's backup without duplicating the skill set already provided by Karlos Williams. This late January scouting profile ends with a (somewhat optimistic) Round 2 grade, but is fair when it calls him a power runner with shifty feet - a good combination. This scouting profile from a Chiefs site ends with a fringe-2nd grade, noting that the only real drawback to Hunt's game is a lack of breakaway speed. This solid January scouting profile emphasizes Hunt's effort and balance, limited once again by the lack of long speed. Here is an admiring scouting profile from a Colts site - a team that needs a good running back and thus takes this year's bumper crop seriously.

    STEELERS PICK TWICE AT 3:30 and 3:41

    4:01

    De'Angelo Henderson, RB, Coastal Carolina - 5'7", 208 lbs. with 9-1/2" hands. No, those measurements are not a typo. This is the ultimate fireplug. A favorite prospect ever since the Combine coverage, when both Daniel Jeremiah and Marshall Faulk noted an uncanny similarity to Maurice Jones-Drew. An MJD clone would be the perfect backup for Lev Bell, and would manage to do it without duplicating the power back approach of Karlos Williams. As discussed in the NFL.com scouting profile, Henderson is fast (4.48), explosive (34" vertical despite his build), and "with access to an accelerator that gets him around the corner or through the line of scrimmage quickly". The biggest knock is level of competition and a need to work on various coachable problems. This goes to a brief scouting profile (many will surely follow after the Combine). Henderson is keeping a draft diary if you want to see something more personal (Hint: he didn't like being tried out as a fullback).

    4:01

    Brian Hill, RB, Wyoming - 6'1", 219 lbs. with 31-3/8" arms and 8-7/8" hands. An excellent runner who'd rank even higher if he'd shown any ability as a receiver and possessed just a bit more in the way of breakaway speed. Stylewise, Hill is a big, strong runner with enough wiggle to make the first guy miss, and notably good skills as a pass protector. Hill also excelled in the Combine tests for explosiveness, which makes sense in light of his ability to get skinny in the hole and then shoot suddenly through. This goes to a nice scouting profile from a Colts perspective. Here is a comparable scouting profile from a Broncos POV. This goes to a decent, if brief scouting profile from a Patriots angle. This scouting profile calls him a "good all-around running back" and compares him to DeMarco Murray. Here's a good description: "A gritty, fast-twitched runner that gets skinny in the hole." Here is a fun one: a "showdown" scouting profile on Marlon Mack vs. Brian Hill. Here is a fair but quite critical scouting profile. This scouting profile is similar -€” critical but fair. This more positive scouting profile touts Hill's "superb vision."

    4:16

    Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin - 5'10" 220 lbs. with 30-1/2" arms and 9-3/4" hands. Corey Clement is a tough call. His physical skills - especially the elusiveness and jump cuts in such a large man - deserve a higher grade. But the NFL.com scouting profile lists some really serious rumors along these lines: "Scouts have labeled him 'entitled' and question his football character and leadership." And this quote attributed to an NFC North scout: "He checked out mentally on the entire 2015 season and wasn't very well liked inside that program. Then you add durability concerns and that's a problem." We, of course, can neither confirm nor rebut such rumors. This very solid scouting profile emphasizes that his coach tried to rebut those rumors in a letter sent to every NFL team. That says something, as does the fact that his local NFL franchise (the Packers) gave him an interview. If the Steelers pick him we can assume the rumors are false - that is exactly the sort of thing that no one named Tomlin or Rooney is going to tolerate. In the Combine coverage Mike Mayock described Clement as a "good, tough football player" who can pass protect well but isn't much of a receiver. The author of this scouting profile ranks Clement as his #5 RB in the class. This scouting profile agrees that he has "a ton of raw potential." This gif-supported scouting report from our sister site for the Texans wins hands down as an attempt at detailed analysis.

    4:16

    James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh - 6'1", 233 lbs. with 31-1/4" arms and 9-7/8" hands. Showed phenomenal strength of character in overcoming a diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma to return to the field and excel. Strong runner that tends to blow through arm tackles and aggressive with stiff-arms. He looks to be a solid choice of a goal line back but may lack the agility and acceleration to make some of the more finesse-driven runs happen. OTOH, he has reported that the cancer rehab slowed him down in 2016, which makes a lot of sense. So there's probably some upside that didn't show up on his recent film. Conner obviously comes with some medical concerns, and is of limited use as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Here is his NFL.com scouting profile. This goes to a scouting profile from our sister site for the Giants.

    4:16

    Marlon Mack, RB, USF - 5'11", 213 lbs. with 32" arms and 9" hands. [Meeting at the Combine] Excellent speed and very accomplished as a receiver out of the backfield and split wide, who has shown consistent production with three straight 1,000 yard seasons but projects as more of a 3rd-down specialist to upgrade Fitz Toussaint than the desired backup for Lev Bell. This goes to a brief scouting profile. Here is the NFL.com scouting profile, which emphasizes Mack's great elusiveness ("looks like he has ball bearings in his hips") and top notch speed, tied to some fumbling issues and questionable power. Here is a fun one: a "showdown" scouting profile on Marlon Mack vs. Brian Hill.

    4:16

    Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise St. - 5'9", 212 lbs. with 31-1/2" arms and 10" hands. An elusive back that doesn't dance too much. McNichols has good vision and sets up his offensive line well. Very fluid and quick when changing direction. He has the ability to run up the middle as well as split out as a pass catching option. May not have exceptional top speed and there are questions about his ability to break tackles in the NFL. Had trouble holding onto the ball and struggled in pass protection. Here is his NFL.com scouting profile.

    STEELERS PICK AT 4:29

    5:01

    Aaron Jones, RB, UTEP - 5'9" 208 lbs. with 32-1/2" arms and 9-1/2" hands. A very productive but little known running back who was buried in the field until he blew up the Combine with best of show performances in the [drawing a breath] vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill, short shuttle, and long shuttle. Whew! The red flags are level of competitions and a DUI in March of 2015. Stylistically, Jones seems to be a big play specialist who thrives on long runs and RAC. This goes to a stats-heavy scouting profile. Here is an interview where he touts his versatility. Mike Mayock describes him as a straight line but very productive small school prospect.

    5:07

    Matt Dayes, RB, N.C. State - 5'9" 205 lbs. With 30" arms and big 10-1/2" hands. A decent enough prospect as a contributing role player, especially on 3rd down where his pass catching skills would add value, but probably not an improvement on Toussaint. Here is the NFL.com scouting profile. This goes to a much more positive scouting profile that ends with a Round 3 grade. Here is a scouting profile from our sister site for the Redskins. This scouting profile ends with a decent video of his Clemson game plus a nice, pith summary: "A lesser Gio Bernard."

    5:16

    T.J. Logan, RB, UNC - 5'9" 196 lbs. with 32" arms and 9" hands. A lightning fast (4.37) scat back with decent toughness and kick return skills. Has some fumbling issues. Would be a replacement for Fitz Toussaint rather than a backup for Bell. Here is the NFL.com scouting profile. This goes to a brief scouting profile.

    5:16

    Joe Williams, RB, Utah - 5'11" 210 lbs. with 30-3/4" arms and 9-3/8" hands. Joe Williams is one of those awful evaluations where you need to start by acknowledging the solid Day 2 physical talent, which is particularly good because it doesn't really overlap with either Karlos Williams or Fitz Toussaint, and then discount his stock well into Day 3 because of all the red flags. Getting the nasty part out of the way first, Williams was booted out of U. Conn. due to a credit card theft scandal, and then he "retired from football" for a month in 2016 before coming back in a blaze of glory after the other Utah RB's got hurt. All of which adds up to a gigantic, "WTF?" He's addressed the retirement thing directly in this February USA Today article, which details a huge, emotional, and quite moving story tied in with his 7 year old sister's death - which happened back in 2013. Here is a story about the story on NFL.com, and a similar article from Profootballtalk.com.  In a nutshell, he seems to have had a delayed emotional breakdown that took him some time and work to get through. View it as you will; it probably says more about the viewer than the viewee. Getting back to the field, Williams is a fast, well rounded runner with decent power, good burst, superb contact balance, and some nice wiggle. The downsides are some fumbling questions plus a combination of bad hands and poor blocking that force him off the field on 3rd downs. Here is the NFL.com scouting profile. This goes to a nice scouting profile from our sister site for the Jets. This links to a January scouting profile. This February scouting report can't get over the red flags.

    STEELERS PICK AT 5:29

    6:01

    Taquan Mizzell, RB, Virginia - 5'10" 195 lbs. Another prospect from our own Igloojoe: "Taquan Mizzell is a very well rounded change of pace back. He's a good runner, receiver, and blocker. He was rated as the #4 change of pace back by drafttek.com, and was seen with the same conclusion by draftblaster.com. He recently lit up the NFLPA game, drawing in rave reviews from this fansided article and this chiefswire article. Mizzell reminds me a ton of a healthy Shane Vereen."

    6:16

    Tarik Cohen, RB, N. Car. A&T - 5'6" 179 lbs. with 29-3/4" arms and big 10-1/8" hands. And now we come to the young man "Nicknamed The Human Joystick for his ability to make seemingly impossible cuts" (a quote from the NFL scouting profile). Our own Tannofsteel did this Fanpost scouting profile, which includes a photo of Cohen's fabulous parlor trick where he catches TWO footballs while doing a backflip. That's just wrong. Cohen may have the funnest highlight real in the draft. He is the ultimate "make something out of nothing" "turn every run into a punt return" guy. The obvious downside is size. 5'6"? Really? Yes, it's a solid 5-6, but really? Mike Mayock compared him to Donte Hall during the Combine coverage. This Combine overreaction scouting profile ends with a Round 3 grade ("Darren Sproles 2.0 couldn't be any more accurate").

    6:16

    Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego St. - 5'8" 176 lbs. with 29" arms and 8-1/2" hands (he played in the 160's). If you thought Tarik Cohen was small, take note that Donnel Pumphrey, the all time rusher in college football history - is only an inch taller and is three pounds lighter. Tiny. [Insert painful memory of Dri Archer]. Mike Mayock has acknowledged the "outstanding jump cut", and Marshal Faulk (an alumnus of San Diego St.) swears that Pumphrey can take the NFL pounding, but our experience has just been too harsh. This scouting profile ends with a Round 4 grade. This scouting profile from a Patriots POV more or less agrees.

    STEELERS PICK AT 6:30

    7:01

    Elijah McGuire, RB, UL Lafayette - 5'10", 214 lbs. with 31" arms and 9" hands Athletic one cut runner with a good wiggle on the approach to the line. He has some limited experience as a punt returner and has the ability to split out and play as a receiver. Good speed, pass catching, and acceleration but has trouble breaking tackles. He has some injury concerns as well as some struggles with vision that raise questions about his ability at a higher level. Here is his NFL.com scouting profile.

    7:01

    Stanley "Boom" Williams, RB, Kentucky - 5'7" 190 lbs. with 30" arms and 8-5/8" hands. A scat back with decent speed, exceptional change of direction, and one of the best nicknames in college sports. The big red flag is that he actually plays smaller than his size, more or less avoiding contact wherever he can. At least that's how the NFL.com scouting profile sees it. This scouting profile from Matt Waldman views things similarly, but in a more nuanced and helpful way. This article compares him to more successful Size XS talents such as Sproles, Dion Lewis, and Dexter McCluster. This goes to a brief scouting profile from a Bills POV, which ends with a Round 7 grade. Here is a more positive article from Cincy Jungle, which views Williams as the "most underrated" RB in the draft. There is a brief Steelers-oriented scouting profile at page 11 of 11 in this Bleacher Report article.

    7:16

    Jahad Thomas, RB, Temple - 5'10", 190 lbs. with 30-1/8" arms and 9" hands. A scat back who is an excellent receiver and, according to Mike Mayock, an "edge" to his running. He might become a decent 3rd down back but probably not an improvement on Toussaint. Here is the NFL.com scouting profile. He has kick return experience which would help his case if he had a little more athleticism to go along with it.

    7:16

    Lenard Tillery, RB, Southern - 5'10" 200 lbs. Per Igloojoe, that endless source of late round research: "A lot of people have heard of Tarik Cohen out of the FCS, but another late round back to keep an eye on is Lenard Tillery. Tillery is an explosive back, with fairly good speed, and is also a good kick returner for the Jaguars. At Southern, Tillery became the SWAC's all time leading rusher after walking on. He was named as a standout out at the NFLPA Shrine game by the Browns 247 sports site. Here's some game film and highlights of him."

    STEELERS PICK AT 7:30

    Developmental Players On The Roster

    Why draft what you already have? Here are the lesser-known players that are waiting to compete with this year's incoming draft class.

    Info

    Brandon Brown-Dukes, RB - 5'8", 200 lbs. Went undrafted in 2016 and spent time on the practice squad. Didn't test that well in terms of speed but showed some quickness during the "football in shorts" period last year.

    Gus Johnson, RB - 5'11", 215 lbs. Went undrafted in 2015 and reportedly showed borderline athletic ability and little value as a third down back.

    The Ain't Gonna Happen List

    NOTE: This list isn't meant as a "garbage slot" for players who aren't worthy of an exalted spot on the Steelers roster. Most of the following prospects are more like Tiffany window jewels that the Steelers lack the draft-capital to buy at a proper price. Or to look at it another way, these are the players who, if they fall far enough to be worth the pick for Pittsburgh, would be worth more yet as trade bait that would net a premium price from a team with greater needs at his position. Plus it's just plain silly (and a little offensive) to give these guys a Steelers-specific grade that is so much lower than where they should get picked.

    Name, Rank & Serial No.

    Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State - 5'11", 213 lbs. An awesome talent with some troubling character issues ranging from an accusation that he punched a girl (tried on misdemeanor battery and found not guilty) to another one that he chained three pit bull puppies out in the rain. A classic cut-and-slasher, Cook Ain't Gonna Happen because he'd only see the field when Bell came off.

    Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU - 6'1", 230 lbs. He's got it all. If Leveon Bell got hit by a meteor, this would be the dream pick. But until that happens he's not a good fit - Fournette and Bell would have to share carries rather than being on the field at the same time, and that Ain't Gonna Happen.