The online sports betting world is hoping that a new collective bargaining agreement will be in place between the NFL owners and the NFL Players’ Association in time to save the April draft.
As people continue to bet on college basketball and the 2011 NHL trade deadline approaches, the price per head experts are putting together their draft previews as though the draft were to go off as scheduled. Here is a look at the top five running backs that will be available in the 2011 NFL draft.
Mark Ingram – Alabama
Mark Ingram is the consensus top running back coming up in this year’s draft. He won the Heisman Trophy in 2009, and runs a 4.48 40-yard dash. He has been working hard with strength and conditioning coaches to improve his size. At 5′ 10″ and 215 pounds, he possesses the strength to run up the middle, but his outside speed is not the best in the draft. He loves to block in the passing game and he is more than capable of taking on speedy and big NFL defenders. He is a good kid, but the legal problems of his father, and former New York Giants wide receiver Mark Ingram, cast a shadow on the younger Ingram’s character. He is a hard worker that is ranked as his as 16th overall in the 2011 draft.
Ryan Williams runs a slightly faster 40-yard dash than Mark Ingram at 4.46. He is also essentially the same size as Ingram at 5′ 10″ and 205 pounds. But he has that extra burst of outside speed that can make him a game changer. He was hampered by injuries last season that has caused his stock to drop from a guaranteed first rounder to a first rounder/possible second rounder. He still needs to work on his blocking, but he is an excellent receiver out of the backfield.
Mikel LeShoure – Illinois
Mikel LeShoure is all about power. He is 6′ tall and 230 pounds. He runs a 4.53 40-yard dash. He can run the ball up the middle with power, but he has issues getting a burst of speed around the corner. He can block with the best of them, He can make up for his lack of initial speed with some very fast feet that can deceive blockers. He has had discipline problems in the past that have included rumored fights with teammates. One such incident saw LeShoure breaking the jaw of a teammate with a punch. LeShoure has talent, but it will be his lack of maturity that will keep him low in the 2011 draft.
Jordan Todman – Connecticut
Jordan Todman had two good years with Connecticut before he was injured in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl. He was the leading rusher for Connecticut in 2009, but fell short of that mark in 2010. Todman is fast with a 4.43 40-yard time, but at 5’9″ and 190 pounds he is small. His size, and inconsistent results in college, will keep him out of the first round of the 2011 NFL draft.
Taiwan Jones may not go until the third or fourth round of the draft, but he has the potential to be one of those success stories you hear about each year in the NFL. At 6′ and 200 pounds, he has decent size. With a 4.53 40-yard time, he also has decent speed. He has had injury problems in the past, but when he is healthy he is one explosive running back. He can get to the hole faster than most backs in his division, and his outside speed makes him extremely difficult for defenders to catch him.
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