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Colts Draft Preview/Review: Running Backs

Posted May 1, 2014

Leading into the 2014 draft, Colts.com looks back at the top draft picks by positions for non-current players during the Indianapolis era. The series details some of the last Colts taken overall at every roster position and gives a top five prediction for this year. This spotlight: Running backs.






















INDIANAPOLIS – With five picks in the 2014 draft, the Colts are looking to supplement a roster that has helped the team earn consecutive 11-5 records and playoff berths.

 

There have been a number of significant players taken at all roster positions in the last 30 seasons.  Here is a review of the top positional choices of the past, the last five or six taken by the Colts and a listing of my top five choices available in this year’s process (these do not reflect the position of the Colts).

 

TOP RUNNING BACKS TAKEN IN INDIANAPOLIS ERA

 

Winners – Edgerrin James (D1-99, 4th overall; Years: 1999-2005; Starts/Games: 96/96), Marshall Faulk (D1-94, 2nd overall; Years: 1994-98; Starts/Games: 76/77) 

 

James Notes:  Rushed for 9,226 yards and 64 touchdowns on 2,188 attempts and had 356 receptions for 2,839 yards and 11 touchdowns.  Is club rushing leader in attempts, yards, seasonal yards, rookie yards, yardage in a game, 100 games (49) and touchdowns and is only Colt with 200-yard rushing game (219 at Seattle, 2000; 204 at Chicago, 2004).  Became fifth NFL back to open career with two rushing titles (1,553, 1999; 1,709, 2000) and first NFL player with consecutive 1,500 rushing/500 reception yardage seasons.  Became 11th NFL player to win consecutive titles when he plowed for a franchise seasonal mark 1,709 yards in 2000.  Joined Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell, Jim Brown and Bill Paschal as the only players to win consecutive rushing titles to open a career.  Four-time Pro Bowler and was All-Pro.  Said Tom Moore, “I can’t say I was surprised he won two rushing titles to start his career because he was a player of tremendous talent.  He was a little bit like Barry Sanders that that longer the game went and the more carries you gave him, it seemed the game slowed down for him and the better he got.  His work ethic and preparation were second to none.  He was everything you hoped for when you drafted him.”

 

Faulk Notes:  In 77 games with club (click here for story), rushed for 5,320 yards and 42 touchdowns on 1,389 attempts…had 297 receptions for 2,804 yards and nine touchdowns…had four 1,000-yard seasons (1994-95, 97-98)…earned three of seven Pro Bowl bids (1994-95, 98) and three of six All-Pro nominations (1994-95, 98) with Colts…played 1994-98 with Colts before traded to Rams…was Pro Bowl MVP as rookie…had 2,227 scrimmage yards in 1998 with 1,319 rushing/86-908 receiving…became seventh player to open career with consecutive 100-yard games.  Said Ted Marchibroda, “Marshall had his own style.  He was just a natural athlete.  He was a great runner.  Marshall had great, great vision.  He could cut on a dime and could make the big play running and in the passing game.  Marshall backed everything up with his ability.”

 

Runners Up – Albert Bentley, Joseph Addai, Roosevelt Potts (FB).

 

THE LAST FIVE RUNNING BACKS DRAFTED BY COLTS:

2013:  Kerwynn Williams, seventh round, Utah State

2012:  Vick Ballard, fifth round, Mississippi State

2011:  Delone Carter, fourth round, Syracuse

2009:  Donald Brown, first round, Connecticut

2008:  Mike Hart, sixth round, Michigan

 

KELLEY’S TOP FIVE AVAILABLE IN 2014 DRAFT:

 

RUNNING BACKS

 

Carlos Hyde, Ohio State

 

HYDE QUOTE-UNQUOTE:  “I think my game is what separates me (from others).  I bring passion.  I play with a lot of heart.  I bring spark to the offense.  When the offense needs something going, I feel like I can make it happen. … I definitely feel like I should be regarded as the best running back in this draft.  I feel like my game does the talking and if you watch the film, you can see that for yourself.”

 

Bishop Sankey, Washington

 

SANKEY QUOTE-UNQUOTE:  “One of the younger guys I've been modeling my game after and been studying is Giovani Bernard.  I think we’re kind of similar in stature.  I think players have a tendency to do that, watch other guys that are similar to them.  I think we both have good field vision.  We’re able to see what is happening in front of us and be able to make the proper reads and cuts based on what the defense is doing.  My agility, lateral quickness and elusiveness is something I take pride in.  I think it’s one of my strengths.”

 

Jeremy Hill, LSU

 

HILL QUOTE-UNQUOTE:  “I was definitely blessed in college not to have any significant injuries.  I think that’s another advantage I have.  Not playing that many years I won’t have as much wear and tear on my body.  I think that’s a huge thing for me going into the NFL.”

 

Tre Mason, Auburn

 

MASON QUOTE-UNQUOTE:  “I try to model my game after myself.  I want kids to grow up wanting to play like me, so I try have my own style of play and just play like a savage.  If I had to compare, it would probably be somebody like Marshawn Lynch.  I can beat you inside, outside, over you, through you, around you (and) find a way to get six points.”

 

Charles Sims, West Virginia

 

FULLBACKS

 

Trey Millard, Oklahoma

 

ANALYSIS on MILLARD:  Solidly built frame with good muscle packed onto his body.  Balanced athlete with controlled footwork to elude defenders in space.  Light on his feet to hurdle or sidestep defenders while bursting forward.  Deceiving moves and cuts to make defenders miss, using patience and vision.  Packs a punch at the point of attack, brushing off contact and using a stiff arm to pick up chunk yardage.  Soft hands and reliable focus as a pass catcher with 70 career catches. – Dane Brugler, CBSSports.com

 

Ryan Hewitt, Stanford

 

ANALYSIS on HEWITT:  Not a bruiser as lead blocker, plays with more of TE mentality than as a FB.  Very good field awareness, good versatility to contribute (as) H-back.  Works to sustain blocks.  Heavy special teams contributor on multiple units.  When playing under control can cover up defenders and sustain.  Shows very good awareness in pass protection and does nice job keeping leverage and moving feet to keep rushers at bay. – Mel Kiper/Todd McShay, ESPN.com

 

J.C. Copeland, LSU

 

COPELAND QUOTE-UNQUOTE:  “(I want to) be the most aggressive man on the field at all times.  (I want to) show them the fullback is not a lost position.  It’s still there.  Some people may have made it lost.  (There’s) nothing better than (a devastating block), not even a touchdown.  I really like hitting people.”

 

Jay Prosch, Auburn

 

Kiero Small, Arkansas

 

TOMORROW:  Previewing and reviewing tight ends.

 

Note:  The content in this story and in the series of draft-eligible players that appears on Colts.com in no way reflects the position of the Indianapolis Colts.


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