The running back who put up the biggest total on the bench press was Arkansas' Knile Davis. He led the backs with an extremely impressive 31 reps. Davis (5-10, 227) needed that after measuring very small hands (8.58) on Friday. Davis' strength on the bench press could help to mitigate the fumbling concerns that normally accompany backs with small hands. Davis has had injuries in his career and a down junior season, so he needs a big Combine to help him stand out in a crowded running back class.
Vanderbilt running back Zac Stacy (5-8, 216) was one of the most impressive backs on the bench press. Stacy illustrated that he is a dedicated weight room participant with 27 reps of 225 pounds. Stacy has the same hand size as Davis, so it helps the perception of Stacy's ball security for the NFL. There are a lot of good running backs that come out of the mid-to-late rounds, and Stacy could be one them this year.
North Carolina's Giovani Bernard is in contention to be the second running back selected. The 5-foot-8, 202-pounder had 19 reps on the bench press. It was a decent total that shouldn't help or hurt him. He is a shifty speed back and should excel in the field work. Bernard displays some strength as a runner at times, but he won't be a power back in the NFL.
Two smaller backs like Bernard had quality showings on the bench. Oregon's Kenjon Barner (5-9, 196) and Rutgers' Jawan Jamison (5-7, 203) each had 20 reps of 225 pounds. It was especially impressive for Barner, who was a speed back in college. If he runs as well as he is projected, Barner could send a jolt into his draft stock with one of the top overall combine performances among the running backs.
The running back who had the most disappointing showing on the bench press was Wisconsin running back Montee Ball. He tied for the lowest total of any running back with 15 reps. Some slot Ball as an early-round pick and one of the top backs in the draft, but it is widely know that Ball doesn't project to be a speed back in the NFL. Ball needs to make up for it with strength, so his last-place finish on the bench is harmful for his draft stock.
There were a few other running backs who stood out well with quality showings on the bench press. Miami's Mike James had 28 reps that was second only to Davis. Texas A&M's Christine Michael had 27 reps on the bench. The 5-10, 220-pound Michael is a physical specimen. LSU's Michael Ford had 25 reps and Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell had 24 reps. They rounded out the top five among the running backs.
Mock draft using my own draft order based on my season predictions. including Super Bowl predictions.
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