This is the 2016 NFL Combine Field Drills Recap for the running backs. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
2016 NFL Combine: Field Drills Recap - Running Backs By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
The consensus top running back in the draft is Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott, and he cemented that projection at the Combine. His official 40 time was 4.47 seconds, and he had good numbers with a 32.5 vertical and 9-10 in the broad jump. Elliott showed good feet, body lean and balance in the field drills. As a receiver, he had one drop; he needs work on his catching technique. Elliott needs to extend his arms away from his body and not let the ball get too close to him before reeling it in. He did run some good routes, however. Overall, Elliott used the Combine to confirm that he is a top-16 talent.
The star of the 40-yard dash was Georgia running back Keith Marshall. The 5-foot-11, 219-pounder had a shocking 40 time of 4.31. His unofficial hand time was 4.29. As big as Marshall is, that 40 time is phenomenal. In the field drills, he had a dropped pass and showed that his route-running needs work, so Marshall is still a project. Marshall barely played in 2013 and 2014 because of a torn ACL. He had other injuries in 2015, but early in his career, Marshall flashed as a potential play-maker. His medical exam was critical, but Marshall opened eyes with his amazing run at his size. The Combine could really help to put Marshall's draft stock on the map.
Alabama running back Derrick Henry had two very good runs in the 40 considering he is almost 6-foot-3 and weighs 247-pounds. Officially, Henry's 40 time was 4.54 seconds. He also did well in the vertical (37) and the broad jump (10-10). In the field drills, Henry had some quality routes and flashed a pretty catch on a corner-post route. Henry had the workout he needed to confirm his late first-round, early second-round estimate.
San Jose State running back Tyler Ervin was expected to star at the Combine, as he is a fast and undersized back who will look good without pads and hitting. Ervin (5-9, 192) ran the 40 in 4.41 seconds officially. That was as fast as many were thinking he would run. In the field work, Ervin caught the ball well and ran good routes to help his draft stock.
Notre Dame's C.J. Prosise is a runner with a lot of potential. The former wide receiver showed his athletic potential with a 40 time of 4.48. Being a thicker back, the Fighting Irish play-maker posted an excellent time. In the receiving drills, Prosise had one drop, but overall was very impressive. Prosise (6-0, 220) was gliding through the routes, and he showed his natural skills. Prosise has a lot of athletic potential and could be this year's David Johnson as a second-day steal who can hurt defenses as a runner or receiver.
Cal running back Daniel Lasco earned the title of workout warrior. Lasco (6-0, 209) had an official 4.46 time in the 40-yard dash. He also led all of the running backs in the vertical (41.5) and broad jump (11-3). Lasco is a third-down receiving back for the NFL, but this workout could help him to move up draft boards with his athletic upside.
Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon had a mixed workout. Dixon (5-10, 215) had a 40-yard dash time of 4.58 seconds, which was meager in comparison to other backs like Elliott, Henry, Prosise, Marshall, Lasco, Ferguson, and Ervin. However, Dixon showed his excellent receiving skills in the field work and tied for the fastest 10-yard split at 1.56 seconds. Dixon could be a second-day pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but the Combine probably won't cause any teams to move him up their draft boards.
Illinois running back Josh Ferguson quietly enjoyed a strong Combine. He was impressive at the East-West Shrine and did well on Friday. The 5-foot-9, 198-pounder ran the 40 in 4.48 seconds. The speed back could be a mid-round steal.
A rough Combine performance came courtesy of Florida running back Kelvin Taylor. He dropped a number of passes in the field work while also having a slow 40 time (4.60). In the wake of the Combine, it wouldn't be surprising if Taylor slides on day three.