2015 NFL Scouting Combine: Six running backs under scrutiny

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Prospects to watch at combine: LB | DL | OL | WR/TE | RB | QB


The NFL Scouting Combine runs Feb. 17-23 in Indianapolis, and it brings together 323 of the nation's most draftable players and numerous front-office representatives and scouts from each NFL team.


» Prospects with most to prove at 2015 NFL Scouting Combine


A big portion of the combine is the individual events, such as the 40-yard dash, the bench press and the vertical jump.

Part 2 of our position-by-position look at the combine puts the spotlight on running backs. We look at six players who will be scrutinized this year and also look at notable event performances in the last five combines. We'll also look at how notable current NFL players performed in their combine events.

Six to watch this year

Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska: His lack of size -- he measured 5-foot-8 1/4 and 198 pounds at the Senior Bowl -- is bothersome to some scouts, but his production was impressive; he was a full-time starter in his final two seasons with the Huskers and rushed for 3,301 yards and 28 TDs in those seasons. He also has proved himself as a receiver and return man. He is not a blazer, and his 40 time will be scrutinized. But he is quick, and his work in some of the other drills should be impressive.

Javorius "Buck" Allen, USC: He quietly piled up 1,489 yards this season and added 41 receptions in USC's pro-style offense. Most see him as an early third-day pick. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein touts his "ability to cut on a dime," and Allen will be hoping to impress in the drills at the combine. In doing so, he could move into the second-day discussion.

Tevin Coleman, Indiana: He was overshadowed in his own league by Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, but Coleman had a phenomenal year, especially considering Indiana didn't have a legitimate passing attack in the second half of the season. Coleman rushed for 2,036 yards and was a big-play machine, and he certainly is in the running to be the third back selected. He has a background in a pass-oriented offense; the Hoosiers threw a lot in 2013 and in the first half of the '14 season. Comparing his 40 time to the other backs will be fun, especially considering Coleman is 6-1 and 210 pounds.

Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin: With Georgia's Todd Gurley unlikely to participate in any individual events as he rehabs from a torn ACL, Gordon will get a lot of the running back spotlight. He seems likely to go in the first round, and Gurley's injury might mean Gordon will be the first back selected. Gordon deservedly received a ton of hype after rushing for 2,587 yards in 2014, second-most in FBS history. He also showed more as a receiver and blocker, though there still are questions about those facets of his game. His 40 times and results in the shuttle and cone drills, if he chooses to do those, could be noteworthy.

Duke Johnson, Miami: Johnson is another player who was overshadowed this season, but he ended his career as the leading rusher in Miami history, an impressive feat, considering the Hurricanes have produced a number of top-flight running backs. Johnson is a good receiver, which adds to his value and is a reason he could be the third back selected. He has had some injury issues, and his medical report will be scrutinized. His times in the 40 and several other drills should be impressive.

T.J. Yeldon, Alabama: Yeldon is NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks' fifth-ranked back, and his 40 times will be closely monitored. Yeldon (6-2, 221) has good size and quick feet, though he seemingly lacks elite speed. Could he get into the mix to be the third back selected? A strong combine certainly would help in that regard.

Combine bests over past five years

40-YARD DASH

NFL Scouting Combine


Combine coverage:
Video:
Photos:

1. Dri Archer, Kent State
Time: 4.26 in 2014
Draft status: 3rd round, Pittsburgh Steelers

2t. Onterrio McCalebb, Auburn
Time: 4.34 in 2013
Draft status: Undrafted

2t. Da'Rel Scott, Maryland
Time: 4.34 in 2011
Draft status: 7th round, New York Giants

4. Jahvid Best, California
Time: 4.35 in 2010
Draft status: 1st round (30th overall), Detroit Lions

5t. C.J. Spiller, Clemson
Time: 4.37 in 2010
Draft status: 1st round (9th overall), Buffalo Bills

5t. Knile Davis, Arkansas
Time: 4.37 in 2013
Draft status: 3rd round, Kansas City Chiefs

Notable players
Chris Johnson, East Carolina: 4.24 seconds in 2008
Marshawn Lynch, California: 4.46 seconds in 2007
LeSean McCoy, Pitt: Did not run at 2009 combine
Alfred Morris, Florida Atlantic: 4.63 seconds in 2012
Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma: 4.40 seconds in 2007

VERTICAL JUMP

1. Christine Michael, Texas A&M
Jump: 43 inches in 2013
Draft status: 2nd round, Seattle Seahawks

2. Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
Jump: 41.5 inches in 2014
Draft status: 6th round, Washington Redskins

2. Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech
Jump: 41.5 inches in 2011
Draft status: 7th round, Baltimore Ravens

4t. Montario Hardesty, Tennessee
Jump: 41 inches in 2010
Draft status: 2nd round, Cleveland Browns

4t. David Wilson, Virginia Tech
Numbers: 41 inches in 2012
Draft status: 1st round (32nd overall), New York Giants

Notable players
Jamaal Charles, Texas: 30.5 inches in 2008
Marshawn Lynch, California: 35.5 inches in 2007
Ryan Mathews, Fresno State: 36.0 inches in 2010
DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma: 34.5 inches in 2011
DeAngelo Williams, Memphis: 35.5 inches in 2006

20-YARD SHUTTLE

1. Chris Rainey, Florida
Time: 3.93 seconds in 2012
Draft status: 5th round, Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Bishop Sankey, Washington
Time: 4.00 seconds in 2014
Draft status: 2nd round, Tennessee Titans

3. Roy Helu, Nebraska
Time: 4.01 second in 2011
Draft status: 4th round, Washington Redskins

4. Christine Michael, Texas A&M
Time: 4.02 seconds in 2013
Draft status: 2nd round, Seattle Seahawks

5. Graig Cooper, Miami
Time: 4.03 seconds in 2011
Draft status: Undrafted

Notable players
Jamaal Charles, Texas: 4.22 seconds in 2008
Matt Forte, Tulane: 4.23 seconds in 2008
Marshawn Lynch, California: 4.58 seconds in 2007
Alfred Morris, Florida Atlantic: 4.19 seconds in 2012
Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma: 4.40 seconds in 2007

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3-CONE DRILL

1. Chris Rainey, Florida
Time: 6.50 seconds in 2012
Draft status: 5th round, Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Graig Cooper, Miami
Time: 6.66 seconds in 2011
Draft status: Undrafted

3. Roy Helu, Nebraska
Time: 6.67 seconds in 2011
Draft status: 4th round, Washington Redskins

4. Christine Michael, Texas A&M
Time: 6.69 seconds in 2013
Draft status: 2nd round, Seattle Seahawks

5. Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt
Time: 6.70 seconds in 2013
Draft status: 5th round, St. Louis Rams

Notable players
Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State: 6.75 seconds in 2013
Ahmad Bradshaw, Marshall: 6.70 seconds in 2007
Jamaal Charles, Texas: 6.80 seconds in 2008
Marshawn Lynch, California: 7.09 seconds in 2007
DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma: 7.28 seconds in 2011

BENCH PRESS

In a weekly series, draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah polls five NFL personnel executives about college football's top prospects.

1. FB Tommy Bohanon, Wake Forest
Reps: 36 reps in 2013
Draft status: 7th round, New York Jets

2t. Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern
Reps: 32 reps in 2014
Draft status: 3rd round, Minnesota Vikings

2t. Anthony Sherman, Connecticut
Reps: 32 reps in 2011
Draft status: 5th round, Arizona Cardinals

4t. Knile Davis, Arkansas
Reps: 31 reps in 2013
Draft status: 3rd round, Kansas City Chiefs

4t. Shane Vereen, California
Reps: 31 reps in 2011
Draft status: 2nd round, New England Patriots

Notable players
Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State: 24 reps in 2013
Matt Forte, Tulane: 23 reps in 2008
Arian Foster, Tennessee: 23 reps in 2009
Marshawn Lynch, California: 20 reps in 2007
LeSean McCoy, Pitt: 22 reps in 2009

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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