Players

Rashard Mendenhall  

Height: 5-10   Weight: 225   Age: 27

Born: 6/19/1987 Skokie , IL

College: Illinois

Experience: Season

CAR

1,081

YDS

4,236

AVG

3.9

TDS

37

Combine 2008

Combine
Stats:

  • Vertical Jump33.5 inches
  • Bench Press26.0 reps
  • 20 Yard Shuttle4.18 secs
  • 40 Yard Dash4.45 Secs

Strengths

Positives: Has an athletic build with good muscular definition, big biceps, firm midsection and hips, thick thighs and calves...More quick than fast...Has excellent agility and balance through the rush lane...Tough, competitive athlete who has played behind some very average offensive lines, having to create a lot on his own...Instinctive runner with a good feel for the cutback lanes, doing a good job of setting up his moves in attempts to elude...Studies the game and, unlike most running backs, he has a good blue-collar work ethic...Shows good courage challenging bigger defenders and runs with a pitter-patter style...Makes good decisions and precise cuts into the hole, as he moves on the snap with no hesitation...Has good instincts, setting up and using his blocks well and has the vision to avoid and create on the move...Slides through the smallest of creases and knows how to get "skinny" and get through the spaces...Has the vision that lets him see things most backs don't...Can create if the hole is closed, but is best when taking what he can get...Does not dance in the hole, showing good body lean moving forward...Shows a good stiff-arm running with power to bounce off would-be tacklers...Not a burner, but flashes decent "scoot" to get into the second level...Has good quickness with deceptive long speed...Not really elusive, but when he sticks his foot in the ground, he has efficient plant-and-drive agility...His ball security improved in 2007, but he still needs to refine ball distribution...Plays strong, but using him as just a short-yardage back would be wasting his ability to run over second-level defenders, as he has that power to get through the hole...Has a good feel for the passing game with crisp cuts, but is not the type to split wide...Natural hands catcher -- receiver-quality -- and it is rare to see him fight with the ball...Not asked to block much, but is a team-oriented type who has the hip snap and power to block in-line and takes good angles to cut block...When he keeps his pads down (generally does), he uses his balance and leg drive to break through initial tackles...Best when utilized on screens as a receiver rather than have him attack the deep zone. Negatives: Lacks breakaway speed, but generates good acceleration...Coaches have worked hard to get him to reduce the arm motion used when carrying the ball, as it resulted in costly fumbles in 2006...Has loose hips, but on attempts to redirect, he can be stiff in his lateral movements...Will occasionally take false steps, but he doesn't affect his timing at the point...Has a quick sidestep, but is not really the shiftiest runner you will find...Has a feel for the cutback lanes, but lacks that extra gear and speed to turn the corner consistently at the next level (needs to be a bit more patient waiting for his linemen to pull)...Not much wiggle in his running stride, showing just adequate lateral slide while running and even when at full speed, he is more of a one-cut type (linear runner). Compares To: CEDRIC BENSON-Chicago...Bears fans might not like reading this comparison, especially since Mendenhall has attained "favorite son" status in the Windy City. Both are well-built runner with thick frames that are best served running between the tackles, as neither has that blazing speed you want in an outside runner. Mendenhall capitalized from his only season as a starter into a future NFL contract, but while he has made marked improvement in 2007, there is work to be done. He knows how to pick and slide, but there are times he will just run right at a defender rather than elude. His ball distribution needs total refinement, as he has a knack for swinging the ball wildly when he runs. Like Benson, that leads to a high amount of costly fumbles. He is a good receiver out of the backfield and relatively durable, having never missed a game due to injuries. While he should be a first-round pick, with strong post-Combine workouts, he still has a big learning curve ahead of him.

NFL News
CONTENT
15