West Virginia running back Charles Sims will probably play his way into a running back rotation in the NFL as a rookie this fall as well as have a role as a kick returner, according to Reese's Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage, who rated Sims as the top player at his position from Senior Bowl week.
"He showed the most burst, the most acceleration, had 203 catches during his college career," Savage said. "He showcased that hands ability here in Mobile. I thought he emerged as the best running back in terms of running, blocking and the combination with catching all week."
Sims rushed for 1,095 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Mountaineers last season.
After Sims, Savage ranked Wisconsin's James White, Coastal Carolina's Lorenzo Taliaferro and Western Kentucky's Antonio Andrews among running backs who competed during Senior Bowl week. White was the North squad's most outstanding player with 62 rushing yards and five receptions in the South's 20-10 win. But according to Savage, Taliaferro (6-0, 231) was the best pass protector in the game.
"The most impressive pass blocker in the game," Savage said. "He has a solid base, gets his hands inside and stayed square to the opponent in a very difficult drill for running backs. He may not have breakaway speed, but Lorenzo has the size and bulk to run inside and should be able to (make a) roster because of a versatile, three-down skill set."
Savage recorded nine wins and two losses for Talieferro in one-on-one pass protection, the best result of any back. None of the Senior Bowl running backs project as first-day draft picks, and most are more likely to be chosen on Day 3. NFL Media analyst Charles Davis' latest mock draft lists just one running back being chosen in the first round, Ohio State's Carlos Hyde at No. 28 to the Carolina Panthers.