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RB Stock Report: Wilson looks like No. 2 back after combine

There is no doubt that NFL teams are finding it more and more difficult to justify using a first-round selection on a running back -- even if an RB's physical attributes and running vision make him one of the 32 most talented players in a draft class.

Only seven NFL running backs eclipsed the 1,200-yard threshold during the 2011 season, the fewest since 1997. Just one of those backs was a former first-round pick. And that back, Seattle Seahawks beast Marshawn Lynch, did not even accumulate his 1,204 yards with the team that drafted him (Buffalo took him 12th overall in the 2007 NFL Draft).'s Mock Draft Central

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Despite missing NFL Scouting Combine workouts due to minor knee surgery, Alabama running back Trent Richardson will still come off the board in Round 1. But the next running back very well may have to wait until the draft's second day (Round 2). Regardless, look for a couple of the players listed below to become workhorse backs (at least in 2012 NFL terms) after fine efforts at this year's combine.

David Wilson, Virginia Tech: Wilson and fellow underclassman Lamar Miller (Miami) were considered to be fighting for the No. 2 slot on the RB board heading into the combine. And while Miller's 4.40 40 confirmed the home-run speed scouts figured he had, Wilson ran well himself (4.49), put up one of the top vertical leaps in recent combine memory (41 inches) and led the running backs in the broad jump (11 feet). If scouts truly use workouts as a tiebreaker between similar prospects, the 2011 ACC Player of the Year just might be the first back after Richardson to hear his name called at Radio City Music Hall.

Draft projection: Second round.

Doug Martin, Boise State: Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore deservedly receives a lot of credit for his team's 50-3 record over the past four seasons, but Martin ran for 3,324 yards and scored 47 touchdowns for the Broncos over the past three years. His stout, 5-foot-9 1/4, 223-pound frame allowed him to push up 28 reps in the bench press, but did not prevent him from running a solid 4.55 40 and performing very well in quickness tests (he finished second to 180-pounder Chris Rainey among running backs in the three-cone drill). The performance may put him in the same category -- or above -- the Wilson/Miller duo on some teams' boards.

Draft projection: Second round.

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LaMichael James, Oregon: Speed has never been an issue for James, the nation's leader in rush yards per game in each of the past two seasons. But the fact that he ran a 4.45 40 and excelled in other drills at 194 pounds -- not the 185 some scouts expected him to weigh -- certainly helped his draft stock. If teams think James can keep his weight around 200 pounds and maintain that open-field burst, they may consider him a solid No. 2 option instead of a pure change-of-pace back at the next level.

Draft projection: Third round.

Robert Turbin, Utah State: It was no surprise that this freight train of a back (5-10, 222 pounds) lifted 225 pounds 28 times, tying Martin for the lead in the position group. But seeing that bulk run a 4.50 40, as well as post a 36-inch vertical leap and a 10-foot-2 broad jump, certainly grabbed scouts' attention. The two-time 1,000-yard rusher (2009 and 2011, with a torn ACL taking away his 2010 season) did look tight in the hips catching passes and was only average in short-area agility, but teams looking for a one-cut back will overlook those shortcomings because he has the potential to break off big gains.

Draft projection: Third round.

Follow Chad Reuter on Twitter @ChadReuter

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