Friday, April 11, 2008

Draft Prospect Scouting Reports: Running backs/Fullbacks

Here is the second installment of my positional draft preview.

The players that I am discussing are those that the Dolphins have worked out, interviewed, or had other such contact with.

Today, I will be looking at running backs and fullbacks. Of course, this is one of the few positions that Miami can considered a strength. Even so, it's possible a RB might be taken with a late round pick or as a free agent.

I will organize the prospects into tiers, as such:
  • First tier: First-round talent
  • Second tier: Second or third-round talent
  • Third tier: Mid-round (4-5) talent
  • Fourth tier: Late round (6-7) or FA talent

1. Kevin Smith, Central Florida
  • Pros: Excellent agility, tough, capable pass-catcher, good vision
  • Cons: Running style is too upright, needs to add bulk, some character issues
  • Compares to: Justin Fargas
Smith will likely be selected by round three, which is simply too high a price for Miami to invest in a position that is already a strength, and one in which lower draft picks often perform capably. Smith can do a lot of things well, but he's not an economical choice for Miami.


1. Owen Schmitt, West Virginia
  • Pros: Classic bruising lead blocker, very strong and powerful, solid pass catcher, excellent work ethic, good short-yardage runner
  • Cons: Not very athletic, average speed, not much upside
  • Compares to: Larry Csonka
Schmitt is quite an intriguing prospect, and he's a guy I would have loved for Miami to take in the fourth or fifth round if they hadn't selected Reagan Mauia last season. Schmitt is as old-school as they come, and while he doesn't have much upside, what he offers right now is still pretty valuable. Still, I think Mauia is solid and should be given some more time to develop as a lead blocker. Choosing Schmitt would be luxury pick, and Miami can't afford many of those this year.


1. Tim Hightower, Richmond
  • Pros: Can play RB and FB, good special teams player, powerful runner, good vision, hard worker
  • Cons: Average speed, below average hands, concerns with ball security
Hightower is a versatile back who could provide some injury insurance at the RB and FB position while offering another special teams piece. That versatility may be worth one of Miami's two seventh-round picks or signing him as a free agent if he isn't drafted.

2. Rolly Lumbala, Idaho

Lumbala is another versatile back who can play RB, FB, H-back, or tight end. In the NFL, his best position will be at FB, where he'd be a solid lead blocker. He can play special teams as well. I'd rather take Hightower over Lumbala, but Lumbala would certainly be an option if he's available as a free agent.

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