Cowboys’ Potential Draft Picks: Le’Veon Bell, Stepfan Taylor, and Travis Frederick
I’ve broken down a number of running backs lately—Knile Davis, Giovani Bernard, Johnathan Franklin,Christine Michael, Joseph Randle, Andre Ellington, and Zac Stacy—because I find it extremely unlikely that the Cowboys will make it out of the draft without selecting a backup to DeMarco Murray. I’ll continue my analysis of the position this week, starting today with Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell.
Bell is an enormous running back at 6-2, 230 pounds. He carried the load for Michigan State in 2012, racking up 382 carries and 32 receptions. Bell averaged 4.7 yards-per-carry on those rushes and scored 13 total touchdowns.
See more on Bell at Dallas News.
Now, let’s get into the major issue: Taylor’s lack of explosiveness. He ran a 4.76 40-yard dash at the Combine, and that’s simply unacceptable for any running back. Combined with his 9-2 broad jump, 30-inch vertical, and 4.50 short shuttle, Taylor really left scouts with a bad taste in their mouths. The running back said he was hampered by an ankle injury, and although he improved his 40 at his pro day, Taylor still ran in the mid-4.6s. Don’t forget that such a time would probably equate to around a 4.70 at the Combine, which is obviously really poor. Even if you disagree that speed isn’t vital for success at the running back position, we can all agree a running back in the 4.7s is going to have a really difficult time in the NFL.
Overall, Taylor is a tough grade because he has some good game tape, but the lack of explosiveness is really concerning. He can do a lot of things well, but it will be difficult for teams to select him over other backs with obviously higher upside.
The whole Taylor scouting report is also at Dallas News.
The first thing that must be noted about Frederick is that he had a really poor showing at the Combine, running a 5.58 40-yard dash—the second-slowest for any lineman there—and posting only 21 reps on the bench press. Critics of measurables will point out that “linemen never have to run 40 yards” in games, and while that’s true, it doesn’t really matter. When a player runs such a slow time, it hints to a lack of athleticism. Can Frederick play in the NFL without being an elite athlete? Sure, but he still needs to surpass a certain threshold of athleticism, and I’m not sure he does.
Frederick has good size at 6-4, 312 pounds. On film, he plays very intelligently. He handles stunts and blitzes well, and he displays outstanding body position nearly all of the time. Frederick doesn’t typically deliver knockout shots, but he gets between his defender and the ball-carrier or quarterback on most plays. For lacking athleticism, he does a fine job of getting to the second level and walling off defenders.
See more on Frederick at NBC.