EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – The cutting edge running backs at the top of the 2022 NFL draft come in all shapes and sizes with a wide range of skills. The New York Giants have a need at the position, they have the No. 5 and No. 7 overall picks and will consider several potential adjustments.
there is michigan Aidan Hutchinson, projected by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and many other draft analysts as the first overall pick. Hutchinson is nearly 6-foot-7, 260 pounds and has the best technique of the bunch.
georgian travon walker (6-5, 272) is making his way up the draft boards with his power and skills that are impressive for his size. His time of 4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash was the fastest by a 270-pounder at the combine since at least 2006. Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson II he showed quick hands and feet and the production to match (11.5 sacks) in his senior year. from oregon Kayvon Thibodeaux He’s not especially big for the position (6-4, 254), but he has a first step that tempts the bullish crowd.
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The wide variety of front running backs is the beauty of the position, and this year’s draft is no different. Not everyone is Von Miller (Buffalo Bills) or Myles Garrett (Cleveland Browns), the prototype pass-rushers almost anyone could explore and predict their greatness. It’s a position where seemingly flawed prospects, like the 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, TJ Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who was considered an effort running back and drafted 30th overall in 2017, continually prove that reviews are wrong.
So where does it all go wrong? What’s non-negotiable when looking for running backs and determining what really makes them effective at getting to the next level quarterback?
“If you start to focus only on the measurable and try to create something, sometimes you can get in trouble,” Atlanta Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot said at the NFL scouting combine. “I always say the most important part is: are you winning those 1-on-1 matchups?”
This is what the Giants and general manager Joe Schoen must figure out. Which of this year’s top running backs won consistently at the college level and will it translate to the NFL game? Are they worth the No. 5 or No. 7 overall pick?
The Giants, who haven’t addressed the top 10 since drafting Cedric Jones in 1996, are just one of the teams in the market for a running back at the top of the draft. Teams with the top four picks (Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and New York Jets) also have needs at the job.
Hutchinson, Walker, Johnson and Thibodeaux have visited the Giants or will visit them before the draft, according to sources. It’s a position they must address even after drafting Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari in the second round last year. He had 8.0 sacks as a rookie.
“We have enough roster needs to take the best player available,” Schoen said recently of the two top picks. “That’s how we’re going to establish [the draft board]. We are going to make him the best soccer player 1-7 ».
Schoen was part of a front office that drafted forward running backs Greg Rousseau and AJ Epenesa with Buffalo’s top picks each of the previous two years. Neither was a warrior from training, but both were long and productive coming out of college.
Length could be a preferred attribute for the Giants with defensive coordinator “Don” Wink Martindale coming over from the Baltimore Ravens and bringing their 3-4 defensive scheme that favors long outside linebackers. Walker (35.5-inch arms) and Johnson (34-inch) have that going for them.
Hutchinson (14.0 sacks) and Johnson have the production, which remains the No. 1 non-negotiable on many evaluators’ wish lists.
“Legitimate production, where you watch the movie and this guy is really affecting the quarterback because he’s doing it,” former Giants draft chief and current NFL Network analyst Marc Ross said of what he looks for in running backs. Vanguard. “Not through the scheme. Not through cleaning. Catches. Not through the trash bags, but this guy is legitimately affecting the quarterback consistently based on how he plays and his talent and ability.”
Ross mentioned George Selvie, who played alongside Jason Pierre-Paul in South Florida. Selvie had 14.5 sacks in his sophomore year and Pierre-Paul had 6.5 in his only season at USF. But the film showed that many of Selvie’s sacks were hollow. Pierre-Paul, meanwhile, was constantly affecting the quarterback despite his modest sack total.
The Giants and Ross drafted Pierre-Paul 15th overall in the first round of that 2010 draft. Pierre-Paul became an All Pro who helped New York win a Super Bowl in his second season. Selvie, who ended his career with the Giants, was a seventh-round draft pick and had 14 sacks in six NFL seasons.
So perhaps more important than the college sacks are the pressures. There seems to be a correlation between the edge pressure of the university and that of the professionals in recent years. Thibodeaux has the highest rushing rate (15%) of the four pass-rushers Kiper projected to be selected as the tallest. Hutchinson, Johnson and Walker followed in pressure rating.
This is, in my opinion, quite concerning for Travon Walker, who had only an 8% pressure rating in college.
This is where he, Hutchinson, Thibodeaux, and Bonitto (!) are standing on the x-axis of this graph. pic.twitter.com/NVrN70TJhe
— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) April 7, 2022
But analytics alone can’t paint the whole picture for leading edge runners. There are other boxes that need to be checked.
“My only thing that’s pretty [firm]if you don’t have an element of power in the National Football League, then people will just be able to placate you,” an NFC executive said. And you have to be a Really good athlete, then if you don’t have power.”
The executive cited Carolina Panthers running back Brian Burns as an example of an occasional outlier. He considers him among the rare class of players who can survive without such true power due to his quickness in close quarters.
Burns, who ran 4.53 for the 40-yard dash and jumped 10-foot-9, has 25.5 sacks in his first three NFL seasons. It was obvious from the athletic tryouts that his abilities could translate.
The evaluator thinks the same should happen with Thibodeaux. It was banged up last season, but still produced. He had 7.0 sacks and a 17.8% rushing percentage despite playing just 10 games and dealing with an ankle injury.
In Thibodeaux’s case, athletic testing matches product on the field. But it is seldom that easy. It’s not simply a position of size, speed and weight. Multiple testers said they’re not going to simply eliminate edge runners based on a slow 40-yard run. There is too much that goes into the position: use of the hand. Energy. Does it move. counter movements. Get down. To take advantage of. Technique. Not everything can be measured while running and jumping in shorts on the combine.
“You want [confirmation in athletic testing], but it’s not required,” Ross said. “What are you seeing in the movie? It was the Terrell Suggs lesson. He saw it on tape and there was a guy who was legitimately chasing him non-stop. He seemed as explosive as can be in a movie. And then he goes out and runs a 5.0 flat [in the 40-yard dash]. Well, this guy can’t play anymore. Than!?”
Not that anyone in this year’s top crop falls into that category. Hutchinson ran a more than respectable 10-yard split in 1.62 seconds. The other three ran 4.58 seconds or more in the 40-yard dash.
It’s what makes this a strong group of cutting edge running backs at the top of the draft. And it gives Schoen and the Giants quality options to fill what has become a longstanding void, assuming one they like is available when they’re on the clock.
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Will the Giants Adapt to the Running Back? Travon Walker, Chances Of Kayvon Thibodeaux – World News In Spanish