Hi Cal guys! Thanks for all the nice things you said about me in the game thread last week -- I appreciated so much being reminded every five seconds how wrong I was about Best and Vereen.
In case you didn't see it, I wrote a post revisiting my bold and misguided prediction on our site. But that's not why I'm here.
One of your own, oaktownmario, left this question in a comment on my post, and I figured the best place to leave my thoughts was here on your blog as a FanPost. Here's the question:
Serious question: Now that you’ve seen the glory that is Best, what do you think of his prospects for an NFL career and how do you think he compares (early on) to Lynch?
Best is awesome. There is absolutely no doubt about that anymore. But to give you a little bit of comparison for Best's pro prospects, I want to give you the stats of the most productive college seasons of three running backs who have similar measurables to Best, who is 5-10 and 193 pounds. Have a gander:
- Player A (5-9, 205 pounds): 308 attempts/1,900 yards/6.2 yards per carry/16 TDs;
- Player B (6-0, 200): 200/1,740/8.7/16
- Player C (5-10, 190): 248/1,744/7.0/16
All three players had spectacular college careers, and all three went on to be drafted by NFL teams.
Here you go:
- Player A: Jerome Harrison, WSU (2005)
- Player B: Reggie Bush, USC (2005)
- Player C: Steve Slaton, WVU (2006)
Let's end the comparisons to Lynch, because they are totally different sized backs, totally different styles. These three guys are a much better representataion of the range of possibilities for Best.
The closest comparison for Best in talent is Bush, and his closest comparison in stature is Slaton. What that means is that his upside is probably being used like Bush, as a multifaceted weapon. He's just too small to be an every down back. But that's not the problem it used to be, with more and more teams going to two-headed (or more) monsters in the backfield.
Also don't expect him to be a first rounder -- you can attribute Bush's stock being so high thanks to the USC hype. NFL scouts are obsessed with measurables, and durability is a big thing for guys that small. If Bush had played somewhere else, you'd have been looking at a Felix Jones-type evaluation.
If I had to predict on Best, I would guess he'll end up being a mid-second round guy when it's all said and done (if he stays healthy until draft time) thanks to his small frame. If he gets injured? Could be looking at third round.
No matter what, though, that bodes well for you guys, because a guy is unlikely to head to the NFL for anything less than the big money -- especially if he considers himself first round talent and thinks he can continue to improve his stock.
Anyway, just my 2 cents.