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Prospect Profiles: Mikel Leshoure


Triangle Numbers: 5-11, 227, 4.59

Scouting Reports:

Sideline Scouting:

Positives: Great size, very strong build… Plays faster on tape than timed speed… Does a great job holding the football close to his body… Very quick feet, reaches his top speed almost immediately which makes him a big play threat… Gets his first 15-20 yards in a hurry, tough to contain… Runs through tackles, does a great job getting through trash and running between the tackles… Keeps his legs moving at all times, very hard to slow down… Runs with low pad level, delivers hits rather than absorb them… Great vision, waits for his blockers… Soft hands, is growing to be a capable receiver out of the backfield… Put up big numbers against tough Big 10 defenses, had only one game this year with less than 75 rushing yards… Illinois has put some good running backs into the NFL recently (Pierre Thomas, Rashard Mendenhall)… One of the few backs in this class that has the potential to be a true workhorse… Only had one season as a starter so he will come to the NFL without much tread on his tires… A complete running back, isn’t flashy, but is the type of player who can carry the ball a ton, and contribute on passing downs… Ended the year on a strong note, ran for 917 yards and 11 touchdowns in his final four games in 2010.

Negatives: Really has only had one great season thus far… Often tries to break the big play rather than settle for a short gain, is prone to some negative yardage plays… Broke his jaw in 2008 after an altercation with a teammate at Illinois… Conditioning was a concern in the past… Takes most of his handoffs out of the shotgun in Illinois’ spread option offense… Ran poorly at combine.

NFL Draft Gab:

Strengths: Ideal combination of size, quickness, and playing speed for the position. Shows very good foot quickness in space and in the small areas; shook and juked defenders with his footwork and bounce. A multiple cut runner that regularly made defenders miss at the second level; much better than other running backs with similar size. Quick to hit the line of scrimmage with burst and power as he releases out. Good vision and feels the second level defenders; knows when to head straight up or take it outside.

Very well balanced and smooth in and out of his cuts; sharply hits the cutback lane and transitions his weight and speed when bouncing plays outside. Gets to top speed quickly and separates from linebackers. Runs with good pad level and consistently falls forward. A reliable pass catcher when asked and can be dangerous out in the flat and on flares. Willing in pass protection with the size to take on linebackers. Showed he could handle a heavy workload.

Needs Improvement: Doesn’t always run big or drive the pile (shows the ability). Hops around in the backfield if a crease isn’t immediate instead of using size and strength to hit the line and create a crease. Runs with finesse unnecessarily and loses yardage. Has good speed but lacks the ability to consistently separate from secondary defenders and will be caught from behind on long runs. Isn’t always patient and doesn’t allow blocking to develop downfield.

Bottom Line: Mikel Leshoure is an exciting player. The more you watch of him the more you want to watch of him. He showed game to game consistency and by the end of the year defenders were on their heels and indecisive about how to attack him. When you consider that Leshoure is 230 pounds it becomes even more impressive how well he moves in space; reminds me of a young Fred Taylor.

Leshoure will need to develop a more physical mindset to his running in order for his playmaking skills to translate, as he won’t get away with his excessive studdering and pauses at the next level. His upside his higher than any other runner in this class and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was the first running back taken. He has the running strength, physical skills, and stamina to wear down defenses and break 20 yard runs late in the game. Leshoure’s speed isn’t elite but is plenty good and with downfield blocking he’s a threat to take it the distance. He looks the part and fits the mold of a workhorse NFL running back, and once he puts his entire game together, sky is the limit.

FF Toolbox:

Running back Mikel Leshoure, while relatively unknown a season ago, is now widely considered a top prospect at his position due to his fantastic combination of size and speed.

Leshoure is a tough runner with fast feet and a tremendous burst. He hits top speed very quickly and for his height, he is a powerful runner who can break through tackles. This running back draft class does not have many backs who could potentially carry a big workload, but Leshoure is one of them.

There aren’t many knocks on him yet but that mainly has to do with him being under the radar. 2010 was his only big season. There are concerns about weight and him maintaining it. On third downs, he will need to develop in his pass protection, but he does do very well catching the ball with soft hands and getting upfield. His biggest flaw may be always trying to go for the big play. If he can’t get going north and south, he tries to force the play by running east and west. Also during his freshman year, he got into an altercation with a teammate and ended up with a broken jaw.

Leshoure is a good one-cut runner as he doesn’t make big sudden movements to find daylight. He puts his cleat in the ground, finds a path and runs at it hard. What will make him successful at the next level is his ability to keep his feet moving after contact and through traffic. The comparison is a bit obvious, but former Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall displays this same talent and has really blossomed for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Leshoure is projected as a late-first round to early-second round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft


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GiantsGab Thoughts:

Mikel Leshoure is a complete back, who, after Mark Ingram, will be the 2nd back off the board. More of an inside runner, he can still bounce it outside. He’s not a burner, but he’s plenty fast. Leshoure has the chance to be a very good, every down back in this league. Can catch the ball, always falls forward. A really good player. Only had one good year in college, which is concerning, but the talent is most certainly there. Can probably start on Day 1. If he’s there at 19, which he should be, do the Giants take him? Depends who else is available, of course, but the Giants need a back, and Leshoure could be the best one from this class. He gets our stamp of approval.


Gabe Carimi

OL Anthony Castanzo

Rodney Hudson

Derek Sherrod

Marcus Gilbert

Mike Pouncey

Clint Boling

Stefen Wisniewski

Nate Solder

Tyron Smith

Danny Watkins

Alex Linnenkohl

Joseph Barksdale

Kristofer O’Dowd


Brandon Harris

Jimmy Smith

Davon House

Johnny Patrick

Ras-I Dowling

Buster Skrine

Curtis Brown


Kyle Rudolph

DJ Williams

Luke Stocker


Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA

Bruce Carter North Carolina

Greg Jones, Michigan State

Dontay Moch, LB, Nevada

Mason Foster, LB, Washington

KJ Wright, LB, Mississippi State

Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M

Quan Sturdivant, LB, UNC

Martez Wilson, LB, Illinois

Colin McCarthy, LB, Miami (FL)

Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon


Mark Ingram

DeMarco Murray

Roy Helu, Jr

Graig Cooper

Ryan Williams

Daniel Thomas

Jordan Todman


Jerrel Jernigan

Randall Cobb

Titus Young

Niles Paul

Ronald Johnson


Aldon Smith

Jarvis Jenkins

Phil Taylor

Corey Liuget

Pernell McPhee

Christian Ballard

Ryan Kerrigan

Ian Williams

Drake Nevis

Justin Houston


Ahmad Black

Robert Sands

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One Response to “Prospect Profiles: Mikel Leshoure”

  1. plektor says:

    No RB in the 1st pretty please Jerry.

    Look at our track record lately with drafting backs. Don’t do it !

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