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Prospect Profiles: LaMichael James


TRIANGLE NUMBERS: 5-9, 185, 4.37


National Football Post:

What I like…

– Looked more solidly built in 2011 compared to years past. Coaches say he added about 20-pounds to his 5-9 frame and looked more stable/compact because of it.

– Exhibits impressive fluidity and foot quickness when asked to pick this way through the line of scrimmage inside.

– Showcases the balance/lateral agility to quickly side step defenders, hit the cut back lane and accelerate quickly into the open field.

– Possesses a good feel for defenders around him, displaying natural vision inside and finding lanes quickly to get into daylight.

– Makes himself small inside when asked to finish his run. Will slither his way for additional yards with a low pad level both inside and out.

– Demonstrates a wide running base where he keeps his knees bent and is quickly able to change directions and reach top end speed.

– Looks natural catching the football out of the backfield as well. Extends his arms, feels the screen game and balances himself quickly after the catch.

– Exhibits the balance/fluidity to make defenders miss in the open field even at top end speed and create yards in space.

– Is patient in pass protection. Is a tough kid, who takes proper angles and is balanced dropping his pad level and chopping down blitzing defenders on contact.

– Has experience/production on special teams as a punt return man.

– Exhibits solid top end speed for his size, looks like a mid/high 4.4 guy once he gets into daylight.

– Has been one of the most productive backs in the country over the past three seasons.

– Is a tough kid who can play through pain at a high level.

What I don’t like…

– Despite his additional weight added this off-season, he’s still an undersized running back who has had some trouble keeping himself healthy and durability is a concern.

– Doesn’t look like a traditional I-formation type back at the next level. Runs mostly from the read option and looks limited in where he can contribute inside at the next level.

– Doesn’t exhibit the type of power to create yards through contact between the tackles as an NFL back.

– Has a tendency to chop his feet and bounce off his blockers trying to consistently create the big play. Doesn’t do a great job dropping his pad level and simply taking what the defense gives him if nothing is there.

– Is an easy guy to get to the ground once you wrap on him.

– Was suspended the first game of the season in 2010 and there are some character concerns.

Impression: A quick footed, fluid scat back who doesn’t break many tackles, but has the ability to make NFL defender miss and accelerate quickly toward daylight. Will be limited inside, but as a 3rd down/special teams type option I think he can be a better NFL runner than Falcons 5th round pick Jacquizz Rodgers because of his ability to make defenders miss consistently.

Sideline Scouting:

Postives — Incredible speed, one of the fastest players in college football… Home run threat, looks like is on the brink of breaking a long run every time he touches the ball… Averaged over seven yards per carry as a junior… Has a great mix of hesitation moves, makes it really hard for defenders to figure out where he’s going… Changes direction very quickly…Does a good job keeping his legs going forwarad, doesn’t dance too much…Great vision, would be a good fit in a zone blocking scheme…Led the nation in rushing in 2010…Surprisingly good runner between the tackles, gets a lot of yards up the middle.
Negatives — Frail build, might not be an every down back in the NFL… Better at making people miss than shedding tacklers, defenders have been able to drag him to the ground… Inexperienced pass blocker, struggles with blitz pickup and can get bull rushed into the quarterback… Hasn’t been asked to run a lot of routes of the backfield… Inconsistent hands, drops some easy balls… Minor character concerns after being suspended for the first game of the 2010 season for a domestic violence charge during the offseason… Dislocated his right elbow in an October game against California… Was taken out of Oregon’s last regular season game in 2011 due to a left elbow injury.

FF Toolbox:

University of Oregon Ducks running back LaMichael James is an undersized prospect with quickness that will provide an exceptional change-of-pace presence in the NFL. James isn’t a workhorse, yet that shouldn’t be considered a big negative. Today’s NFL revolves around players who excel in particular scenarios or niches.

James has top notch speed and will likely run a mid-4.4 40-yard dash at the combine. He’s quicker than fast and shows some seriously explosive elusiveness. Offenses will need to get him the ball out in space since he doesn’t do much to break free from tackles. He has great hands and can quickly turn upfield with the ball in his hands. James sometimes looks for the home run and needs to mature in the sense that he can’t break every single play. James rarely churns his legs to get those small extra yards after contact.

There are some injury concerns with knee problems over the last two seasons. There are no structural knee concerns. He was also arrested on a domestic violence charge in 2010. James would make a great compliment back that will shine brightest on passing downs. He also has some limited experience on kick and punt returns.

James projects as a second or third round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft.


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GiantsGab Thoughts:

LaMichael James is a small, explosive runner who put up huge numbers at Oregon. Really elusive. Home run type runner. Once he gets a lane he’s gone. He’s frail, and you have to worry about him holding up in the NFL. Not a starter, but as a complementary back, can contribute on passing downs out of the backfield and add an explosive element to an offense. I know what you’re thinking, what about Da’Rel Scott? Scott has the speed, but there was a reason that he didn’t play much last year. James might be more explosive than Scott and can help more in the passing game. I don’t know if the Giants are giving up on Scott, but James has another level that Scott doesn’t have. In other words, the Giants can do more things with James than they can with Scott. Mid round pick. Does he become a Giant? Not sure, but he would add another weapon for an offense that is already explosive.



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15 Responses to “Prospect Profiles: LaMichael James”

  1. CHeeKZ Money says:

    i have been waiting for this profile all year. love this kid, i use to ask people if we can get him and they would tell me no… he is a top 5 pick. shows you how the nfl undervalues backs now. They enjoy the Ray Rice/MJD steal more than they do the Darren McFadden or AP top pick.

    Heck We I wanted CJ Spiller instead of jpp. turns out gmen were fine with bradshaw. I’m not saying scott has no future. But I think James could be amazing and if you can get him in third or dare i say 4th… tons of value. And all the scouts saying his build his a problem, they said the same about desean jackson. same about darren sproules. danny woodhead and this kid is way bigger than them

  2. Jeremy Fuchs says:

    Well, one thing I would say is that Jackson is a wideout. He’s not banging in between the tackles. Sproles is small, in height, but not in build. He’s pretty stocky. James needs to be in space and I think he’ll have to bulk up if he wants to stay healthy.

    That said, he has crazy speed. There was a play, I’m pretty sure it was against LSU, where he had to turn the corner and it was awesome. He was just faster than everyone on a pretty good LSU defense.

    He’s fast. Needs to be used in space to be effective. Are the Giants creative enough?

  3. Jason says:

    Do i smell a wild cat In met life stadium if we get this guy ? 😀

    • Jason C. says:

      I wouldn’t bet on it, as questionable as Gilbride has been, he’s been a part of two Super Bowl teams with an old school-type offense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of trick plays this year, but to run something similar to a wildcat, where you’d have to dedicate time to, I doubt it highly.

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