CHRIS POLK, RB, WASHINGTON
TRIANGLE NUMBERS: 5-11, 222, 4.5
A strong, well put together back with natural girth through his lower half and a well defined upper body. Has experience running both from the gun and I-formation sets and showcases good patience when asked to decipher information. Looks natural diagnosing the action around him and never seems to be in a rush. Allows his blocks to set before accelerating through the hole. However, possesses only an average first step. Showcases more of a second gear once he gets his legs churning into the open field, but it takes him a bit of time to reach top end speed. Doesn’t do a great job running behind his pads inside and despite his aggressive, hard running style can be tripped up easily at times. Isn’t overly fluid when trying to change directions at top end speed. Showcases some subtle foot quickness when picking his way through the line and trying to side step a defender. But gets narrow with his lower half when trying to make a defender miss at full speed and goes to the ground too easily.
Now, he does run hard and will lower his pad level into contact, churn his legs through the play and create additional yards. However, isn’t the type of physical back many make him out to be because he often exposes too much of his frame and can be wrapped up easily on the inside. Isn’t real shifty at the line and despite doing a nice job reading his run keys, is more of a weaver when picking his way through traffic and not a real sharp/sudden change of direction back. Doesn’t play overly fast, seems to build speed as he goes and might time better than he plays, but in tight areas looks like a 4.55 guy.
Will catch the football well out of the backfield though. Looks natural snatching throws off his frame and has experience as a wide out in high school. Is also a natural blocker in blitz pickup. Is able to quickly to recognize the blitz, slide his feet and anchor on contact. Would like to see him do a better job sticking on contact though.
Impression: Is a big kid with a good feel inside, runs hard and will break some tackles. However, pad level, initial burst and lack of great change of direction skills make me think he’s potential NFL starter only.
Very good top end speed…does well in the open field to see his blocks and identify potential cut back lanes…has the body type to run between the tackles and make defenses pay …has some agility in the open field and has a nice juke move to compliment his powerful stiff arm…his slashing style compliments his instincts very well…seems to have a second sense of when to bounce runs outside…has some homerun ability with his vision and instincts that help to mask some athletic limitations…he’s very patient behind the line of scrimmage, he knows the play call and how the blocks should set up and he waits for it.
The biggest weakness for Polk may be his ability to accelerate to top end speed…he has the burst to get into the 2nd level but it appears like he levels out for a few steps before accelerating again to top speed…in the NFL this will get him caught from behind…he was unable to turn the corner consistently in college and may never be a guy who you want to ask to run the sweep play in the NFL…more a north south runner who is at his best when gaining yards, looks uncomfortable running laterally…There aren’t many things that Polk really struggles with but he also doesn’t really show dynamic ability to anything either.
Washington Huskies prospect Chris Polk is a thick running back with above average quickness that at the moment, appears to be a bit “over-ranked” given his lack of elite athleticism. Polk is a tough runner that exhibits solid patience and the toughness to turn short gains into medium gains on a regular basis. He does not possess great straight line speed or a “second gear” to run away from defenders.
Polk needs to display more decisiveness when hitting the hole, and with that, needs to explode through the line in order to take what the defense has given him. One big problem is that he is a very upright runner and opens up his body to big hits at the second level. Although he is well-built through his frame, Polk could be even better if he ran with a better pad level.
He doesn’t have the agility to burst to the outside and doesn’t display the hands to be on the field on third downs. A more than willing pass protector who will need to work on his blocking techniques.
Polk is a good, but not great draft prospect. Due to a thin class of seniors, his stock is currently overvalued and will likely slip after an underwhelming combine performance. Polk projects as a third or fourth round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft.
[pro-player width='530' height='253' type='video']http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2VFR98d7w8[/pro-player]
Chris Polk is a nice looking running back prospect. Not overly fast, but is a good north and south runner. Good vision. Patient. Good blocker and can catch out of the backfield. He doesn’t have any features that make him stand out. Nice size. Looks like a good complementary back. If Jacobs is to be released, then Polk might not be a bad option. He’s not as big as Jacobs, but runs well inside and would complement Bradshaw nicely. I’ve seen Polk mocked in the first round; I’m not sure about that. First of all, drafting a running back in the first round seems useless, because you can find backs in later rounds. Second, he’s not a first round talent. He’s a nice prospect, who has a good skill set but doesn’t stand out in anything. Should be middle rounds. If drafted, he would replace Brandon Jacobs as an inside runner. He would add some value out of the backfield. Again, nice player, but nothing special.