Prospect Profiles: Vick Ballard


TRIANGLE NUMBERS: 5-10, 220, 4.65


National Football Post:

A tough, no-nonsense type runner who wants to get north/south quickly. Doesn’t quite have the type of frame needed to hold up with his type of running style at the next level. Possesses good size, but isn’t overly thick. Presses the hole well and loves to churn his legs through contact. Displays a good feel between the tackles, is patient when asked to read inside, sets up blocks well and hits the first hole he sees. Gets upright at times pressing space and/or when trying to make a man miss, but knows how to make himself small and does a better job lowering his pad level into contact, absorbing blows and maintaining his balance through contact. Runs hard and breaks a lot of tackles, consistently creating yards through contact inside. Looks a little tight in the hips, isn’t a fluid change of direction guy who can routinely make a defender miss. However, he possesses the footwork/balance as a one-cut guy to feel his way on the zone plays toward the perimeter, stick his foot in the ground without wasting much motion and attacking up field. Doesn’t have a great burst and is at best an average straight-line athlete who isn’t going to outpace many angles in space.

Doesn’t display the fluidity to make a man miss once he gets back up to full speed, displays some foot quickness in order to get a defender off balance, but does his damage breaking tackles inside and at the second level. Not real natural in the pass game at this stage, doesn’t seem comfortable trying to separate vs. man, isn’t sharp/sudden out of breaks and isn’t going to be asked to do much more than work the screen/flair game. Isn’t asked to help out in blitz pick-up much. He’s a strong kid with natural coordination and has the skill set to hold up as a blocker; he just doesn’t have much experience.

Impression: Possesses some natural running skills and is a strong kid who always falls forward. However, isn’t going to break nearly as many tackles in NFL as he did in college and will struggle averaging over 4.0 yards per carry. A reserve only.

NFL’s Future:

Strengths:  Ballard is a big back that has a nose for the endzone.  He has excellent balance for his size and underrated speed.  While he won’t outrun defenders he has the burst and acceleration to get to the hole quickly.  There is no wasted movement with Ballard as he gets north and south and his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage and doesn’t look back.

Weaknesses:  Ballard lacks the elusiveness to be an everydown back in the NFL.  He also doesn’t possess the receiving skills to be considered a threat out of the backfield at the next level.  He has split carries throughout his career.

Bottom Line:  The former JUCO standout could be a nice short yardage and goal line back in the NFL and could spell a No. 1 back for carries.  His thick lower body are perfect as a redzone threat in the backfield and he will fool you with his speed.

Draft Projection:  Ballard should be taken between the 4th-5th round.

FF Toolbox:

Ballard tore up junior college for two years then took his talents to Starkville for a pair of successful seasons. The bruising running back rushed 186 yards for 968 yards and an amazing 19 touchdowns as a junior in 2010. As a senior he had 193 carries for 1189 yards and 10 scores. Ballard is also a decent pass-catcher out of the backfield. In his two seasons with the Mississippi State Bulldogs, he made a total of 30 receptions for 193 yards and two touchdowns.

The Pascagoula, MS native stands at 5’11” and 220 pounds. He generally runs in the 4.5s of the 40-yard dash and he has been clocked as fast as 4.47 from that distance. Ballard can break tackles simply by running through defenders, but he struggles to change direction and elude tacklers. He isn’t overly explosive off the ball, so it takes him a decent amount of time to reach top speed. Ballard probably won’t ever be a featured running back at the next level, but he will provide valuable depth and could be a serious factor in red-zone situations. Look for him to go off the board in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft


[pro-player width=’530′ height=’253′ type=’video’][/pro-player]

GiantsGab Thoughts:

Vick Ballard is a thick, physical inside running back prospect. Tough. Not overly fast. Falls forward. Straight ahead back, gets yards inside. Not going to be explosive, not going to be an open-field threat. I really like Ballard. Mostly because he is what he is: he’s a good inside runner, who is fast enough to get to the second level. He’s patient. Runs hard. Breaks tackles. I like him as a replacement for Jacobs. No, he’s not as big, but I think he can fill the inside role, and not try to bounce outside at every moment. 4th or 5th round. I think he would be a bargain and is someone who could surprise.




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13 Responses to “Prospect Profiles: Vick Ballard”

  1. Big Daddy says:

    His film proves two things about running backs, no matter how good they are 1)no hole = no gain 2)good blocking = yards gained.

    Which proves my point, you don’t need a great back, a good one will suffice if you have a good offensive line. You do need a few good ones in the NFL because of the nature of the game. Running backs take a lot of hits and the days of the featured back are about over.

    It’s best to have 3 backs who have different skill sets that a team rotates situationally and to give rest to the other backs. That will keep them healthier throughout the season.

    I didn’t see anything that separates him from so many other backs in the draft. He’ll need to get stronger, learn how to block and some other little technical issues, basically he looks like a good rotational NFL back with some work on his part.

    A good draft pick in the mid rounds, he would help any team and would be a good pick for the Giants. Especially with Andre Brown’s possible/probable departure, I have a feeling he’s gone if it was recreational drugs.

  2. Jason C. says:

    Not so big on Ballard, I think he’s nowhere near the player Ganaway is, and will be. Also Mewelde Moore is a proven player that can do everything he does, plus return kicks and catch the ball out of the backfield. There’s better options out there.

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