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Prospect Profiles: RB Jahvid Best (CAL)

Up next in our series is Jahvid Best. One of the most dynamic and interesting prospects (in terms of where he will fall) in the N.F.L. Draft.

Best has GREAT pure speed, and was really productive in college.

Where will he end up? Will he make it far enough to get to the Giants in round two?

I was going to wait until after the combine to profile Best becuase if he runs a mind-blowing 40 he could be drafter higher than I think. In other words people know he’s fast, but if he’s FASTER than Fast his stock will probably rise.  Can teams protect him from injury?

Pro Draft Party

Jahvid Best

Measurables (Combine Numbers When Available)

5’10” 195 pounds. Born January 30, 1989. Junior.


Career: 364 attempts, 2,668 yards, 29 touchdowns. (6 receiving touchdowns in his career as well)

2009: 141 attempts 867 yards 12 touchdowns. 22 catches 213 yards 4 receiving touchdowns in 9 games.

Big Games: 137 yards rushing vs Maryland (23 receiving).  2 rushing touchdowns.

144 yards rushing vs Eastern Michigna (19 receiving and a reception touchdown) 1 rushing touchdowns.

At Minnesota. 131 yards rushing 5 touchdowns. 17 yards receiving

@ UCLA 102 yards rushing 1 touchdown. 51 yards receiving 1 receiving touchdown.

vs Washington State 159 yards rushing 2 touchdowns. 27 yards receiving 1 touchdown.

Poor Games:

@ Oregon 55 yards rushing (3.4 yards per carry).

vs USC 47 yards rushing (3.4 yards per carry)

@ Arizona State 63 yards rushing (3.3 yards per carry)

Best had some absolutely dominating performances in his senior season, but what is a little troubling is that the two best teams that he played absolutely contained best. Vs Oregon and USC two teams who have a lot of speed Best 102 yards rushing total at 3.4 yards per carry. He also only had 19 total yards receiving.

In 2008 Best had 30 yards rushing on 2.3 yards per carry. And under a 100 yards total vs Oregon again (although his yards per carry was much better vs Oregon in 2008. 5.8 yards per carry).

Now, Best didn’t have very many complementing weapons, but he didn’t excel vs USC a team with a lot of speed.

Scouting Reports

Football Fan Spot

/6/09: To put it bluntly, Jahvid Best is fast. In terms of game speed, he may be the fastest player in college football. He has an excellent arsenal of quickness, speed, and moves and had a YPC average of 8.1 last season. He’s also a solid pass catcher. At a time with the wildcat and crazy offenses of the sort, speed guys like Best are becoming more and more valuable. Another season like last year’s and Best is probably a first round pick. In a way, Best is similar to Joe McKnight, CJ Spiller, and Noel Divine, the three big name speedsters who could come out this year, but I think he’s faster than all of them in terms of game speed. As for his timed speed, expect it to be somewhere between 4.31-4.35, with a possibility of a sub 4.3 time. Because of his speed, he’s a threat for a big play every time he touches the ball, but he’s also at risk for 1 or 2 yard clunkers every time he touches the ball. He’s not very big at 5-10 195. Normally you like your running backs to be about 200 pounds in the NFL and Best comes up just short. Even Chris Johnson, Tennessee’s speedster, is 200 pounds. He’s not a great in between the tackles runner and might never become an every down back in the NFL, though in an era with running back by committees and the wildcat offense, that doesn’t mean he’s not valuable and that doesn’t mean he’s incapable of going in the first round. He has good hands when means you could line him up in the slot to through off defenses. He has an injury history and had 2 surgeries this offseason, though after his first game this season, in which he had 137 yards on 10 carries and 2 touchdowns, it appears he has shaken those injuries off. Still, with his small frame you have to wonder if he can take an NFL caliber beating. In the end, this guy is a first day lock with his speed and has the potential, with another big season and a big combine, to make the first round, though, at this point, the early 2nd round seems a little bit more realistic, as he hasn’t proven he can carry the load by himself. His career high for carries in a season is 194 and he only has 233 carries in his whole college career.

NFL Comparison: Jamaal Charles

Draft Board

Scouting Report:  Jahvid Best is another one of those backs who are human highlight reels.  He’s a remarkable athlete, and has all those skills you’d expect from a guy who runs like he does.  Acceleration and cut, straightline speed, elusiveness, excellent vision and the ability to hit the hole in a hurry.  Also on the positives, he runs with nice leverage and has good pad level.  He’s also an adequate receiver out of the backfield.  In fact, when you compare his skill set to that of CJ Spiller, and the reality is, they are so very similar, Best is a better running back than Spiller, and just as dangerous in the open field.  But like Spiller, there is a dark side, and it’s also very similar.  Best has a slight frame and doesn’t look to be able to withstand the punishment of being an every down back.  He’s not a great inside runner, and doesn’t have the strength to fight for tough yardage.  He also runs with that Reggie Bush mentality that he can pop every play outside and use his speed, but that stopped working for Bush in the NFL so it will for Best as well.  Right now Best is also a two down back as he is awful at pass protection, and not polished at all as a receiver.  And even worse, Best suffered a frightening injury Against Oregon back at the start of November.  They are simply calling it a severe concussion and back injury, but having watched the game live, and the replays, it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

Draft Status: Best is only a junior, so there’s a good chance he decides to return to school for his senior season.  He could make a run at a Heisman, and show the NFL he’s the best back in the nation.  But on the flipside, after the injury he suffered, is he really going to go back, and risk it again, without an NFL contract behind it?  All reports are Best will make a full recovery, and if that’s the case, he’s going to wow teams at the Combine and workouts.  That makes him a first round pick for sure, but he could slip behind Spiller, simply because of Spiller’s return ability and Best’s concussion concerns.

Final Analysis:  I think first and foremost I have to say I am so glad Best is even a subject of a scouting report after what happened to him on November 7th.  His career and much more could have been taken away from him in a single play.  Best would make a great complimentary player to a big back.  He’s so athletic and fast he would really be able to take advantage of a tired defense, or take a fresh one by surprise.  No, he’s not 20 touches a game, but as a role player, he could be very effective.  I sincerely hope Best has a great NFL career especially after everything he’s been through and I will certainly be rooting for him.

Reminds me of: Willie Parker, RB Pittsburgh Steelers-Similar size and game.  Both guys do too much dancing and not enough running, but like Parker, Best has a role in the league for a team that can utilize his physical gifts and pair him up with another back, like what the Steelers are doing with Parker.  A homerun threat is hard to find in the NFL, so Best will be in demand.

ESPN’s Scouts Inc

Production 2 2007: (10/0) 29 carries, 221 yards (7.6 avg.), 2 TD; 13 rec., 74 yards (5.7 avg.), 1 TD; 15 KOR, 405 yards (27.0 avg.); 12 total tackles, 1 FR; First-team All-Pac-10 as a special teams player. 2008: (12/12) 194 carries, 1,580 yards (8.1 avg.), 15 TD; 27 rec, 246 yards (9.1 avg.), 1 TD; 16 KOR, 421 yards (26.3); First-team All-Pac-10.
Height-Weight-Speed 3 Adequate height and bulk, above-average top-end speed.
Durability 4 2007: Misses three games with hip injury. 2008: Misses spring practices with hip injury. Dislocates left elbow and misses Arizona state game. 2009: Misses spring practices recovering from foot and elbow surgeries. Misses practice time with a toe injury during preseason. Sustains a concussion and injures his back during Oregon State game, misses the final three games of the season.
Intangibles 2 2007: Named the team’s Most Valuable Freshman and also received the J. Scott Duncan Award (Most Valuable Special Teams Player). 2008: Shared the Bear Backers Award given to the Team MVP with seniors Zack Follett and Alex Mack. Named the team’s Most Valuable Back. Voted Offensive MVP of the Emerald Bowl.
Vision/Patience 2 Reads the flow of the defensive front and cuts back up inside when the defense tries to take away the edge. Patient and lets offensive linemen get into position before turning on the jets but is a little too indecisive on stretch plays and could turn shoulders upfield more quickly at times.
Inside Runner 3 Explodes through the hole and can hit the second level going full speed but he needs a seam to be effective. Drives legs after contact and finishes runs but lacks ideal lower-body strength and is not going to push the pile in short-yardage/goal line situations.
Outside Runner 1 No information available at this time
Passing Game 2 A little inconsistent in this area but can will catch with his hands and does not have to break stride to bring the ball in. Shows great focus when the ball is in the air and flashes the ability to make one-handed catches. Has the burst to separate from linebackers and safeties in man coverage. Fast enough to run past NFL linebackers on wheel routes and tracks the deep ball well. Can motion out to or line up at wide receiver. Dangerous after the catch. Keeps his head up and recognizes blitzes but isn’t big enough to anchor and is not an effective cut blocker at this point.

Big Board Rankings (2/20)

ESPN’s Scouts Inc 38th

Draft Tek 26th

Draft Board Insider 22nd

Football Fan Spot 19th

CBS Draft Spot 32nd

(I Originally looked these up on February 2nd. Best’s stock has fallen in all but two of these boards (where they remained the same)

Bartolis Summary and Final Verdict

Jahvid Best is a game-breaker, but I don’t think he’s as well rounded as C.J. Spiller is in terms of running ability or as a football player. Although, I think that Best probably has better straight line speed.

Another problem is that U.C.L.A  (via ESPN’s website) lists Jahvis Best as being 5’10”, but that’s probably a stretch, although it’s not uncommon.

It will be interesting to see what Best’s numbers will be when he has an official weigh-in during the off-season whether it be the combine or at a Pro-Day.

Best’s size is important because unlike Sproles (when he was entering the draft) Best has more injury concerns.

Bartolis Final Verdict

I, like most, think C.J. Spiller is the better football player, but there is no denying that Best is a fast Mo.Fo. Best is an absolutely dynamic game changer out of the backfield.

While it is of a little concern to me that Best could not run well vs USC or Oregon…two teams that are built on speed it’s not overly concerning. Best was still very productive during the season, scoring more than a touchdown a game during his senior season.

Jahvid Best will not be drafted as high as his talent level dictates he should be drafted. I think he will go very early in round two or late in round one.

Best, to me is not the next Chris Johnson, but he could very well be the next Darren Sproles.

This draft has three players who are speedsters, but undersized…Best, C.J. Spiller, and Dexter McCluster.

Of the three, I think Spiller is the best all around football player. Best is probably the fastest and McCluster has the most versatility.

Jerry Reese is much closer to a B.P.A approach than many teams and I think he would definitely draft Best if he were available in the second round witht he Giants 2nd pick, but I don’t think Best will be available when the Giants pick again. I can’t imagine Best getting past Cleveland in the second round if he’s available.

And while I would hope Best is available in Round two and would not be completely adverse to moving up two or three spots to secure his freakish ability we’ll see what happens. Which is possible, but I should put this caveat…he has to be cleared medically becuase he has had at least one concussion during his college career and you know what they say about concussions…after the first one they become easier to get.

Best plays fast, and if he runs a ungodly 40 time could be taken earlier than I think he will be.

Previous Profiles:

OT Trent Williams

Derrick Morgan

OL Mike Iupati

S Chad Jones

OLB/DE Sergio Kindle

ILB Sean Lee

S Eric Berry

OT Bruce Campbell

ILB Daryl Washington

DT/NT Dan Williams (Updated with K.C. Joyner’s Draft Lab 2/7)

CB Kyle Wilson

DT Jared Odrick

DE Carlos Dunlap

ILB Micah Johnson

DT Arthur Jones

OT Bryan Baluga

OT Anthony Davis (UPDATED 2/5/10)

DT Brian Price

ILB Brandon Spikes

S Earl Thomas

ILB Rolando McClain

RB C.J. Spiller

S Taylor Mays

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10 Responses to “Prospect Profiles: RB Jahvid Best (CAL)”

  1. Steve B says:

    I am against taking a RB in the first 2 to 3 rounds of the draft.

    I think there are far greater needs, and would rather trade down to get the position we need, then take one we dont in the 2nd round.

    I do believe Jerry Reese goes by the BPA to an extent. Usually in the first round he selects a position of need- CB in 2007, S in 08, WR in 09.

    All the other rounds he usually stick to BPA, but he does focus on certain positions. Say we need a DT, S, and OT in the 2nd round. The highest rated player out of those 3 poisitions would be selected. Not just based on BPA.

    Sam Bradford could fall to the 2nd round (doubtful, but never know what physical says) does that mean that we should draft Bradford, just because he is best player avil? No, we would focus on our positions of need, and then chose the best player avilable out of that position group.

    Jerry Reese usually takes this approach (BPA on certain positions) with rounds 2 and 3. Sometimes with 4, but usually rounds 4-7 is strickly BPA.

    And another note: Reese has not selected a RB higher then the 4th round. RB’s are a dime a dozen, and they feel that a guy in the 4th round, can be just as good as a guy in the 1st/2nd round.

    Just look at our current RBs
    Jacobs 4th round
    Brown 4th round
    Bradshaw 7th round
    Ware was a late round/UFA (selected by Jets)

    • Jeremy says:

      I agree Reese drafts that way to a T, BPA of a position of need, but not necessarily our most needed position, I could see him drafting for our top 3 positions of need in any order.

  2. Jeremy says:

    I love jahvid best skill set, I’m one of the few who like him better then CJ Spiller. I’ve seen him run between the tackles on several occasions and unlike Reggie he isn’t afraid of contact. This would be a luxary pick that I would cosign in the second round if he were still available. But if we drafted him my main man bradshaw would be out of a job.

  3. Jahvid Fan says:

    Umm… you might want to double check Jahvid’s college — he’s from the University of California — NOT UCLA.

  4. Jeremy says:

    This is way off topic but it really annoys me when critics say Eli doesn’t have it in him to be a leader. The only reason he wasn’t more vocal before was he had to take a back seat to veterans like shockey and plax and toomer. Now that he’s the older statesman we will see that he is the unquestioned leader of this team. He’s already yelling at his recievers and backs when they screw up we will see more this up coming season. Believe you me this ain’t your grandpa’s Giants.

    • Steve B says:

      I wouldnt let that get to you.

      For years they have been saying that Eli is not vocal….

      But in the Saints game, when Bradshaw screwed up a blocking assignment that lead to quick pressure, and then an INT, Eli was yelling at Bradshaw, and the whole media world stopped, and said why is Eli yelling?

      Eli is the leader of the offense, no question.

      Sure he doesnt get everyone pumped up like Brees, but who elese does that?

      Eli is the leader on the field, and in the end thats all that really matters. Eli leads by example.

      Now on defense there is a lack of a leader, and I believe that will be Tuck. Some people say that Dansby is a leader, but I am not buying that. Maybe he was a leader for the Cardinals, but it is very hard for a FA to come in and be a leader, especially the high profile guys.

      Think about LT, Strahan, they were with the team as rookies, they emerged as leaders, they werent brought in.

      In other words, you cant buy leadership, it has to come from within, something that is home-grown.

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