Top running backs

April 15, 1999|By Ken Murray

The top five-rated running backs, according to Mel Kiper Jr.:

Ricky Williams, Texas

Height, weight: 5-10, 224

40-yard dash time: 4.43 seconds

Strengths: Runs with power and speed. Is strong enough to bounce off tacklers, nimble enough to make defenders miss. Can pound ball inside.

Weaknesses: Had 26 fumbles in 46 career games at Texas, fueling speculation about his smallish hands. Wasn't used much as a receiver out of the backfield.

Edgerrin James, Miami, Fla.

Height, weight: 6-0, 216

40 time: 4.43

Strengths: Power runner, very effective inside, but capable of getting to the corner. Has good instincts, good feet.

Weaknesses: Like Williams, has been fumble-prone. Out early, he was just realizing his college potential at Miami.

Cecil Collins, McNeese State

Height, weight: 5-8, 209

40 time: 4.40

Strengths: Physical skills are impressive. Has a strong burst, but is not a breakaway runner. Makes first tackler miss.

Weaknesses: Shadowed by character issues after legal problems led to him getting kicked off two teams. Has played in only six college games.

Kevin Faulk, LSU

Height, weight: 5-7, 205

40 time: 4.53

Strengths: Talented runner and good receiver out of the backfield. Elusive in open field. Big-play capability. Productive college back with 4,557 career yards.

Weaknesses: His size may render him a situational player, rather than an every-down back in the NFL. Not used a lot in passing game.

Mike Cloud, Boston College

Height, weight: 5-10, 200

40 time: 4.50

Strengths: Very good speed and acceleration. Impressive in open field. Makes defenders miss. Similar to Miami's Karim Abdul-Jabbar.

Weaknesses: Probably not an every-down back at his size. Not real effective inside.

NFL draft

When: Saturday, noon-10 p.m.* (Rounds 1-3); Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.* (Rounds 4-7) TV: ESPN (Saturday, noon-7 p.m.), ESPN2 (Saturday, 7 p.m.- conclusion); ESPN (Sunday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.), ESPN2 (1 p.m.-conclusion)

Total selections: 253

First pick: Cleveland Browns

Ravens' picks: First round, 10th overall; second round, 42nd; fourth round, 105th, 129th; fifth round, 145th; seventh round, 216th.

Time limits per team: Round 1, 15 minutes; Round 2, 10 minutes; Rounds 3-7, 5 minutes.

* - Approximate

Pub Date: 4/15/99

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