Go back to 2009 and wrangle up a group of the top four rushers from each class. That’s 16 running backs. With the exception of CJ Spiller, everyone else in that group weighs at least 215 lbs. As NFL players continually get bigger, faster, and stronger, it’s necessary for running backs to have a sturdy frame.
When scouting running back prospects, I try to keep an eye out for guys in that 215lb+ range that can move with speed and agility. Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Jordan Roberts.
Roberts was a 2008 commit to West Virginia after a freakish high school career that saw him rush for 80 touchdowns and almost 6,000 yards across his junior and senior seasons. When things didn’t work out in Morgantown, he transferred to the University of Charleston (WV) and set the world ablaze for two years, attaining all-American recognition both years.
When I first encountered Roberts’ workout numbers, I thought “that’s pretty darn good for a 219lb running back”. When I compared him to the top rookie rushers of 2012, I was amazed at what I saw. Physically, he is a Doug Martin clone. For reference, 29 bench press reps is on par with first-round lineman prospects.
(Trent Richardson omitted due to incomplete data)
The physical measurable are one thing, but the production is another. Over 523 career caries, he averaged nearly 6.5 ypc and scored a touchdown once every eleven carries! Go ahead, make the strength of schedule argument, but even after a mental SoS adjustment, I have to believe he could have approached Martin’s numbers in that Boise environment.
To be thorough, let’s compare his physical measurable to the top three active rushers from the class of 2011:
Now, compare Roberts’ production to that class:
You’re probably thinking “I’m intrigued. Do you have any film?” Yes, we do.
Or, you’re thinking “Who cares? He played for a D2 school.” If that’s the case, please remember that Fred Jackson, Joique Bell, and Daryl Richardson did not play FBS (Division 1) football and have become NFL contributors. Even guys like Doug Martin (WAC), Alfred Morris (Sun Belt), and DeAngelo Williams (CUSA) have become stars with small conference roots.
Watch for two minutes and you’ll see Jordan Roberts play football like a man with no regard for human life. He returns kicks, blocks punts, jumps over people, throws a touchdown, and easily looks like the best player on the field.
Jordan Roberts has the physical traits to play in an NFL. He has also proven his willingness to contribute in all facets of the game. I’m not saying he is going to be the next Alfred Morris or Doug Martin, but I am saying that he deserves a chance. Throughout his football career he has made the most of every carry and every opportunity. Here’s hoping he gets an opportunity in the NFL.
One last blind-resume, just for fun. The mystery man is one of the best running backs of all time. Tweet at me with your guesses or leave a comment.