Saturday, 3 April 2010

POTD: LeGarette Blount, RB, Oregon

By Kip Earlywine

Height: 6'0"
Weight: 238 lbs
Combine 40 time: 4.62
Pro Day 40 time: 4.53

My thoughts:

I couldn't find enough footage on LaGarrette Blount to be confident in my appraisal, so I'm leaving the bullet points off of this one. The things I couldn't help but notice is that whatever you consider Blount's real 40 time to be, its clear from the tape that he doesn't possess a true 3rd gear. He's often caught from behind on his big runs. He's also a long strider and gradual accelerator- a kind of stiff running style that reminded me of Jonathan Dwyer from Georgia Tech. Still, his speed is pretty good for a guy weighing in at nearly 240 lbs. For this reason, the most common comparison you will probably hear for Blount is Brandon Jacobs.

Jacobs was a total stud for the Giants in '07 and '08, particularly '08. Although it should be mentioned that he did so behind a talented man-scheme offensive line that ranked 3rd and 4th in adjusted line yards in those two seasons. The Giants line started to struggle a bit in 2009, resulting in a dip to 13th in the adjusted line yard rankings, unsurprisingly, Jacobs saw his 5.0 YPC drop precipitously to 3.7 that year.

Anyway, that's enough about Jacobs. Blount really doesn't impress me that much as a ZBS back. If the team wants a power back, there are better fits for the scheme. Blount's vision seems ok, but his cut making ability and explosion are both below average. He didn't seem to break a ton of tackles but I do like how he carries defenders a few extra yards. I guess one other plus is that he has surprising athleticism. In the video I linked, you can see him hurdle a defender (and from what I gather on google images, this is something he does a lot). Its not often you'll see a 240 pound man do that.

Of course, the elephant in the room with Blount is the character concerns, and as it turns out, they go well beyond his infamous punch. In 2008- his first year with the Oregon Ducks, Blount rebelled against then head coach Mike Bellotti, earning him a first quarter suspension against Cal that year. He would later receive an "indefinite" suspension by Bellotti due to missing workouts. That suspension would be lifted before the 2009 season. Of course, that season began by Blount running his mouth Joey Porter/Jerramy Stevens style, and the resulting embarrassing loss at Boise State led to the aforementioned punch and resulting suspension. Both in the classroom and in the weight room, Blount has not earned the reputation of a hard-worker, and he hasn't really done anything this past offseason to alleviate those concerns. Given that he missed essentially all of his last season and has such an extensive character concern list, he kind of reminds me a little of Maurice Clarett.

One thing that does not get talked about much with Blount is that his entire Division I career at Oregon was very brief. He only really played for 1 year, meaning he could be a 1 year wonder, and that happened in 2008. For his career at Oregon, he amassed a mere 159 carries and 4 receptions! In fairness, despite having so few touches, Blount still managed an impressive 19 touchdowns. That's nearly 1 touchdown per 8 carries, and he wasn't just a short yardage back either. Even if he was, that's still an impressive ratio.

With a 6th or 7th round pick, taking a gamble on Blount wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, just don't get your expectations too high. I think Blount could be a good short yardage running back, especially in a man system. There are other short yardage backs I'd probably prefer over Blount, but none of them are as likely to last as late as Blount will. So while I'm not overly impressed with Blount and he seems incredibly risky; he would seem to make a decent fallback plan in round 7 if the team does not address its need for a short yardage back in the middle rounds.


Anonymous said...

I have never been a fan of Blount even before the incident (fan-made hype drove everything). I just thought there were better big backs and this report seems to reinforce that thought.

Anonymous said...

Blount is by no means a speed back but to put it in perspective the guys catching him from behind are 170 lb CB's and that is to be expected.