RB Javon Leake, Maryland*

6’0” – 215 lbs. – 4.65

Was a little-used player for his first two seasons at Maryland, carrying the ball a total of 43 times over the past two years, although he managed to gain over 400 yards and score nine touchdowns in the process. Split carries with Anthony McFarland this past year and ran 102-736-8 (7.2) with another nine catches, then declared for the draft. Also returned kicks, with three career return touchdowns. Ball security is a major issue, with seven fumbles in just 215 career touches. Well-built for a pro runner, with a thick, powerful build and solid height; hasn’t shown that he can carry the load as a workhorse, but certainly looks the part.

Slasher who took a lot of his snaps out of pistol and shotgun looks, with a lot of off-tackle runs and sweeps, as well as draws and between-the-tackles carries sprinkled in. For a big back, makes pretty smooth cuts in the backfield. Not the most explosive runner, but has enough speed to win the edge, and build-up speed is also impressive; didn’t test well at the Combine but on tape he looks like a home-run hitter in space. Able to make jump-cuts and slip by second-level defenders in the open field. Has the type of big body to deliver some punishment between the tackles, although he doesn’t actually break too many attempts until he gets a head of steam; in space, shows solid balance and flexibility to stay upright through glancing blows and run through arm tackles. Able to pinball off of opponents and ends most of his runs by falling forward. Vision is hard to get a feel for, as he was running through some gaping holes during the games reviewed.

Value on passing downs is marginal. Typically wasn’t retained in pass protection, and struggles to engage with technique when asked to pick up blitzers, although he has the type of physical profile to potentially develop into a good blocker. Wasn’t targeted much during the games reviewed and had little production in the passing game; didn’t look like a natural when targeted, so it’s possible he’d have to be paired with a third-down back.

A big runner with nimble feet and impressive speed for his size, he is capable of winning the edge and ripping off chunks of yardage when running off-tackle, and can be difficult to bring down once he gets going. Those traits, along with his ability to return kicks, should draw mid-to-late-round interest, although as it currently stands he’ll need to do a better job of protecting the football and working on passing downs in order to have a long career.

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