LaMichael James   RB   Oregon      

TALENT BOARD

 Round 5


STRENGTHS

LaMichael is the type of running back who doesn't need to touch the ball too many times in a game to impact.  He has good speed and quickness and is a tough runner who does not shy away from being tackled.  He will take the ball up the field through the tackles or bring it to the outside.  He is excellent on screen plays and shows good vision in the open field.  He is the type of back that can make something out of nothing.  LaMichael is the type of back all teams like to use as their change-up back or in a two-back system.  If he is kept fresh and not used up all game long, he can change the course of the 4th quarter for your team in the blink of an eye.  LaMichael will add to your special teams as a return man, which increases his impact value for the team that drafts him.

 

CONCERNS

There are some off field issues that most teams will have to answer for themselves.  If LaMichael could prove that he can catch the ball down the field as a slot receiver, that could make all the difference in the world on what round teams will value him in.  He can't do that until after he is drafted and proves it in an NFL game for the team that drafts him because on film, I don't see him doing it at the college level.  Because of his size, LaMichael will struggle on third down protecting his QB when that is called for.  He will also have to learn how to read defenses.  In short, it's time for LaMichael to grow up both on and off the field.  If  some agent is feeding LaMichael's head with statements such as "I think you can be as good as Darren Sproles",  then LaMichael better get smart real fast.  

 

BOTTOM LINE

If LaMichael can prove he can catch the ball down the field, I believe teams will think of him as a potential third down back/slot receiver.  He will also have to learn how to block blitzing linebackers or no offensive coordinator will trust him in the backfield on third down.  There are a lot of times third down backs have to make quick decisions on whether they should make a block or go out to the flat.  Going out to the flat sometimes is the worse decision they can make and if the RB is not reading the defense the same way the QB is reading the defense, it could be a disaster happening right before everyone's eyes in slow motion.  It's not easy being a third down back; the good ones just make it look easy.  LaMichael should help you on special teams, but again, he must make the right decisions such as when to let the ball go, when to fair catch the ball, the timing of when to try to break a big play and, of course, how to carry the ball to avoid fumbles.  If he doesn't show good enough hands to catch the ball down the field, I don't care how many punts he caught at the college level, catching punts at the NFL level is a BIG difference.  Many players who are punt returners in college cannot do it at the NFL level.  If you struggle under pressure to make good decisions in your personal life, more than likely you will struggle under pressure to make good decisions on the football field as well.  It's just that simple.  LaMichael has a buyer beware label attached to him. 

 The BS Detector 

 Drew Boylhart  March /12