Lamar is one of the most dangerous running backs and kick returners in this draft. He is an explosive runner and if you don't tackle him before the line of scrimmage or at the line of scrimmage, you run the risk of him scoring a touchdown from any place on the field. He has quick feet and can cut as quickly as anyone in this draft at the wide receiver position. Lamar will have to be accounted for when he is on the field and he will force you to keep a safety in the box which should open up your passing game. Lamar is a one cut back with good potential to develop into an all around, any type of offensive system, running back/slot receiver, because he shows good balance. He can break tackles, but that is not his strength for the next level. He works mostly out of a two-back set right now, but for the next level with his speed and size I would think you have to look at him as a player that you want to keep on the field and play multiple positions all over your offense. The problem with that is Lamar hasn't been used that way at the college level. Lamar will have a lot to prove in workouts and workouts are not football, they are just workouts.
It's hard to list all of my concerns about Lamar. First, can he catch the ball down the field? Miami took him off the field inside the red zone on third downs and did not throw the ball to him that much. Second, he needs to improve his blocking and reading defenses. Right now he doesn't do either very well. Third, he has to prove that he can handle (mentally) the play book at the next level for multiple positions. Right now I would be surprised if he knows one third of the plays he will need to learn at the next level. Lamar does not run with much power between the tackles, but if he is not touched, he can break the big play. He is not a "move the chains" style of back for the next level. He needs to understand situational football and that not every play has to be a touch down play. For Lamar to be truly effective and become an impact player, he has to learn the route tree, how to execute successful routes and he must gain more confidence in himself. When he runs with confidence, he is a different runner. When he runs without confidence, he is easy to take down. In his defense, Lamar looks like he has a good work ethic which should serve him well at the next level.
Is Lamar a boom or bust player? I don't think so. He has a lot to learn but I think if he shows good hands someone should make him a wide receiver. I truly think he can become a franchise wide receiver. If he stays as a running back then you have to use him like Reggie Bush or CJ Spiller is being used -- a different position on every down. Keep him in space and give him the ball. He is a match-up nightmare and if he had shown (at the college level) the ability to catch the ball down the field I think you would be looking at top ten talent. The big question is can Lamar learn what he needs to learn to become the player his talent suggests that he can become? I say give him some time and I think he will do it. He might be one of the fastest players I have ever seen in ten yards and that alone is enough to draft him. The closer we get to the draft, if Lamar can prove he can catch the ball down the field like a wide receiver, you should see Lamer fly up the draft boards. This type of speed is unique and that, along with his toughness, will be the key to his success. Most of the time players with speed do not like to get hit, but Lamar coming from the running back position does not have a problem with that and that makes him different. Big time talent, with big time potential. For you young guys, Lamar plays a lot like Reggie Bush or CJ Spiller. For you old guys, it's like watching the Ghost of Christmas past: think Gayle Sayers. Not as football savvy right now, but has that type of potential.
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart Feb /12