James Connor   RB   Pittsburgh


James Connor reminds me of former Steelers Running Back Franco Harris. (Look him up) He runs with the same style and gate and with subtle authority that surprises the player tackling him. He can block and catch the ball out of the back field and is a complete running back. He works well between the tackles with good quick lateral agility moving up the field north/south instead of east/west. He can turn the corner because of his excellent use of a stiff arm that keeps players off his legs and that stiff arm will limit leg injuries. James can catch the ball down the field like a receiver. He is more than a willing blocker and his passion to play at a high level is what sets him apart from a lot of other players in this draft. I don’t think anyone will ever be sorry for selecting a player like James and adding him to a roster because of his talent and passion to play football.

I don’t think there is any doubt that James's medical history will affect his draft status. All I can say is look at the last 4 games of his season and you can see the speed and agility coming back to his body. Will James be able to physically be your top running back and carry the running game for an entire NFL season? I think that question is moot. I mean seriously, isn’t that the question for any running back coming out? James has held up and his health has improved from game to game this year so the only question left in my mind is does he have the athletic talent, football intelligence and passion to be a starting running back in multiple styles of offense in the NFL? I think he does.

I understand the concern teams may have in selecting James as high as his talent grade is. Nevertheless this profile is about his talent to play in the NFL and the possible impact he could have in the NFL and it is not about what round he will be or should be selected. This is how you find the steals in a draft. This is how you select a player in the later rounds that everyone knows has talent but because of an issue his potential value to a team might not be obvious. This is why Rob and I invented the “Two Board System” and why Rob was the first Draftnik to call his main board a “Value board” and not a Draft board. Although no one in the media acknowledges this fact, you are hearing the word “value” more and more every year and now you are seeing more and more analyst using the “separation of the talent” of a player and his “value” when discussing the draft. For example, you may hear analyst say the following, “I don’t have a first round grade on any Quarterbacks but we expect them to be selected in the first round”. Years ago this type lingo was not used in the vernacular of any analyst talking about the NFL draft. James Connor has excellent talent but his “value” is in question for whatever reason you want to use. Maybe because of the position he plays or maybe it’s because teams are not sure of the position he will play. That being said, thinking James is going to be selected in the 2nd round is foolish but, that’s what I see his talent or impact will be. Some teams will think of him as a possible fullback because of his size, some teams will take him off their boards because of his medical history and some teams will rate him like I did and wait to see where Rob has listed James on his “Value” Board knowing full well that James's “value” is in question but not his talent. Managing the draft with the information you have in front of you at the time of the draft is really the only way to measure the success a team had that day. Everyone thinks they selected talent at the end of the draft but the key is when and how they were able to select that talent. James is a perfect example of managing the draft. You look for the approximant round, Rob has evaluated James’s “Value to all 32 Teams and then select him in that round or one round ahead or behind. That’s managing the draft and that’s how you get starting impact players in the latter rounds. Happy Drafting

Drew Boylhart  MAR.2017