I wouldn’t call myself a draftnik. I don’t watch the NFL Combine on television. I don’t spend countless hours pouring over video. I don’t live in my parents’ basement. And I don’t get an erection when I hear Mike Mayock’s voice. But I do watch an awful lot of college football on Saturday afternoons, so I’m going to give you my humble opinion on who’s the best running back in the draft after Alabama’s Eddie Lacy.
I’m pretty sure he won’t go on day one, but I absolutely love Florida’s Mike Gillislee. I don’t care what the measurables say, this young man impressed me every time I watched him play last season. He showed terrific vision, the ability to make the first tackler miss and enough speed to run away from defenders. He also looked like a kid who won’t be afraid to take on blitzing linebackers at the next level.
The aforementioned Mayock didn’t rank Gillislee among his top 5 running backs. He had Lacy at No. 1, followed by Wisconsin’s Montee Ball, Clemson’s Andre Ellington, North Carolina’s Giovani Bernard and South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore (who is currently rehabbing a torn ACL). I haven’t seen enough of Ellington and Bernard to comment on their pro potential, but I’ve seen plenty of Ball (that just doesn’t sound right). And as far as I’m concerned, if given the choice between the two, I’d take Gillislee in a heartbeat.
Green Bay’s offense needs a back who’s a threat to score every time he touches the ball. For all the fine work Cedric Benson did early and DuJuan Harris did late, neither player was keeping defensive coordinators up at night. Truth is, Mike McCarthy did defenses a favor every time he ran the ball last season.
I realize that this post may make me look foolish a year or three from now, but that’s perfectly fine. Just because Gillislee’s name wasn’t one of the five burnt into the tablet Mayock brought down from Mt. Combine in Indianapolis doesn’t dissuade me from what my eyes saw on a weekly basis. And while I’m not predicting that Gillislie would lead the Packers to the Promised Land of Northern New Jersey next February, I am predicting that he’d be a really good addition to an already productive offense.