2011 NFL Draft Sleepers: All Underrated Team - Running Back

More so than at any other position, late round picks seem to have the ability to make a smooth transition to the NFL at the running back position. If thrust into the right situation, a mid level running back can outperform some of the most talented prospects. Just ask Arian Foster.

The 2011 NFL Draft is lacking elite running back prospects behind Alabama's Mark Ingram and Mikel Leshoure of Illinois. Therefor, teams looking for a tailback may wait to address that need until the middle rounds.

Here at Mockingthedraft.com we are going to put together a team of underrated prospects that have a chance to outperform their draft position. In order to be considered a sleeper, a player cannot be a consensus first round prospect, and must not be considered one of the top three to five players at his position.

Today we take a look at the running back position.


 Running Back: Stevan Ridley, LSU - Projected Round:3

Any running back that puts up 15 touchdowns playing in the SEC has a reasonable chance of being successful in the NFL. Stevan Ridley's bruising running style allowed him to handle the grind of the SEC schedule showing durability and consistency.

He may not be the fastest running back (4.66), but Ridley is arguably the best inside runner in this draft class. Ridley has tremendous explosion in his lower body and maintains a great pad level at the point of contact. The LSU running back also has impressive vision and surprisingly quick cutback moves. At six feet tall and 225 pounds, Ridley is a bowling ball between the tackles and very tough to bring down.

When comparing Ridley to the top running back prospects available in the 2011 NFL Draft, there is not much separating him from Mark Ingram and Mikel Leshoure. He lacks the straight line speed and game breaking elusiveness, but Ridley is a dependable and durable inside runner who should be able to produce in the NFL right away.

Ridley compares favorably to fellow SEC running back Ben Tate, who was a second round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Stevan Ridley presents an ideal value in the third round and beyond given his ability to make an instant impact in short yardage situations.

Other candidates for this spot included Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones, Nebraska's Roy Helu Jr., and DeMarco Murray of Oklahoma. Taiwan Jones would have been the pick, but his stock is picking up steam after he ran a 4.29 at his pro day. Therefore, he is not much of a sleeper anymore.

Who is your favorite sleeper running back in the 2011 NFL Draft? Discuss.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.