Ray Graham 2013 NFL Draft prospect notes

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 29: Ray Graham #1 of the Pittsburgh Panthers celebrates his rushing touchdown against the South Florida Bulls during the game on September 29, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Ray Graham | Running back | Pittsburgh | 5'9, 195 pounds

Games watched: Iowa, Notre Dame, South Florida, Rutgers

First word: There were few more exciting players in the first half of last year's college football season than Pittsburgh's Ray Graham. Then, on his second carry against Connecticut, he knee buckled and his ACL tore on a plant cut. Through seven games last season, he led the NCAA in rushing with 945 yards on 162 carries. Whether or not Graham is a legit NFL prospect will be determined by how he comes back from that injury. Graham's game is based on quickness and speed. Will it be the same after the injury?

Strengths:

• Shiftiness is often overstated with slightly undersized running backs, but Graham's quicks are amongst the best in college football. He has the ability to stop and cut to make defenders miss.

• Graham's vision is what will separate him from other undersized backs. He's patient behind the line of scrimmage and waits for a hole to open up. When it does, Graham hits the lane with immediacy. Sets up his blocks well.

• Quickly accelerates to top speed both going straight line and when coming out of a cut. Shows good balance when he has to make a defender miss in the open field.

• Advanced as a receiver. Graham isn't necessarily a big-play threat catching the ball, but he has solid hand and is dependable. Caught 30 passes for 200 yards as a junior.

Weaknesses:

• Although Graham runs with good pad level, unless he adds some power, he's never going to be the strongest runner. He makes defenders miss more with his agility and less with his power.

• Won't ever be a breakaway speed runner. While Graham's speed isn't bad, it's not elite. In that regard, Graham is more like LaMichael Jame's than Jamaal Charles or Chris Johnson.

• Work in progress as a pass blocker.

• Knee injury will be an overriding concern until he proves it's not an issue.

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