Charles Sims, our top-rated running back for the 2014 NFL Draft, is on the move. Where he ends up, no one knows – not even Sims at this point.
"I don't know what my next step will be," Sims said in a release given to Rivals.com site Cougars Den. "I have one more year of eligibility, therefore I may look to play (1) more year of college football or I may enter the NFL Supplemental Draft later this year."
No reason why Sims left Houston has been released or even alluded to. He told Cougars Den he will make a decision in the "near future." The school is not commenting on the departure, but Sims has already graduated. Because of that, he is eligible to play immediately should he transfer.
Entering the supplemental draft would be an easier option for Sims. The supplemental draft is typically held in the first two weeks of July. Sims is coming off a season of 1,224 yards rushing despite missing three games and parts of two others. He's also a legitimate receiver out of the backfield, with 158 career receptions.
As a prospect, Sims is a lot like Darren McFadden of the Oakland Raiders. He doesn't have quite as much quickness or burst, but he can be a strong runner in the open field and has good size. At a listed 6-foot and 215 pounds, Sims has optimal size for an NFL running back and a frame to get even more powerful.
That's something he'll need to do in the NFL. Sims runs with an upright running style and isn't the kind of back that will push a pile. He has enough leg strength to break solo lower body tackle attempts, but he's not going to push a lot of defenders off or simply bowl them over.
In last year's supplemental draft, the Cleveland Browns used a second-round pick on wide receiver Josh Gordon. At the time, it looked like a massive overreach, but Gordon showed enough as a rookie to warrant the pick. Seven other players in the supplemental draft went unselected.
So just where could Sims land in the supplemental draft this year? As a running back, he's already at a disadvantage. In the NFL today, it is as a decidedly undervalued position. In 2010, a seventh-round pick was used on running back Harvey Unga, but he was viewed as more of a fullback than lead ball carrier. The last pure running back taken in the supplemental draft was Tony Hollings. The Houston Texans used a second-round pick on him, but that was in 2003.
It's a much different NFL now, and most teams already seem to have their backfield set. As much was shown in the draft this year when the first running back wasn't taken until the 37th overall pick (Giovani Bernard to the Cincinnati Bengals). Just two running backs were taken in the top 50 picks and free agents like Ahmad Bradshaw, Beanie Wells, Cedric Benson and numerous others remain on the open market.
Because of that, it's hard to see a team forfeiting anything higher than a fourth-round pick on Sims. NFL teams will want to know why Sims, an all-conference performer, left the team where he was the centerpiece. If it's anything remotely negative, teams will shy away. It may be smarter for Sims to try and transfer and show why he's highly regarded.
Coming out of high school, Boise State, Texas Tech and UTEP offered Sims a scholarship. Seth Littrell, the current offensive coordinator at Indiana, recruited Sims at Texas Tech.
For Houston, this is a blow. Momentum was in the Cougars' favor as they enter the American Athletic Conference. In April, former Cougars cornerback D.J. Hayden was the team's highest drafted player in two decades when he went 12th overall. Quarterback David Piland had a sound first season with 2,924 passing yards and has a bevy of veteran receivers. With the departure of Sims, Houston will now have to rely on sophomore running back Kenneth Farrow, himself a future NFL prospect.