(Editor's Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held April 30-May 2, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today's featured player is Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon.)
Honors:Yeldon was a two-time All-SEC selection and a key contributor on the Tide's 2012 national championship team.
Key Stat: Despite backing up future Packer Eddie Lacy, Yeldon became the first Alabama freshman to rush for 1,000 yards (1,108 yards and 12 touchdowns).
Where He's Projected: Most prognosticators have Yeldon on the fringe of the second-tier backs that include Jay Ajayi, Tevin Coleman, Ameer Abdullah and Duke Johnson. In a deep class, Yeldon seems likely to be a Day 2 pick (second to third round). But his consistent three-year production for college football's elite program, in college football's elite conference, should appeal to many teams.
How He Helps the Cowboys: Besides his 1,800-yard rushing season, one of DeMarco Murray's most admirable traits was his complete skill set as a pass-catcher and a blocker -- important for quarterback Tony Romo coming off back surgery. Yeldon has three-down potential, too. Like Murray, he's tall for the position (6-1) and tends to run high, but he's a smooth runner versed in a pro-style system who can give an offense a bit of everything.
Scout's Take: Is a tall upright runner. Floats with the ball in his hands almost like he is gliding in the open field. Will hunt for space. Smooth lateral movements. Productive red zone player. Has a nose for the goal line. Quick feet. Strong when he can plant than explode off that foot to make a cut. Can work through small cracks. Can make a cut to make a man miss. Is a patient ball carrier. Will allow blocks to develop than hit the crease. Balance to bounce the ball outside. Not likely to break many tackles. Will play with choppy steps on the way to the hole. Has some shake moves. Is a better runner when he can take the ball to the outside instead of inside. Lined up wide and ran the slant for a catch vs Texas A&M. Catches the ball easily. Not afraid to help in pass protection. Knows who to hit and will take on his man square. Surprising strength for the position in regards to how well he blocks. Can get out of tight spots with ball in his hands. Will run with balance and spin moves in the open field to fight for extra yards. Will catch the swing pass or screen and take it up the field. Some scouts see him as a third down type of back but I believe he has the size and athletic ability to be an every down back in the league. Is different from the running backs they have had in the past coming out of Alabama in that he is more elusive in his running style. -Bryan Broaddus
-- Other Possible Picks --
Bryce Petty - QB - Baylor
Carl Davis - DT - Iowa
Eric Kendricks - LB - UCLA
Todd Gurley - RB - Georgia
Owamagbe Odighizuwa - DE - UCLA
Shaq Thompson - LB - Washington
Jalen Collins - CB - LSU
Devin Smith - WR - Ohio State
Melvin Gordon - RB - Wisconsin
Tevin Coleman - RB - Indiana
Byron Jones - CB - UConn
Ty Montgomery - WR - Stanford
Eli Harold - DE/LB - Virginia