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8 Days to the Draft: California RB, Jahvid Best

With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.

The Patriots have the three oldest running backs in the league and can address the running back position in two ways- a bruising back or a shifty back. One gets the short yards between the tackles while the other gets the yards on the outside. California's Jahvid Best is one of the latter. Best is fast, a great receiver and has a great nose for the game. However, he isn't the biggest back, which means that he won't be able to be one of the best blockers, or fight for yards in the goal line situation. Best could be a game changer for our run game and could force defenses to take pressure away from our passing game. He was the fastest back at the combine, but due to injury concerns, he may drop to the middle of the second round. He has put on weight in order to increase his NFL appeal and has done so without losing speed. Known for being a high character guy, Best will be on most teams draft board. Will he be on the Patriots?

His measurements and some quotes after the jump. Scouting

Height: 5-10. Weight: 199.
Projected 40 Time: 4.39.
Combine 40 Time: 4.35.
Benchx225: 18.

Summary: Jahvid Best is a great runner of the football, but he isn't a great running back because he lacks some power running the ball and he is a poor pass protector. He has good hands and some very intriguing tools. Best is a great change-of-pace back and should come off the board in the late first to early second round. Running backs are a dime a dozen, so this hurts his draft stock as running backs are often drafted lower than their talent.

Click the link for a more in-depth player review! Scouting

03/11/2010 - The best measuring stick of Jahvid Best's performance at last month's NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis may have come Wednesday at Cal's pro timing day. Nobody seemed interested in the star tailback. Best came to Memorial Stadium ready to go through position drills in front of NFL personnel evaluators. But only one running backs coach showed up, and he told Best he saw everything he needed to see at the combine. So Best stood on the sideline and watched several of his former teammates go through tests and drills, optimistic about his performance at the combine and eager for the upcoming NFL draft. "It was big, just showing that I'm back healthy and I'm back in shape and that I can do everything that I was doing before," Best said of the combine. "I was ready to go (Wednesday) so I definitely feel a little disappointed, but it's good news, though." Best suffered a severe concussion and back injury after a scary fall against Oregon State in November and missed the rest of the season. He declared for the NFL draft after his junior season. The combine was his first chance to show NFL executives he was healthy. Best ran the fastest 40-yard dash of any running back at the combine (4.35) and also had the best time in the 3-cone drill (6.75), so he wasn't planning on going through tests again Wednesday. He did weigh in at 200 pounds, which was his target weight for the combine to show he had the physique to run between the tackles. He weighed in at 199 in Indianapolis. "I got one pound. That's crucial," Best said. "At the combine, I wanted it to start with a '2' so bad." - Jonathan Okanes, The Oakland Tribune

02/22/2010 - PRO POTENTIAL: Jahvid Best, who gave up his final season of college eligibility to turn pro, is the only Cal player with a chance to be taken in the first round. RB Jahvid Best, an all-conference player as a sophomore in 2008, missed the final four games of the 2009 season after sustaining a serious concussion in the Nov. 13 game against Oregon. A state 100-meter champion in high school, Best has plenty of speed and size for the NFL, and he is an outstanding receiver as well. His best attribute may be as a kick returner, although he did not return kicks as a senior. The concern among the pros is his durability. He missed games each of his three seasons with a variety of injuries, and he had two concussions as a senior. That makes him more vulnerable to future concussions. Without the injury concerns, Best would be an early first-round pick. As it is, he may go late in the first round or early in the second. Scouting

Best is an explosive ball carrier that has the speed to turn a missed tackle into a long touchdown run. He has been productive as a runner as well as a return specialist. He missed the final four games of the 2009 season after sustaining a concussion and sore lower back in the game against Oregon State (11/7/2009). He is a patient runner that does a good job of setting up his blocks and squeezing through small run lanes. He has an explosive burst through the hole and has enough power and leg strength to run through arm tackles but is not big, or powerful enough to move piles. He shows good balance on contact and will fight for yards.

Click the link for a more in-depth analysis!

Verdict: There's only a small chance that Best will drop to the Patriots in the middle of the 2nd, but if he does, I wouldn't mind taking him. While it isn't our front office's MO to take many running backs early in the draft (Laurence Maroney is the only exception), Best would be a perfect addition to our committee and could see considerable time as a rookie. Best has the college experience and the potential to be a Chris Johnson-esque player. I wouldn't normally advocate taking a running back this early, especially if he'll be a committee back, but I feel like Best has the explosion to allow us to become a Tandem back team, which is where we're our most successful.