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1 Day to the Draft: Fresno State RB, Ryan Mathews

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.

Fresno State's Ryan Mathews was one of the best running backs in the nation this past season. While some point to the weaker competition, Mathews did not disappoint when he faced the better teams on his schedule. He has the perfect everything for an RB- height, size, speed, explosion and decision making. However, he lacks top potential as a receiving back out of the backfield. He has durability concerns since he has missed some playing time due to injuries every year. While our committee is built to allow for injuries, I'm sure there are red flags associated with his missed games. Is Mathews the right type of back for our committee? Or will he lead us to a tandem set that we haven't used since the beginning of the century? Is Mathews even an option?

His measurements and some quotes after the jump. Scouting

Height: 6-0. Weight: 217.
Projected 40 Time: 4.45.
Combine 40 Time: 4.41.
Pro Day 40 Time: 4.46.
Benchx225: 19. Vertical: 36. Broad: 10-1.

Player Comparison: Laurence Maroney. Maroney can't play on third down and has been inconsistent in the league despite great production in college.

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

04/13/2010 - TOP RATED NFL DRAFT SCOUT RUNNING BACKS: *Ryan Mathews, Fresno State, 6-0, 218, 1: Mathews led the nation in rushing in high school and college, but NFL scouts seemed to remain skeptical until he dazzled them at the combine, where his best time over 40 yards was 4.37 seconds. He is a decisive, strong, cut-and-go runner who uses exceptional leg and body strength to run through most tackles. He also is an effective blocker on passes and in space and has soft, reliable hands as a receiver. In 2009, Mathews rushed for 1,808 yards despite missing a game and a half because of injuries. He was at his best against the best on the Bulldogs' schedule, such as Boise State (234 yards, three touchdowns), Wisconsin (107 rushing yards), Cincinnati (145 rushing yards, touchdown) and Illinois (173 rushing yards, three touchdowns). - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange, Sports/USA TODAY Scouting

Mathews is a good sized running back that runs hard and shows a good burst through the hole. He is a one cut runner that does not waste a lot of time dancing around in the backfield. Once he gets past the first level he could use a bit more elusiveness in space as he has some straight line to him. He tends to run a bit erect but does show upper body strength to stiff arm his way out of a tackle as well as balance on contact to stay on his feet and fight for extra yards. He has struggled to stay healthy as he has missed time in each season at Fresno State.

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

Verdict: I don't see us going for Mathews, despite his potential. Mathews has a huge ceiling at the pro level, but will most likely be a first round pick. Grabbing an injury prone RB who will play in a committee doesn't seem like the best course of action when the defensive side of the ball needs a lot of help. I think our team will be content entering the season with the mix of backs we have, plus maybe a late round/FA pick-up. No to Mathews.