With all of the rules in the NFL favoring Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers from being touched, the easiest way to score points now is to shift the bulk of your talent towards big, speedy Wide Receivers and tall, accurate Quarterbacks. (Of course, the Bengals want to commit themselves to a running game as Mike Brown is always 20 years behind the eight-ball. But, what better way to ensure mediocrity and never have to worry about forking out money for a road playoff game? As long as there are enough people who don't care about winning continuing to pay for season tickets, all is well.)
This trend in Offense continues to show itself in this year's Redszone Mock Draft as only five Runningbacks have been selected through the first three rounds and the top-third of the fourth Round.
So, with the 11th pick of the 2011 REDSZONE NFL MOCK DRAFT, the San Francisco 49er's make the 6th Runningback taken in this draft Nebraska's Roy Helu.
: Fourth-year senior
: 4.4 forty
, 1.51 10-yd split, 11 x 225, 36.5" vertical, 9'11" broad jump, 4.01 ss
: Felix Jones
: 188 - 1,245 (6.6) - 11 Tds; 5 - 46 (9.2) - 0 Tds
Helu possesses ideal size and speed for the position, and his wheels show up in a 6.62 senior-year YPC average that ranks first among the running backs taken on this REDSZONE list. His Combine forty time isn't a mirage. Helu is a home-run hitter with the ability to plant, make one cut, and go the distance. A second-team All-Big 12 honoree by the conference's coaches, Helu graduated as one of Nebraska's top-five all-time rushers despite sharing carries throughout his career. Helu also posted the top ten-yard split time by a running back at the Combine. He has big hands (10 1/8 inches) and flashes tackle-breaking power. Helu was a team captain in 2010.
: Helu needs a lot of weight-room work, and not just because he managed only 11 reps of 225 pounds in Indianapolis. He doesn't maximize his size, too often plays without physicality, and is highly inconsistent. Helu carries a pile six yards upfield on one play, and gets tackled one-on-one by a defensive back on the next. He benefited from a dominant front five in a weak Big 12 North; the Cornhuskers may have three offensive linemen picked in April. Draft analysts question Helu's vision, down-to-down competitiveness, ball security, and blocking.
: Helu has a sky-high ceiling. 220-pound tailbacks just don't run 4.4 flat with elite acceleration very often. But Helu is still a project after four years in college. His best fit would be with a team that relies heavily on zone blocking, and less on power plays, making him a perfect compliment to Frank Gore and the San Francisco 49er's.
Helu won't have to be thrown into the mix with Frank Gore expected to be fully recovered by the time the season starts. Another weapon to add to Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, Helu can line up in the slot, split in the backfield, or as a lead back when Gore is given a rest.
While Roy Helu lasted until the 11th pick in the 4th Round in this "mock" draft, I seriously doubt if he makes it to the 3rd Round in the real draft at the end of this month. So, the dream of having him added to the stable of thoroughbreds in the San Francisco Offense is just that....a fantasy.