UDFA Preview: Runningbacks

Could the Bills be in the market for another RB?

With a new CBA deal seemingly only days away its time to start looking at some of the undrafted talent that remains from last April’s draft. Yesterday we looked at the Quarterback options and today will begin our previews with Running Backs, and later on have Wide Receivers, and Tight Ends up.

Bills Current RB Situation:
Fred Jackson
CJ Spiller
Johnny White
Quinton Ganther

A lot of fans out there think that by adding Johnny White in April to the duo of Jackson and Spiller the Bills are set at RB. I’m not as convinced and would like to see Buffalo add a bigger and more powerful back to the mix who they can put in on 3rd and short who knows how to gain tough yards.

RB Brandon Saine-Ohio State
5’11, 220 lbs.

It was a shame that Ohio State’s Brandon Saine was over shadowed, and in our opinion misused in Columbus, because we think his ability could of gotten him drafted had he been with another team. Saine has a great size/speed combination (4.4 40), he runs hard through the hole and shows an extra burst in the open field that can allow him to pull away. Saine also displays a powerful running style that helps him grind out extra yards. He does not go down on first hit and will keep on churning his legs through contact. Add to all of this his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and you have one heck of a potential hidden gem for the Bills.

One thing we do wish Saine would improve on is his running technique. He tends to run with a high pad level and needs to get lower in order to power through some tackles and keep on picking up additional yards. We would also like to see him get skinny in the hole, he has had struggled in the past identifying holes when they weren’t gaping. Causing him to dance in the backfield and take a loss of yards. Finally the one thing you won’t get with Saine is much wiggle, he looks stiff in the hips on tape and won’t make many people miss.

To this day it’s still not clear to us why Ohio State limited Saine to only 70 carries as a senior, and we truly believe that he has the potential to be a hidden gem in this class.

RB Shaun Draughn-UNC
5’10, 213 lbs.

Part of a stable of RB’s at UNC, Draughn may have been the most consistent of all the backs. He is a bigger back with some power to his game and would fit into what the Bills currently lack from their own group of RB’s. He does a good job identifying the hole and cutback lanes on the fly and looks natural picking his way through traffic and setting up downfield blocks. Is a very accomplished receiver out of the backfield, showing off good enough hands to adjust to poorly thrown balls. Isn’t a great blocker, but is a very willing participant and at the very least will often get in the way of the rusher and delay their pass rush.

Draughn needs to use better technique when running the football, he plays with too high of a pad level and this prevents him from breaking many tackles. He stands too upright and has little chance of lowering his shoulder on the defender and delivering the blow as opposed to taking it. Also become of this running style, Draughn can get off balance very easily and in some cases will go down short of the yardage he needed to keep a drive moving.

Draughn is a back with lots of potential and could become a very valuable and versatile rotation back. Draughn’s ability to contribute on every down make him valuable and while we don’t ever see him being a feature guy, if he can learn to run with a lower pad level he could become a very useful power back who can catch and block.

RB Donald Buckram-UTEP
5’9, 194 lbs.

The 2009 version of Donald Buckram was quite a site to behold, he put up 1,594 yards and 18 TD’s before suffering a strained MCL in the final game of the year that eventually required surgery. He then missed four of the first five games in 2010 and when he came back looked like a shell of his former self. When healthy Buckram was quite the prospect with a compact running style that had blazing speed, and a nose for the end zone it looked like nobody was going to be able to stop him…well minus a knee injury that is.

Setting the knee injury aside for a moment, there are legitimate concerns about Buckram’s size and durability. He’s been nicked quite a bit in the past with injuries to both his upper and lower body. This is due in part to his power running style, as well as his smaller stature. Buckram is not an overly effective blocker in pass protection nor is he much of a pass catching threat. If he cannot fully bounce back from this knee injury he may not have a future in football.

Buckram did manage to run a 4.39 40 at his Pro Day at UTEP in front of scouts and while it doesn’t fully prove his knee is healthy, it does help to show he’s on the right path. Many people think Buckram may have rushed back from his injury in 2010 and this caused him to get hurt again and never really regain his speed and power. When healthy Buckram is the most dominant back of this trio.

What do you think? Should the Bills target another RB? Is this even a need? Let us know in the comments!

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