California running back Shane Vereen becomes the latest in a long line of former Cal rushers to try his luck in the pros, and the 2011 NFL Draft awaits this 22-year-old junior.
Vereen wasn't a full-time player until 2010 after Jahvid Best left for the NFL. Last season, the third-year Cal back rushed 231 times for 1,167 yards (5.1 per carry) and scored 13 times on the ground. He pitched in 22 receptions for 209 yards and three aerial touchdowns.
- Compact build (5-foot-10 1/4, 210 pounds)
- Much stronger than his size suggests
- Versatile threat - rusher, receiver and return specialist
- Good balance and lateral agility
North-south runner with burst through the hole
- Strong pass blocker
- Quality route runner
- Natural receiver
- Strong upper body (31 bench press reps led all backs)
- Patient runner with above-average vision
- Little wear on the tires
- Doesn't bowl through defenders very often
- Average speed (4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash)
- Injury history (2009 torn meniscus, torn quadriceps in high school)
- Seems to lose any home run ability when given the full load (only two carries longer than 19 yards last year; longs of 61 and 81 earlier in his Cal career)
- Needs to carry the ball high and tight to avoid fumbles
- May not be an every-down back in the NFL
Expected draft placement
Vereen could be a steal for an NFL team in the fourth round or beyond. Given some of his limitations and a few running back prospects with higher grades, Vereen isn't likely to come off the board before the middle of the third round. If a team views him as a potential three-down back, it wouldn't be a total shock to see him drafted in the tail end of the second.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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