RB, Noel Devine (5’7⅝” 177 lbs.) – West Virginia Mountaineers
Competitiveness: For a smaller back, shows superb toughness running the ball. Played most of the 2010 season with an injury, but showed his true competitive spirit by playing through the pain. Willing to run inside as well as take on defenders head on. Does tend to shy away from contact when near the sideline.
Vision/Patience: Shows the ability to wait for blocks to develop before hitting the open hole, but is inconsistent at it. Needs to develop more patience and hold his water more often. On broken plays, uses his vision to bounce plays outside. Also has a great ability to exploit seams in the defense and pick up huge yardage.
Agility/Acceleration: Might have the best combination of agility and acceleration amongst all the running backs in the draft. He has above average top end speed, can cut on a dime, and break defenders down in open space. Accelerates and gets up to top speed quickly. Can hit the home run if run fits aren’t played properly and edges aren’t set. Due to his injury in 2010, he didn’t break off as many explosive plays, but has shown when healthy, he is a threat from anywhere on the field.
Power/Balance: Small in stature. Does not possess much power in his small frame. Shows the and ability to drop a mean stiff arm from time to time, but will not be running over any defenders at the next level. On the other hand, his balance is excellent when planting and cutting. Can be pushed and/or pulled down with relative ease.
Passing Game: Has receiver-like ability coming out the backfield. Catches the ball well with his hands, but doesn’t contort his body to make difficult catches consistently. Very good at picking up blitzes, even from larger linebackers.
Intangibles: Some question marks about Devine’s maturity and character have been raised. Has been in some trouble with the law, and has fathered three children. Was named a 2010 Team Captain. Received multiple awards while at West Virginia and coaches say he has matured during his time there.
Overall Stock: Noel Devine had better numbers during his 2009 campaign and probably would have been drafted higher if he had come out last year. He suffered a toe injury in 2010, and that really hampered his production. Devine has big play ability written all over him. He can make difference as a change of pace back, third down back and kick returner at the next level. Right now as it stands, Devine looks like a fourth round pick.
NFL comparisons: Steve Slaton, LaRod Stevens-Howling, and Darren Sproels