2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report: James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh

Determination, strength, and hard working are all traits that NFL teams look for in a player. Draft prospect James Conner, RB form Pittsburgh, fulfills all of those traits. In 2014 Conner rushed for over 1,700 yards and 26 touchdowns. He was named ACC Player of The Year.

During his time at the University of Pittsburgh, Conner went through so many ups and downs on and off the football field. Conner tore his MCL in his right knee that took him out for the 2015 season. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in shortly after.

Conner was able to fight cancer while continuing his training for the 2016 season. After receiving the amazing news that he was cancer free, Conner was ready to get back to his dominating ways. Rushing for over 1,000 yards, and 16 touchdowns in 2016, Conner was back playing the game he loves most. James Conner announced he would enter the 2017 NFL Draft.

Profile:

James Conner

Height: 6’2

Weight: 235

Position: Running Back

Strengths:

  • 2014 ACC Player of The Year
  • 2014 Season: 1,765 rushing yards, 26 touchdowns
  • 2016 Season: 1,092 rushing yards, 16 touchdowns
  • Competitiveness: Conner has the best competitive edge you can have as a player.
  • Vision: Conner’s vision is one of the best in this year’s draft. His patience in the backfield allows him see the line breakdown and the holes open up.
  • Durability: Despite having the MCL injury, Conner is a back known for being a bone bruiser that can wear a defense down.
  • Acceleration: Even though Conner is 6’2 235 pounds, he can run a sub 4.5. and has breakaway speed.

Weaknesses:

  • Explosive agility: Conner is not known for making hard, quick cuts. He will not break your ankles in the open field.
  • Receiving out of the backfield: Conner was not a huge threat in the receiving game while at Pittsburgh.
  • Concerns with past medical history (MCL)

 

Conclusion:

Conner has the ability to become an every down back in the NFL. It’s very rare that we see the guy of his size have the speed and versatility that he possesses. As it stands, Conner is a 4th to 6th round pick. His medical history will scare a lot of teams away, especially with the MCL injury. The good news for Conner is that he looked great in the 2016 season and the MCL injury was a non factor. A solid combine working for Conner could place him into the 3rd round but it will all depend on how his workout goes. The size and speed will attract a lot of teams. He is a diamond in the rough. Who will take a chance on this stud running back?

Michael Bish

Michael Bish is a Writer/On-Air Personality at FOX Sports/WHAP. He covers NFL, NHL, NBA and College Football. He’s covered major sporting events and has interviewed several professional and collegiate athletes. Michael is also a Co-Host on The MC Sports Report on FOX Sports Radio WHAP.

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