However, the guy possesses a rare combination of initial burst, lateral agility and patience when asked to press the line of scrimmage. He runs from the gun consistently, but displays a real feel for tight areas, quickly picking his way through traffic, setting up blocks and then absolutely hitting another gear toward daylight.
Demonstrates the ability to routinely outpace angles in the secondary vs. even the most athletic of competition and is a big-play threat every time he gets his hands on the football. Displays impressive footwork and fluidity through his hips when asked to make a defender miss at full speed. Runs with a low pad level inside, does a nice job protecting his smaller frame and can bounce off contact at the line of scrimmage and remain on his feet.
However, it's his ability to sink his hips and quickly accelerate around the bend when reaching the corner that really makes him dynamic on perimeter runs. Demonstrates impressive balance and body control in all areas of his game, which allows him to play so fast. Now, does have a tendency to dance behind the line at times and will run himself out of yards in search for the big play.
Exhibits the capability to catch the football out of the backfield and showcases a willingness to block in blitz pickup. Obviously isn't overly stout on contact, but can cleanly cut down defenders and reach targets on the edge. Was limited due to an ankle injury in 2010 which really took away from his ability to sharply make cuts and accurate quickly. Needs to check out medically.
Impression: A luxury guy for an NFL offense, but he can be dynamic with the ball in his hands and will find a way to generate big plays at the next level. You just need to find ways to get him the football."
Outside Running: Explosive runner in open space, with elite quickness and straight-line speed. Turns the corner easily, very difficult to get the angle on once he's on the sideline. Often used on east-west runs -- portending success in a zone system -- uses his low center of gravity to plant and cut quickly and accelerate through a hole. Gets a lot of yardage avoiding defenders coming into the hole with a quick cut, will have less room to run at the next level. Could be more consistent switching the ball to the outside hand. Has improved his ball security (two fumbles, none lost in 2009; 4-2 in 2008), generally getting four points of pressure but gets loose with the handle when trying to get the extra yard or make a cut.
Breaking Tackles: Very elusive in the open field with vision and cutting ability. Stronger than his measurables indicate; has a very muscular upper and lower body. NFL-caliber defenders can close and wrap up on him or knock him down with one arm if close in proximity, however; their problem comes in getting that hand on him. Effective stiff-arm against oncoming defensive backs. Spins off piles inside with good balance to keep moving forward.
Blocking: Diminutive frame makes him a liability in pass protection. Tries to cut block and can stop the progress of some defenders, but NFL linebackers will use their hands to defeat him. Going into the flat as a safety valve is his way of alleviating pass rush on second- or third-and-long. Willing to make blocks downfield for his scrambling quarterbacks, is strong enough to push a cornerback out of the way.
Receiving: Dangerous weapon on screen passes and in the flat, uses his elusiveness and speed in the open field to make big plays. Reliable hands on shorter passes, but must improve his adjustments to high or wide throws with some pace. Not a deep threat unless matched up against slow linebacker on wheel route. Needs to prove he has the hands to be a kickoff and punt returner.
Intangibles: No specialist, Devine has shown the toughness to participate in almost every offensive play from scrimmage. Fought through left ankle injury late in 2009. Difficult childhood; one of nine children, both parents died of AIDS by the time he was 11. Lived with parents of a Pop Warner teammate soon after, but fathered two children and ran into more trouble while in high school. Former NFL star Deion Sanders attempted to adopt Devine but he decided to go back to Florida to be at home. Pled no contest to misdemeanor battery from March 2008 incident outside Morgantown nightclub; was not suspended by WVU coaches."
Elusiveness: He has the ability to stop or start fast with his quick feet. Has the shiftiness in his hips to make tacklers miss in the open field. He can set defender up with his ability to juke.
Pass Catching: Devine has good hands to pluck the ball out of air, but he does have small hands and sometimes drops the ball when he is looking up field. Has the ability though to catch ball and turn up field real fast. Will be an exciting change of pace back in the NFL.
Pass Blocking: He is a bit undersized by NFL standards, but he gives a good effort. He lacks the bulk strength to ever be an effective lead blocker. He needs better technique to maximize his blocking.
Power: He lacks the power to run through arm tackles on a consistent basis. He has the heart of a champion and will give great effort to get extra yardage when he can. He shows explosiveness in the open field once he is free of pile.
Size: Devine is definitely undersized to be an every down running back. While he is an extremely tough back, his lack of size is a bit of a concern that he will not be able to stay healthy to carry a heavy load as a featured running back. He has good playing strength for a running back of his stature. Will not break many tackles because he lacks bulk and power.
Speed: He has tremendous speed and it is definitely his best attribute. Once he hits the hole or gets to the outside he has superior speed and tremendous burst to take the ball to the house on any snap. Maybe the fastest player in this 2011 draft class.
Vision: Devine has excellent instincts to feel the defender coming. He has great vision he uses to find the hole and then burst thru. He uses his blocks well and sees things in front of him. He has great instincts in the return game and will be a game changer in the NFL.
Final Word: Devine is a good athlete and talented running back. He does lack the bulk and overall strength to be used as the primary ball carrier. He can contribute right away as a 3rd down back in the passing game with toss plays and screens to utilize his speed and quickness. He will also be a dynamic player in the return game. This young man has the toughness and heart to succeed in the NFL. Devine has a ton of playmaking ability and should be a valuable middle round selection. Teams looking to put a boost in their return game or passing game Devine should peak your interest."
Positive: Elusive ball carrier with the ability to create yardage and constantly make something out of nothing. Shifty, immediately changes direction and loses no momentum. Runs low to the ground and displays amazingly quick feet and the ability to slide off tackles. Makes defenders miss at the line scrimmage or in the open field, easily bounces around piles, and effortlessly gets through the cutback lanes. Patiently waits for blocks to develop and effectively sets them up all over the field. Can turn it on in a single step then run away from defenders.
Negative: Lacks size and strength in his running and can be stopped dead in his tracks by a single opponent. Coming off a very disappointing senior season.
Analysis: Devine has been productive and durable on the college level, though he did not live up to expectations last season. Projects as a third-down back at the next level or rotational runner who can line up in the backfield, in the slot, and as a return specialist."
Negatives: Extremely small, will be relegated to a scat-back role in the NFL... Has had some issues with fumbles in the past... Linebackers have been able to drag him down when they get a hold of him, has a hard time running through arm tackles... Solid leg drive and strength for his size, but his small frame and lack of bulk won't be enough to push the pile against NFL linebackers... Solid production throughout his career but has really fallen off as a senior... only averaging 4.5 yards per carry and has six touchdowns on 188 carries... Has a multitude of character concerns dating back to high school where he ended up being adopted by Deion Sanders... Very much an east/west runner, needs to get up field quicker... Extremely limited upside due to his size, likely to develop into a Darren Sproles type role player."
Weaknesses: Toe injury slowed him significantly in 2010, and it may be that durability concerns will dog him given his size. Will give ground and lose yardage looking for the big run. Not a blocker, and will always be a liability in that area. Will not break tackles.
Projection: 3rd rounder who should be a fine complementary back to any offense."
Devine's abilities have always been well known, but during his freshman campaign he had to share the ball with quarterback Pat White and running back Steve Slaton. Normally that would not leave many carries for a little freshman, but Devine carried the ball 73 times for 627 yards and six scores. That is an average of 8.6 yards per carry. In 2008 Slaton was off in the NFL and Devine proved that he could be more than just a change of pace back. He carried the load and ran for 1,289 yards on 206 carries. The story has been the same so far in 2009 as Devine finished up the regular season with 1,297 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Devine's size will be an issue, but this a player that can be a second back and a kick-off returner in the NFL right away. If he does go to the NFL, he should be a second round selection."
Pros: It’s more than just having vision for the electrifying runner. The smallish playmaker combines his ability to assess his running lanes with unique instincts and quickness to change directions without slowing down a bit. Devine’s feet allow him to shift his body weight in such rapid fashion that prevents defenders from anticipating his next move and making it virtually impossible for tacklers to get a firm grip on the explosive Mountaineer. The junior also exhibits natural hands out of the backfield.
Cons: Devine’s less-than-ideal height and 176-pound frame might stand in the his way of ever becoming the type of back that can take on a sizable workload at the next level. He should develop into a Darren Sproles type at the very least, along with offering promise in the return game.
Our View: The comparisons to Barry Sanders are well justified in this case, although Devine won’t be seen making as many great escapes as the former Lion King once did, he also doesn’t spend as much time in the behind the line of scrimmage. In terms of acceleration, the 5’8” human tornado goes from zero to 60 in an eye blink, evoking comparisons to Dallas Cowboy Felix Jones in that department."
Looks like about a 3rd Rounder.
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