Runs with a good pad level through the line of scrimmage and has the footwork to pick his way through traffic and maintain balance inside. Is limited once he gets into the open field and isn't going to breakdown and make anyone miss, but possesses better speed than given credit for and moves pretty well for his size.
Exhibits the ability to catch the football out of the backfield, but again isn't overly elusive or shifty with the ball in his hands. Runs hard and likes to lower his head into would-be tacklers and drive his feet through contact, but lacks ideal balance and can be tripped up easily inside. Is really limited when a defender is able to break down on him as he struggles to make a man miss one-on-one on all areas of the field.
Impression: Possesses good size, runs hard and can stick his foot in the ground and fight his way up the field. Looks like a very capable reserve type back in the NFL."
Helu played in seven games as a freshman, finishing with 45 carries for 209 yards. As a sophomore, he finished as the team's leading rusher with 803 yards on 125 carries with seven touchdowns despite starting just two games. He added 25 receptions for 266 yards.
Taking over as the top gun in 2009, Helu rushed 220 times for 1,147 yards with nine scores, also catching 19 passes for 149 yards.
The fact Helu did not carry the full load at Nebraska in 2010, splitting carries with Rex Burkhead, worries some scouts. But when he got his opportunities to shine, like his 28 carry, 307-yard, three-touchdown performance against Missouri, he displayed a confident and tough running style.
Helu should be picked in the middle rounds and should, at worst, have a decent career as a backup in the NFL. If he can continue to improve his vision and decisiveness, he has the chance to be productive.
Strengths: Very explosive runner with great acceleration to the hole. Shows very good patience to let blocks develop in front of him. Owns the breakaway speed to take it all the way once at the second level. Shows good vision and has a nice cutback move to gain extra yardage. Accelerates quickly off his cut. Carries out play fakes well. Bounces outside, able to get the corner. Breaks through arm tackles, lowers his shoulder and plows ahead for extra yards in the open field. Utilizes the stiff arm well. Displays great agility, regularly makes the first defender miss. Runs good routes and makes good use of head and body fakes to create separation. Possesses leadership qualities, earned a reputation for being a real team player.
Weaknesses: Often hesitant at the line of scrimmage, neutralizing his size and speed. Not consistent as an inside power runner, goes down too easily at times. Does not keep his legs moving when wrapped up. Offers very little in pass protection, tends to lunge at the defender and is prone to missing blocks. Can get overwhelmed by the pass rush. Ineffective cut blocker. Plays on his heels and struggles handling a speed rusher. Has poor awareness of who to pick up when lead blocking. Breaks out of his stance early and can give away the snap count. Was not used much in the passing game this past season, though he has experience on swing passes."
Positive: Physically talented ball carrier moving up draft boards. Has good size and displays terrific vision and overall instincts. Shows a burst through the hole and can beat defenders into the open field then run to daylight. Has solid footwork in a small area, sets defenders up, and makes them miss. Waits for blocks develop, shows patience as a runner, and finds running lanes everywhere on the field. Displays strength carrying the ball and the ability to pick up yardage off initial contact, falling forward when tackled for the extra yardage.
Negative: Not a truly elusive or creative ball carrier. Does not show soft hands out of the backfield catching the ball. Must be more aware of ball security as he puts the ball on the ground at inopportune times.
Analysis: Helu Jr. has been very productive the past two seasons and did incredibly well in the run-up to the draft. After outstanding showings at the Senior Bowl and combine, he has moved into the top 75 selections and is one of the few backs in this draft that could develop into a feature runner."
Negatives: Has just average speed for the position, can get chased down from behind... Struggles with ball security, carries the ball away from his body... Does not run over people, sheds tacklers, but lacks a powerful punch... Lacks a great leg drive, doesn't push the pile like he should with his size... Very limited in the passing game, has never been utilized much as a receiver and is undisciplined when asked to stay in pass protection... Every year he seems to have some sort of small injury... Tons of durability concerns."
2009 -- Started all 14 games despite a nagging shoulder injury, led the team in TD's and was named Nebraska's Offensive MVP. Second-Team All-Big 12 selection.
Strengths: Downhill runner with a great burst. Patiently follows his blocks and allows them to set up, and explodes through creases once they develop. Powerful, runs with great body lean, and finishes his runs going forward. Excellent short yardage runner who can push a pile. Prefers to run inside, but has the initial speed to get to the edge, and is rarely caught from behind. Very good blocker and receiver, though he did not catch many passes in 2010.
Weaknesses: Lacks creativity as a runner; doesn't have many moves and won't make many defenders miss. Likely doesn't have stopwatch speed. Good hands but wasn't used on diverse pass routes. Put up good numbers but always shared carries and may not hold up as a primary runner.
Projection: Ideal zone-scheme runner who generates positive yardage and can take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Likely third or fourth round pick, but could develop into a fine starter down the road."
As an upperclassman Helu was the go-to-guy. In 2009 he carried the ball 220 times for 1,147 yards and 10 touchdowns. He even ranked third on the team with 19 receptions. Helu split carries a little more during his senior campaign, but that has not hampered his productivity. Through the regular season and the Big 12 championship game, Helu has rushed for 1,170 yards, becoming the first Nebraska player to rush for over 1,000 yards in back-to-back years since Calvin Jones in 1992 and 1993.
Helu is widely considered a mid-round selection at this point in the process. He is quick and strong enough to endure the rigors of life in the NFL. With a few good workouts, Helu could work his way up into the third round."
This kid is going to be a stud in the NFL, and I'll tell you why.
6'0" 220 pounds, and this guy was absolutely BLOWING by Mizzou defenders. He found the edge, he had great quickness up the middle, he made great reads, and while the Big 12 doesn't exactly feature the best run stuffing defenses in college ball, Helu made them look like a local Nebraska high school squad. Nebraska is known for being able to run the ball, at least while I've been alive. It seems like we should take serious note of this performance by Helu, who by my count just had the single greatest coming out party of any player in the draft to date. I mentioned his size, and his speed is fantastic. I don't care who he's running against, this guy has blazing speed. I'm willing to bet he runs in the low 4.5's, maybe in the 4.45 ish range even.
Scout's Inc. says he has "adequate" top end speed, but what I saw on Saturday was an absolutely huge running back just blazing by guys who should have been able to flag someone with "adequate" speed down.
McShay and the crew did offer one useful piece of information for me, in regards to Helu's intangibles. As a Broncos fan, it's evident that Josh McDaniels has made high character an absolute requirement for the players he drafts, so I notice it a lot more and that's definitely one of the things I look for when trying to figure out who we might draft (it's also the reason I thought Tebow was a great fit).
Has taken the leadership reins offensively this past off eason. Hard worker both on and off the field. Active in community service.
So, you're telling me, that a 6'0" 220 pound running back with a second gear, decent power, good vision, and good intangibles is projected as a 4th-6th round pick?
Allow me to vault Helu into day two consideration. At worst, this guy is a fourth round pick. I would have to say, looking at this season/career statistics, the only negative is inconsistency. In four games, he's averaged 11 or more yards per carry. In three other games, he's averaged 3.9 yards or less.
At no point in his career has he averaged less than 4.6 yards over the course of the season, and that figure comes from his freshman year when he had only 45 carries. The numbers the last three years are staggering.
2008--6.4 yards per carry (125 attempts)
2009--5.2 yards per carry (220 attempts)
2010--8.0 yards per carry (102 attempts)
Helu is a huge back, but he plays like Chris Johnson. He has big play ability, and while he's certainly not going to run a 4.24 in the 40 yard dash, he's got a lot of speed and a heck of a lot of ability. He's losing carries to Taylor Martinez, but he's still putting up HUGE numbers.
I think Helu is best fit for a team where he can be a tandem, change of pace back, but he is certainly capable of carrying the load for a team that utilizes the run to set up the pass. A team like the Redskins could make great use of Helu, but also, I think his receiving skills make him an effective three down option for a power offense like the Patriots or Broncos.
This kid has some great skill. A team that needs a running back in the top four rounds will have to give this kid serious consideration. He's immensely talented, and I'm shocked I haven't been talking about him more. He is a very good NFL prospect."
Roy Helu is showing surprising shiftiness, this year, and ~ dare I say it?? ~ Explosiveness.
The Jury is still out on him, but I would love to risk a 4th Rounder on this guy, and that seems to be the Market Value currently place on'm.
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