NFLPA Collegiate Bowl: Final RB Rankings
Ronnie Weaver (Jeffrey M. Boan/AP)

Posted Jan 20, 2012
Charlie Bernstein


The inaugural Astroturf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl practice week is finished and we were able to take in some underrated talent, from large BCS programs to the FCS level, and everything in between. We will give our final evaluation on how the top running backs in this event project on the next level.

After a consistent week of practices, Houston running back Bryce Beall is our top-rated running back. Beall has prototypical NFL size at 5-foot-11, 215 pounds and has an upright running style similar to Green Bay's James Starks. Beall has an average set of hands and makes solid cuts but needs to work on his patience. Beall was a very willing blocker and he could be part of a tandem backfield right away at the next level.

Syracuse running back Antwon Bailey is our number two running back. Bailey isn't physically imposing at 5-foot-7, but short does not equate to small. Bailey is put together well at 205 pounds and showed solid burst, good field vision and patience. Bailey isn't a burner and likely won't be a guy who can handle 15 or more touches per game on the next level, but he displayed a willingness to block and solid hands.

A player who needs to be in a camp this summer despite any types of size bias is Morehead State running back Desmond Cox. Cox is certainly diminutive in stature as he stands just 5-foot-5 and weighs 175 pounds, but he is an electrifying runner. Cox claims to run in the low 4.3's and his play on the field this week backs up the claim. The Morehead State runner must be used in special packages as his frame won't be able to handle too many collisions on the next level. Cox's return abilities also make him very marketable as a late round pick or priority free agent.

Finally, a player who won't jump out on film and likely won't flash all that often is UCF running back Ronnie Weaver. Weaver is the ultimate "utility player" that winning teams need on the roster. If the former Conference USA walk-on is going to make a roster, it will be with a special teams contribution and Weaver is more than willing. At 5-foot-11, 215 pounds, Weaver played fullback during the week as well as halfback and was a very good special teams gunner. A classic under-talented, hard-working overachiever Weaver will do anything that's asked of him and won't stop working until he makes an NFL roster.


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