Jamaal Charles Scouting Report
|Height & Weight:||5'11 - 200 lbs.|
2008 NFL Draft Prospect Scouting Report:
Jamaal Charles, RB, Texas
It may have taken longer than expected, but Jamaal Charles established himself as one of the nation's elite running backs in the country this season and may be looking to take his talents to the NFL a year early. Charles made an immediate impact as a freshman on Texas' 2005 national championship team, rushing for 878 yards and 11 touchdowns, putting up solid numbers in a crowded backfield. His numbers went down as a sophomore, as he ran for 831 yards and seven scores in 2006. Charles got off to a great start in 2007, rushing for 399 yards in the first three games, but ran for only 323 yards over the next five games. But, something clicked in the fourth quarter of Texas' game against Nebraska on October 27. Charles was held to 71 yards in the first three quarters, but when his team needed him he had the quarter of a lifetime (running for 216 yards and touchdowns of 25, 86, and 40 yards in the fourth quarter to hand Texas a 28-25 win). He took off from there and ran for 997 yards and 10 touchdowns in the final five games, including a 161-yard, two-touchdown night in the Holiday Bowl against Arizona St. Charles (who was a Doak Walker Award semifinalist, a unanimous All-Big 12 first-teamer, and an honorable mention All-American by Sports Illustrated) nearly equaled the totals from his first two seasons in 2007, rushing for 1,619 yards and 18 touchdowns. Now he has a decision to make - turn pro or stay in school? He's already submitted his draft paperwork, so we'll know soon what his plans for 2008 are. If he does leave early, he'll leave a cloud of dust behind him. An old cliche is 'speed kills' and that's certainly the case with Charles, who's used his speed not only to be a star running back, but also to be an All-American sprinter as a freshman in both indoor (60 meters) and outdoor (100 and 200, 4x100 relay) and won the 2006 Big 12 title in the 100. Charles' one big red flag is that he's had trouble holding onto the ball at times. He's worked on improving that, which helps both as a runner and to be a reliable receiver (where he can also make big plays happen -- receptions of 31, 32, 36, 62, and 72 yards in his career). Charles, like Rutgers' Ray Rice (who's in a similar 'could go, but should he?' situation), would be a pretty high pick if he enters the draft early, but could benefit from staying in school. He may still have something to prove about his ball-handling and consistency, which could play a part in his ultimate decision. His decision may also depend on what the other top junior RBs do. If McFadden, Slaton, Mendenhall, or Rice go, Charles might find things to be a little crowded and stay for his senior season (where he could wind up being the first back taken in 2009). Update (1/2/08): Charles announced today that he will forgo his senior season and enter the 2008 draft. After Texas' 52-34 win over Arizona St. in the Holiday Bowl (in which Charles ran for 161 yards and two touchdowns), the junior said that he'd return for his senior season. However, he had filed draft evaluation paperwork with the NFL after the end of the regular season and according to the statement released by the school, Charles said 'when the NFL report came back, I was happy with the grade and felt it was best for me to enter the draft.' Charles ran for 1,619 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2007 and finishes his Texas career with 3,328 rushing yards (fourth in school history behind Ricky Williams, Cedric Benson, and Earl Campbell -- who are also the only other Longhorns to rush for 1,500 yards or more in a season). Update (2/28/08): By running a stellar 4.38 40 on Sunday at the combine, Charles may have propelled himself into potential first-round status and at worst, should go no later than the second round. Update (4/12/08): At Texas' Pro Day last month, Charles didn't run after running an excellent 4.38 time at the combine, but took part in positional drills. Charles is widely thought of to be a second-round pick with a chance to go late in the first and may be a possibility for the Dallas Cowboys at #22 or #28.
Last Updated Apr-12-2008 by Eddie Griffin
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