best counter

Your Ad Here
Just The Sports: Mike Hart and Marshawn Lynch

Just The Sports

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mike Hart and Marshawn Lynch

Even though Halloween has already passed us by, allow me to put on the costume of an NFL scout and take an intensive-but not really-look at two junior running backs, Mike Hart and Marshawn Lynch, who are eligible to declare for the NFL draft. Hart may not declare and shouldn't if Michigan doesn't win the national championship this year since they will probably have a decent shot at it next year. Lynch should leave if only because it would give us to watch Justin Forsett run the ball for an entire year. But I digress.

Those who have watched Mike Hart run the ball for Michigan know what kind of runner he is and his numbers back that up entirely. Hart is a solid runner who can keep the chains moving as his career 55.4% success rate on rushes indicates. Yet, he is not a spectacular running back. While occasionally he will rattle off a 40-yard run, these long runs come with such infrequency that you are more likely to question the speed of the defense he is running against than think the run is indicative of any special quality Hart possesses. This blandness in Hart's running style is demonstrated by him only gaining 4.5 extra yards per successful run. So the team that drafts him should be prepared for a 2005 version of Edgerrin James with the Indianapolis Colts and nothing more.

With Marshawn Lynch, I looked at his numbers differently from Mike Hart because he was used differently by the California Golden Bears. As a freshman, he was only used as a change of pace back and so I included those games whereas for Hart when I only counting games he started and finish uninjured. Now, Lynch, for California, has a 55.8% career success rate, comparable to Mike Hart in that category, but Lynch has a dimension to his game Hart simply does not possess. Namely, breakaway speed and at least one guaranteed long run a game, which is why he has averaged 7.96 extra yards per successful run.

Obviously, with this comparison, Lynch is the better draft choice and will probably be better at the next level. At least, he would be more exciting. Personally, an added reason I would draft Marshawn Lynch is because he is more versatile and I am not just talking about his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield because Mike Hart can do that as well. With Lynch, you can use him in two different ways. One way is to give him about 20-25 carries a game as your starting running back. Another way, and the way he should be used as a rookie, is the way New England has been using Laurence Maroney this year, which is to use him in tandem with a running back who does not possess the breakaway speed that he does.

Note: Lynch's numbers do not include his 2005 game against Washington State (25 carries, 160 yards) or his 2006 games against Oregon State (17 carries, 106 yards) and Washington State (25 carries, 152 yards).



Post a Comment

<< Home