Prospect Watch: RB James Conner

 

All off-season one of the hot topics has been will the Bucs draft a running back early or will they wait till later due to the great depth of this running back class. I will say that the Bucs can go either way as they could take Christian McCaffery in round 1 or wait til day 2 to take Marlon Mack or Kareem Hunt. Any of those three would help the Bucs running game, but what about day 3 options? Well there is one guy that is catching my attention and that is former Pittsburgh RB James Conner, who is a legit power back and can catch it out of the backfield as well.

James Conner-RB 6’1 233lbs 2016 Stats: 216 car, 1092 yds 5.1 ypc 16tds
Strengths: Conner is a bruiser, runs hard and is very physical at the point of contact. Would rather run his opponent over then around them. Arm tackles won’t bring him down and usually it takes more than one guy to get him on the ground. Team captain, has outstanding intangibles and mental toughness as he overcame a torn mcl and cancer which just shows what kind of kid he is. He plays with a never give up attitude and he has it off the field as well. He carries a big chip on his shoulder and plays angry. Conner isn’t the fastest or flashiest but he has heart, good quickness, excellent feet, and is always gaining positive yards. Red zone weapon, Conner scored 52 touchdowns at Pittsburgh, so expect the same in the NFL as he will get his number called inside the 10 more often than not.
Weaknesses: He is not a homerun hitter, doesn’t process break away speed. Struggles to make defenders miss when there is quick penetration. Health is a concern due to past, and will always be in the mind of teams. Main issue is all power and no finesse so needs to find that balance in his game. Needs to be coached up on pass protection. Might just be a two down back as he needs more work in the passing game.
Overall: Conner is guy that you want to cheer for as he has already been through so much during his football career. He has all the intangibles and the physical tools to be a good player in this league for a long time. I feel Conner can be a featured back in this league with proper coaching and hard work and would be a great pick on day 3 of the NFL Draft. If the Bucs don’t take a back early, Conner would be a great fit as he would be a nice 1-2 combo with Jacquizz Rodgers. Plus the Bucs would have someone who can get the tough yards and make plays in the redzone which this team needs.
#Pittsburgh RB @JamesConner_: I’m an old school traditional running back running inside the tackles and downhill football.

— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) March 23, 2017

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