Scouting Report:

Mikel LeShoure was productive at Illinois but his footwork and vision make me wonder how well he will translate to the NFL.

Positives: Good size and athleticism for the position. Seems to have solid vision and runs pretty hard which is good to see for a bigger, stronger back. Has good leg drive and will initiate contact as a runner to gain extra yardage. Will run through weak arm tackles and can get yardage after initial contact. Seems to have good acceleration and burst to hit a hole and has enough top end speed to break off sizable chunks of yardage in the NFL. He offers some ability as a receiver out of the backfield and actually makes some catches downfield, not just on dump offs or check downs out of the backfield. He also offers good effort as a pass blocker even though his effectiveness is inconsistent. LeShoure seems to have a pretty good feel as a running back though and runs pretty patiently and doesn’t force the issue a lot, prefers to let things set up in front of him and then make his move.

Negatives: LeShoure tries to bounce far too many runs outside for my taste especially since he doesn’t have the top end speed and acceleration to make this a realistic expectation in the NFL. He got good yardage doing so in the college game but he won’t have nearly the same success doing so in the NFL. He also goes down too easily when guys get a hand or an arm on his legs, which is surprising considering his strong legs and good leg drive. At times he wastes steps in the backfield and dances around a bit, and though he has good quickness and burst he doesn’t do well when he doesn’t immediately have a lane to run through. When he doesn’t have a lane to run through between the tackles he will often dance around or he will just try to bounce it outside instead of trying to find a seam and get what he can. That makes me wonder how well his running style will translate to the NFL even though he was very productive this season. His effort as a pass blocker is appreciated but he needs technique work, though it wouldn’t be surprising for him to improve in this area with some coaching.

Overall: LeShoure definitely has ability and it’s hard to ignore his production from this season, but at the end of the day he is only a solid NFL prospect in my opinion. He doesn’t have great speed, quickness or burst, he doesn’t run with great power, he isn’t a great receiver and he isn’t a great blocker. He is pretty well rounded, but he doesn’t do anything exceedingly well. I think he can be an effective back in the NFL and potentially rush for 1,000 yards, but I also wonder about his bust potential. Backs that dance in the backfield or try to bounce too many runs outside like he does don’t translate that well to the NFL, so I could see him having a limited effect if he doesn’t improve his footwork. He definitely has the ceiling to be an effective NFL back, I just wonder how well he will translate as a rookie.

Projection: Late 2nd-early 3rd: Obviously I could see him going earlier than this, but I am not sold on him immediately translating to the NFL effectively and I think it would be better if he was drafted to be a #2 back that could be worked in progressively, not as a guy who was expected to come in and shoulder the load like a guy who would go in the top 40 picks might be.

SKILLS
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

Speed: 3.0
Power: 3.5
Agility: 3.0
Vision: 2.5
Hands: 3.0
Blocking: 2.5

Thanks for reading, more reports are on the way!

–Tom