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2012 NFL Scouting Combine: LaMichael James enhances draft value with strong overall Combine

INDIANAPOLIS—Former Oregon running back LaMichael James didn’t waste his chance to grab attention Sunday at the NFL Combine.

Running an unofficial 4.37 in the 40, James displayed the kind of speed that will impress scouts and potentially elevate his draft stock. It has become difficult for running backs to crack the first round, with many teams feeling they can get effective backs later in the draft. Mark Ingram Jr., who went 28th to the Saints, was the only first-round running back last year. Trent Richardson of Alabama may be the only back taken in Round 1 this April.

Oregon’s LaMichael James had a strong showing on Sunday at the NFL Scouting Combine. (Oregon photo)

“If you’re not Adrian Peterson, you probably shouldn’t be a top five, or a top 10 running back,” said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock. “For instance, Darren McFadden, who I think went fourth, has had all the injury problems. There are so many other backs you can get later. Why not go down a little bit further?”

With Richardson (knee injury) not at the Combine, others backs had an opportunity to create some buzz. James did his part, making teams looking for a back more likely to look his way.

“I think I can do anything,” James said. “I’ll be an all-round back. You don’t have to take me out on third down.”

Lamar Miller of Miami (Fla.), Doug Martin of Boise State and David Wilson of Virginia Tech are other backs hoping to go no later than the second round. But James’ Combine speed will be a plus on his resume, and he believes the size he has added will also be viewed us a plus. James measured at 5-foot-9, 194.5 pounds. He believes that will help his durability and pass blocking.

“I think pass blocking is just effort,” James said. “If you’re scrappy, I think the job is not to let the defender get to the quarterback, and that’s the most important thing. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, as long as you don’t get caught for holding.’’

Whether James excels at pass blocking remains to be seen. But Sunday, he excelled at getting from point A to point B.

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