2012 Who Ya Gonna Draft? – Lamichael James

PJD is on vacation. During this time, we’ve decided we’ll take a quick look at potential Minnesota Vikings draft picks for the second or later rounds. With so many needs and so many draft picks to get this team back to a place where we can at least pretend they are respectable, we’ll have plenty of ground to cover. Let us know what you think of each prospect in the comments, and whether or not they’d be a good fit or impact player, and of course if you can think of a funny nickname for them.

Today, we look at Oregon running back Lamichael James. Running back?! BOOM, CURVE BALL!

From ESPN’s draft analysis, which I’m realizing you probably can’t read unless you have ESPN Insider which is totally not worth it:

Overall Football Traits

Production 1 “2008: Redshirt. 2009: (13)  2301,5466.714 2010: (12/12)  2941,7315.921 2011: (12/12)  247-1,805-7.3-18 Career: 51 catches58611.54. 14 PRs-137-9.8-1. 3 KORs-64-21.3-0. “
Height-Weight-Speed 4 Slightly shorter than average NFL RB and he is too lean. Needs to add bulk to frame. Top-end speed is good but not elite. Plays faster than he times.
Durability 4 Durability is a significant concern due to small frame. Tweaked his knee during training camp and missed a few practices in 2010. Left the 2010 Cal game early after spraining his left ankle. Also tweaked his ankle early in the National Championship game against Auburn but returned to the contest. In 2011 he dislocated his right elbow versus Cal.
Intangibles 4 “Arrested and charged with menacing, strangulation, and assault after a domestic altercation with his girlfriend in December of 2010. He later pleaded guilty to one charge of harassment and was sentenced to 10 days in jail and 24 months of probation. In addition, James was suspended for the season opener in 2010 against New Mexico. Coaches speak highly about his football character. He is also a sprinter on the Oregon track team. “

1 = Exceptional2 = Above average3 = Average4 = Below average5 = Marginal

Running Back Specific Traits

Competitiveness 2 Runs hard for a pint-sized RB. Does not always finish runs falling forward but not afraid to lower shoulder along the sideline. Displays a quick spin move to absorb contact and pick up extra yardage. While he is tough he needs to be smarter about protecting his body. Takes too many shots fighting for extra yards. Can do a better job of protecting ball in traffic.
Vision/Patience 3 “Comes from a fast-paced shotgun spread system and will need to adjust to more of a pro-style running game. Overall vision is adequate but has room for improvement. Flashes a natural feel for creases before they open. However, will make one too many cuts on occasion and gets caught dancing in the hole. Still developing discipline and needs to learn the value of churning out tough yardage and not always looking for the home run. Thrives as a second level runner and does a nice job of setting up and utilizing blocks in the open field. “
Agility/Acceleration 2 Lightening quick feet. Can hit vertical cuts without losing momentum. Possesses exceptional stop-and-start capabilities to freeze defenders. Can transition to top-gear instantly and is extremely dangerous once hitting the open field. Is quicker than fast. Does not show a second-gear to outrun faster DBs in the open field. Gets caught from behind more often than expected. At times appears to be running too fast for own good and needs to throttle down to make lateral cut.
Power/Balance 4 “Displays good overall balance and fights hard for yards after contact. However, extremely lean lower half and easily goes down once defenders are able to wrap up. Lacks the size to run over defenders and he won’t break many tackles. “
Passing Game 2 Quick enough with underneath routes to create adequate separation from man coverage. Flashes ability to make the tough catch over his head. Has very good body control to adjust. Will fight the ball on occasion. Dangerous in the screen game or when catching the ball with green grass in front of him. Does not provide much as a pass blocker. Simply lacks the size and strength to hold up in this department.

1 = Exceptional2 = Above average3 = Average4 = Below average5 = Marginal

Alright, everybody calm down. A running back, you say? After we just committed a fiefdom to Purple Jesus (who may or may not be a zombie at this point, mind you), and have a dimwitted white rhino in Toby Gerhart that is eating up way to much cap space as a second round pick anyway? Well, I say yes, and it might be a possibility if everyone else (obviously except for OUR brilliant GM and coaching staff!) agree with ESPN’s analysis here. What I know is this. The Vikings don’t have a pressing need at running back, but have to have concerns. Can Purple Jesus return to form? Do we actually like Gerhart or are we paying him money against our will? Do we have ANYthing else behind those two? These are all legitimate concerns. I also know that Lamichael James is an amazing football player. ESPN here rates him pretty poorly, but all you have to do is watch him play. His playing speed is ridiculous, he’s got great cuts and vision, and his injuries have all been weird, freaky accidents like what you saw with Purple Jesus in college. ESPN also has him ranked WAY too low in my opinion, at 68th overall. That would theoretically make him available for the Vikings to pick in the 3rd round, and he would be totally worth it, if not exactly filling a need. This selection would fall under the “best available” draft strategy, perhaps, and would only go to help Ponder do his job, at least until they allow him to play without a shirt.

And the domestic altercation charges? I mean, pretty poor decision, but it’s not like we’re not already cheering for a wife beater in Chris Cook (who has been given WAY too many chances), so why stop there? Actually … maybe we should. My only other caveat to drafting him would be that he is not allowed to champion for the Vikings to change their uniforms to mimic Oregon’s. Oregon’s are the GOD DAMN worst, and if you disagree with me I likely want to punch you in your nose.

What say you?


About PJD

I once saw Paul Edinger kick a 56-yard field goal for the Minnesota Vikings against the Green Bay Packers to win a game in the Metrodome. It was exhilarating.