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NFL Draft: Player Profile - Ray Rice
John Tuvey
April 22, 2008
Running Back - Rutgers

Combine Height: 5-8
Combine Weight: 199
Combine 40 Time: 4.44

Rushed for 2,012 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2007, finishing his three-year college career with 49 rushing scores.

Skill Set:
Think of Rice as a poor man’s Maurice Jones-Drew. Height-wise both are closer to your average jockey than a typical NBA point guard, but both are thickly built with a running style best described as “bowling ball.” Like MoJo, Rice is an adroit pass-catcher out of the backfield and doesn’t need to exit the field on third downs. Both run extremely hard, though it’s a disservice to compare any back to Jones in this area. Rice also lacks MJD’s top-end speed, but the same can be said for the majority of NFL backs as well. Long story short: Rice runs hard, catches the ball well, and comes up short in the vertical tape measure department. Best case, he comes to the NFL and performs at a level that draws comparisons to Jones-Drew. Worst case, his stature and high mileage don’t allow him to be as productive on Sundays as he was at Rutgers.

Possible Destinations:
While every NFL team would love to get its hands on the next MoJo, not every scout sees Jones-Drew in Rice’s game. As such, it would be a little surprising—though not impossible—for him to go off the board on Day One. The Colts, having endured more than their share of abuse at the hands of the Jaguars running game, could use Rice to augment Joseph Addai. If he’s still on the board in Round Three the Bears, Panthers, Lions, Texans and Cardinals could all be interested parties.

Fantasy Impact:
If Rice is even half as productive in the NFL as he was last year in college he’d be a fantasy stud; what, you don’t like 1,000 yards and a dozen touchdowns? The odds of that happening, however, are not particularly good. Rice’s best hope for an immediate fantasy impact would be as a complementary back much like the role Jones-Drew has played in Jacksonville. Depending on which NFL team adds him to their roster, Rice’s preseason fantasy value ranges from a fourth back with upside to an absolute flyer with the final pick in your draft. And with dynasty potential in the Jones-Drew zip code, there’s no question he’ll be stashed away on carryover rosters by folks hoping the two are sharing a neighborhood, not just five digits for the post office.

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