Combine height: 5-9 1/8
Combine weight: 205 pounds
Combine 40 time: 4.59 seconds
Ringer carried 390 times for 1,743 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and 22 touchdowns as a senior at Michigan State. He added 28 receptions for 190 yards. For his career, Ringer carried 843 times for 4,654 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and 34 touchdowns, with 96 receptions for 719 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Ringer is shorter than preferable for an NFL back, but he uses his diminutive stature and low center of gravity to his advantage. He is adept at sliding in behind his blocking, then bursting through the hole when it opens. Ringer keeps his legs churning and breaks arm tackles, picking up yardage after initial contact. Though he’s not particularly elusive, Ringer has good feet and is effective at making one cut and turning upfield—though in the past he’s been prone to lowering his head in anticipation of contact and missing an opportunity to run to daylight.
With almost 100 college receptions to his credit, Ringer has experience in the passing game. He has decent hands and has been adequate in pass protection, so he wouldn’t be a third-down liability. His lack of top-end speed has some scouts concerned, especially since that speed seems to have decreased with Ringer’s knee problems. That’s why despite 390 carries last year and few questions about his toughness, pro scouts are worried about Ringer’s durability.
Because of his size, lack of elite speed and concerns about both mileage and the health of his knees, it’s unlikely any NFL team is targeting Ringer as the back they have to have in the 2009 draft. That said, there are plenty of teams from late in Day One on through the third round who should have interesting in bringing Ringer in as, at minimum, competition for a less-than-established starter or heir to an aging veteran. Beginning with Cleveland’s second second-round selection midway through the round (50th overall), you could expect the Jets, Eagles, Colts, and Cardinals to all consider him before Saturday’s selections draw to a close. Teams in Round Three who could have interest include the Seahawks, Bengals, 49ers, Jets (with the Saints’ pick at 76), Texans, and Chargers—all of whom will have a shot at Ringer before Philly’s pick comes up in the third round.
Ringer’s 390 carries for the Spartans certainly indicates he could be a workhorse if needed, but he doesn’t have the size or speed to enter the league as a team’s primary feature back option. He should go off the board early enough on draft day that he can be penciled in as a potential handcuff, and depending on who’s in front of him Ringer could see some work on third downs or as a complementary back. Neither of those descriptions fit what most fantasy folks are looking for, so his immediate value is likely to come as insurance to the starter you selected several rounds earlier.
While scouts have punched several holes in Ringer’s game, it wouldn’t be out of the question for him to emerge as a team’s feature back over the next two or three seasons. Certainly his new NFL home will play a large role in just how quickly that may happen, or if his inside running and pass-catching abilities can get him on the field and provide a little bit of fantasy value until he gets a shot at a feature role.