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NFL Draft: Player Profile - Shonn Greene, RB, Iowa
John Tuvey
March 10, 2009
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Shonn Greene, RB, IowaMeasurables:
Combine height: 5-10 1/2
Combine weight: 227 pounds
Combine 40 time: 4.62 seconds

Stats:
Greene carried 307 times for 1,850 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and 20 touchdowns, rushing for at least 100 yards in each of his 13 games. Green added eight catches for 49 yards as a receiver. Lightly used during his first two years at Iowa, and out of football in 2007 due to academic issues, Greene totaled 2,277 yards and 22 touchdowns on 376 carries as a Hawkeye, with 72 yards on 11 receptions.

Skill Set:
Viewed by some scouts as the best “big” back in this year’s draft, Greene has good size and a thick frame which he uses to his advantage. Greene runs with his pads low, powering through arm tackles and giving defenders little to hit—then falling forward to finish the run. He has good quickness to the hole, decent footwork in the hole, and good vision to find the opening. With just one year of mileage, Greene comes to the NFL with fresh legs.

The flip side of the fresh legs coin is that Greene is a one-year wonder. Moreover, after a year at prep school and another season at a community college to get his grades back up, Greene will be old for a rookie—24 by the time the 2009 season starts. There are also concerns that those academic issues might present problems for Greene in digesting an NFL playbook, as well as reports that he struggled with his weight during his year away from football. The more evident issues are Greene’s lack of elite speed and how it may prevent him from getting to the corner in the pros, as well as almost non-existent experience (11 career catches?) in the passing game—including struggles with pass protection.
        
Possible Destinations:
The obvious NFL role for Greene would be as a complementary power back—the thunder to a team’s existing lightning. Early in round two the Browns (36) and Jaguars (39) could be in the market for a bruiser to eat some inside carries. The 49ers at 43 wouldn’t mind a back to ease Frank Gore’s burden, and the Texans at 46 could use Greene to spell Steve Slaton. Cleveland would have a second shot at Greene with the Bucs’ pick at 50, while the Eagles at 53 have long sought an inside runner to augment Brian Westbrook’s game.

Fantasy Impact:
It’s worth keeping an eye on Greene’s draft day destination, as his size and inside running ability suggest he could move quickly into a short-yardage/goal line role. His lack of passing game experience likely reduces him to an afterthought in PPR leagues, and there are enough questions about his overall game that his immediate fantasy impact will be limited to a lesser share of carries in whatever backfield he lands in.

Greene’s dynasty value might be tempered slightly by his age; if he takes a couple years to acclimate to the NFL, he’ll be 26 or 27 before becoming a regular and have a shorter pre-30 run than most feature backs. His lack of top-end speed might mean he never becomes a primary ball-carrier, but there is plenty of fantasy value as a goal-line vulture. So worst-case you should get some mileage from Greene as a touchdown scorer while his team determines whether or not he can be more than a between-the-tackles runner.

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