The running backs took the field at the NFL Combine this afternoon in Indianapolis. With Eddie Lacy, the top back in this year’s draft, not participating, every back out there took it as their chance to shine. With the Chargers most likely looking to the draft to pick up a compliment back for Ryan Mathews, a couple of names come to mind. There’s of course Eddie Lacy, Montee Ball, and Marcus Lattimore. But the name that sticks out in the later rounds is UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin.
Franklin rushed for 1,734 yards and 13 touchdowns last season at UCLA as a senior. For his career, he had 4,430 yards and 31 touchdowns. Better known for his fumbling issues, Franklin worked hard to clear that from his record and only lost the ball once during his senior year.
His biggest strengths are his quickness and his explosion. He’s a one-cut back who makes up his mind quick and then explodes out of the cut. He’s a strong, hard runner and has good field vision after getting down field.
His biggest weakness is the fact that he goes down easy. He doesn’t have great upper body strength as compared to the bigger safeties on the other side of the field. His ball security skills have been under attack but as stated before, he’s worked on that and will continue to work on taking care of the ball.
Here’s how he fared at the combine:
40-yard dash: 4.49 sec
Bench press: 18 reps
Vert jump: 31.5 inch
Broad jump: 115.0 inch
Franklin is a guy who could be a great change of pace back in the NFL. While he an Mathews are both quicker backs, he could still add an explosive element to the Chargers offense.