Given our current running back depth, I want to discuss the possibility of drafting a replacement for Ahmad Bradshaw. Being a devout Husker, let’s explore drafting Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska and why I think he is a good fit for the NY Giants.
At the NF Combine, Rex weighed in at 5’10”, 214 lbs. In comparison, Bradshaw is 5’10”, 215 lbs. Right away, they both have the same size and comparable build. Burkhead was a top performer at the combine in terms of vertical jump (39.0 inches, 2nd best), broad jump (125.0 inches, 2nd best), 3-cone drill (6.85 sec, 4th best), 20-yd shuttle (4.09 sec, 2nd best), and 60-yd shuttle (11.51 sec, 5th best). From these numbers, one can infer that Burkhead has good explosion and good agility, some of the best in the draft. Unfortunately, his forty time (4.73 sec) leaves something to be desired in terms of straight-line/breakaway speed. But, the NY Giants already have that type of back in David Wilson. They need someone who can pound the rock between the tackles and Rex could be that guy. No Nebraska fan will ever tell you that Rex was a speed back. He was a reliable ball carrier that could break a few runs, but ran tough up the gut. Burkhead still has his pro-day to improve the 40 time and hopes to do so. He said he ran a 4.4 forty in preparation for the combine (reference http://journalstar.com/sports/huskers/football/burkhead-makes-his-case-at-nfl-combine/article_ffee2eaa-689d-5eea-8547-719ef5eaad99.html). One final note, Burkhead did 21 reps of 225 lbs, good for 13th in the RB class.
Reese loves the athletes and Burkhead has certainly made a good case. He was a workhorse at Nebraska and rarely fumbled. With these measureables, I think Burkhead will make a fine replacement for Bradshaw.
UPDATE: Rex Burkhead ran in the 4.5 sec range during Pro Day, source is inside information from Nebraska
All Rex Burkhead has done at every level of football is produce. He was rated a 4-star RB coming out of Plano, TX and in his SR year had 255 carries, 1,762 yds, 6.9 avg, 28 TDs, 42 receptions, 594 yds. To show consistency, in his JR year he had 304 carries, 1,768 yds, 5.8 avg, 29 TDs. (reference http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/recruiting/player-Rex-Burkhead-64817)
At Nebraska, Burkhead played all 4 years and had the following totals (reference http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/rex-burkhead-1.html):
FR: 81 carries, 346 yds, 4.3 avg, 3 TDs; 13 catches, 90 yds, 6.9 avg, 1 TD
SO: 172 carries, 951 yds, 5.5 avg, 7 TDs; 15 catches, 148 yds, 9.9 avg, 0 TD
JR: 284 carries, 1357 yds, 4.8 avg, 15 TDs; 21 catches, 177 yds, 8.4 avg, 2 TD
SR: 98 carries, 675 yds, 6.9 avg, 5 TDs; 11 catches, 92 yds, 8.4 avg, 2 TD
Unfortunately, Burkhead suffered an MCL sprain this year and was out for 6 games. Even with the injury, he still managed to average 6.9 yds per carry. He ended up as one of the leading career rushers at Nebraska, not bad for a school that has produced some good RBs over the years. Burkhead has also been a good weapon out of the backfield as a receiver and could do well on 3rd downs. His blocking; however, has been mixed, but probably needs more coaching. He was not always asked to block in college.
Not only does Burkhead produce good numbers, but he is also a leader on the field, a quality held in high regard by Coach Coughlin and Jerry Reese.
Burkhead is a passionate player and, as previously stated, a good leader (both on and off the field). He has done some great community service in Nebraska, particularly starting “Team Jack”. Burkhead mentored a young child with a brain tumor, bringing him to the homecoming game, along with another sick child (http://www.huskers.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=100&ATCLID=205305137&SPID=76795&SPSID=597347-). I could just see Coughlin eating that up.
Rex Burkhead is a workhorse RB, with more determination than most of his peers, and good athleticism. He appears to be the type of later round prospect that Reese and Couglin love. Burkhead rarely goes down with the first hit, but that could change at the NFL level. The competition will be greater and lot have knocked his lower body strength. He has decent hands and could be a weapon.
My projection would be to draft him in the 5th or 6th round. The RB depth next year would be: Wilson, Brown, Burkhead, Scott. Maybe Lumpkin or Torain over Scott.
P.S. Brett Maher for kicker too. Made 14 out of 15 field goals at the combine, better than Alex Henery’s results.