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If you have been stopping by Big Blue View regularly throughout the off-season you know that there is a huge difference of opinion among New York Giants fans about the running back position.
- Should they postpone looking for defensive help and grab Clemson's big-plat threat C.J. Spiller if he is there for them in the first round of the upcoming draft?
- If they pass on Spiller, or don't get a shot at him, how early is too early to grab a running back in the draft?
- Can any of the backs on the Giants roster, including Brandon Jacobs, stay healthy and carry the load as the featured back?
- Has Jacobs begun the inevitable slide all big-time running backs eventually endure? If so, should the Giants look for a power runner who might eventually replace him?
With all of that in mind I have recently added some running backs to the Daily NFL Draft Prospect Profile series. Today, I will add another one.
Auburn's Ben Tate is not a Spiller/Jahvid Best breakaway home-run hitter. He is a 5-foot-11, 220-pound between-the-tackles power back. Might be an intriguing mid-round option, especially as a short-yardage back.
Let's take a closer look.
Ben Tate Scouting Reports
From Draft Countdown.
Very good size and bulk ... Decisive, powerful, downhill runner ... Has a little wiggle in the hole ... Good receiver out of the backfield ... Does not have great vision or instincts ... Lacks explosion ... Isn't very shifty or elusive ... Struggles to get outside and turn the corner ... Not a big play threat.
Intriguing prospect with a nice blend of triangle numbers ... Finally began to live up to his potential as a senior, enjoying the best season of his career and giving his stock a big boost in the process ... Best football may still lie ahead.
From SB Nation's Mocking The Draft.
Tate is at his best when he can work between the tackles. He's a downhill runner who moves with authority.
When you evaluate Tate, throw out his stats. He went from being in a pro-style offense to a spread in his junior and senior seasons. He fits best in an I-formation where he can use his vision and power.
Tate may not have the best speed, but he's an effective player who knows how to gain extra yards after contact.
Tate is a hard-nosed runner that does not spend much time dancing around in the backfield. He likes to stick his foot in the ground and hit the hole at the first sign of a running lane opening up. He is a downhill runner that will veer off course as he gets through the hole but is not going to make a lot of people miss once he gets through the hole unless he can just outrun them. He had been considered a bit of an underachiever in the past but came through with a big senior season to raise his status going into this draft.
Why Tate fits with the Giants
Whether or not you believe Jacobs can re-capture his 2007 and 2008 form, the Giants might need to begin thinking about the day when someone other than Jacobs is needed to pound away for tough yards inside. Besides, even with the 265-pound Jacobs the Giants were not very good in short-yardage in 2009. Maybe Tate initially finds a role as a short-yardage back.
Why the Giants should pass
Gartrell Johnson. Tate sounds an awful lot like Johnson -- powerful between the tackles runner who can get the tough yards but lacks elite breakaway speed. If the Giants really like Johnson it would seem a bit redundant to bring a player with similar type skills.
(E-mail Ed at email@example.com. Follow Big Blue View on Twitter.)