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Too many obstacles for Blount

3/18/2010

LeGarrette Blount came to Oregon in 2008 as a junior college transfer and shared carries with then-senior Jeremiah Johnson, but he still managed to rush for 1,038 yards. Blount ran downhill, showed above-average vision and made crisp cuts, and he had the look of a player whose stock was rising.

Things have gone downhill since then, though. Blount was suspended briefly in February 2009 for violating team rules, showed up to fall camp out of shape and then proceeded to punch Boise State DE Byron Hout after a season-opening loss to the Broncos. Making matters worse, Blount had to be restrained from going into the Boise State crowd after taunting fans.

The end result of that incident was a whole mess of character concerns and a suspension that cost Blount the remainder of the season, with the exception of the season finale against Oregon State. And it didn't help any when scouts reportedly showed up a week early for a scheduled March 18 workout thanks to a communication breakdown that reflects poorly on him.

However, Blount continued to practice with the team and showed up to the Senior Bowl in excellent shape. He didn't do much that week to help himself, though, failing to run with good pad level and not using his size to take what the defense gave him.

The more we see of Blount, the more concerns we have. He did not show the same power, burst or tenacity he had displayed in 2008 during limited action in 2009. He flashed above-average vision and looked good when he made up his mind to run downhill at the Senior Bowl, but he often was hesitant and danced in the hold too much. He also had a hard time holding up in pass protection thanks to unorthodox technique and lacked savvy as a route-runner in the passing game.

The bottom line is that Blount lacks top-end speed (he ran a 4.65-second 40-yard dash at the combine) but has the size (6 feet, 245 pounds) and physical tools to develop into an effective No. 2/short-yardage back in the NFL. Still, he has obstacles to overcome. Blount must learn to run behind his pads more effectively and be more decisive as a runner, and the character baggage certainly will hurt him. At this point, Scouts Inc. projects Blount as a fifth-round pick.