Javon Leake, RB, Maryland
I said how I like to take running backs later in the draft and so here is a sleeper that I like in this draft. He is the type of back that the Steelers could get in the sixth or seventh round.
His tape is good and he played in the Big 10. He showed that he has decent vision to see where to run. I also like that he runs with good balance and won’t be taken down too easily. He is able to use his speed and momentum to break tackles as well.
The thing to watch out for in his running is his sneaky burst. He can burst through the scene without there being much warning. He is also explosive and can break a big run when you least expect it.
I think he is a better football player than an athlete. He ran in the 4.6s which is average for a running back. (According to NFL.com) He does have the height you want in that he stands at six feet flat. He didn’t run the short area drills so there is some question there but overall you have to go with the tape.
Another thing to like about him is that he really only started after Anthony McFarland had an ankle injury. He also is leaving a year early for the draft; so, he is younger. The point to take away from this is there isn’t a lot of tread on his tires.
The Steelers will need depth at running back because of James Conner’s injuries and health history. This could be an option to add depth and maybe catch lightning in a bottle.
Another thing to like about Leake is that he is a very good kick returner. He took three kickoffs back for a touchdown in his career. The Steelers really haven’t had a great kick returner in a while.