In light of my selection of RB Antonio Pittman in the second round of the SB Nation Mock Draft, I thought I'd throw some information out there about Pittman as a prospect. To me, Pittman is by far the most explosive playmaker remaining in the draft, with the ability to take runs to the distance at any point. His 4.4 40-yard-dash at the Scouting Combine cemented his status as a first-day pick, and put to rest any questions about his explosiveness.
There are some obvious holes in his game. As a junior entry into the draft, many scouts feel that Pittman would have been better served returning for his senior season, where he would have certainly been the centerpiece of the Buckeyes' offense. However, with the emergence of young Beanie Wells at running back in Columbus, Pittman decided to declare early. The result is that while he has a higher ceiling than a lot of players at his position (including, in my opinion, Marshawn Lynch), he is more of a developmental prospect than the top-tier prospects.
To begin with, Pittman is a bit too small yet - his 207-pound frame isn't likely to withstand a full rushing load (although, at least initially, he will not have to worry about that with the presence of veteran Anthony Thomas). He is also underdeveloped both as a blocker and as a receiver. His small frame will likely make him a liability in pass protection and blitz pickup; however, this is again not an issue with Thomas likely to handle those responsibilities as Pittman develops. Ohio State's offensive scheme did not utilize running backs as receivers; Pittman will need to become more consistent and comfortable with running routes out of the backfield. He is underdeveloped in that area, but he certainly doesn't lack potential.
Obviously, the Bills have a huge need at running back with the departure of Willis McGahee this off-season. It is important to realize, however, that the team plans on using a two-back system; therefore, any running back the team brings in does not have to be counted on to "do it all". This is, in my opinion, the perfect situation for Pittman; without the pressure of carrying the entire load, he can help the team out on the field while simultaneously honing his skills to reach his full potential. This kid could be a star.
To display some of his speed and explosion, here is a video provided on YouTube:
Here's what people are saying about Antonio Pittman:
On The Clock Draft has the following to offer on Pittman:
A nice article from Scout.com shows a good indication of Pittman's character:
HS coach Claude Brown: "As a player I think his speed gets overlooked. He'll go to the combine and run a 4.4 forty-yard dash and that will open some eyes. He's also a good inside runner. He loves to run inside, find a seam, and bounce it to the sideline. I see him as a first round pick. He'll show the scouts what they need to see and he'll do really well in the personal interviews too. He's the best running back I've ever coached and I've had some good ones."
The Sporting News, in their pre-draft manual, has Pittman ranked as the second-best running back available - even ahead of Cal's Marshawn Lynch, whom they have rated as a second-round talent. Here's their bottom line:
NFL Draft Countdown has good things to say as well.
What's your opinion on Pittman, Bills fans? If you'd like to rant about my pick in terms of "he should have picked someone else", please refer to the last post. This is a spot to talk about Pittman.