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Prospect Profile: Marshawn Lynch

California RB Marshawn Lynch

We have been throwing around a lot of names in the past few weeks about prospects that the Bills may be taking in the first round of the draft. We talk about Patrick Willis, Paul Posluszny, Amobi Okoye, Leon Hall, Adam Carriker... even Darrelle Revis. The focus on defense in the first round is pretty consistent.

From what I observe, the consensus among the community members here is that defense has to be our priority at the top of the draft. When we talk offense at all, it's Brian Leonard or Robert Meachem or Antonio Pittman. Second-round talents.

Cal RB Marshawn Lynch was a hot prospect for the Bills after the Willis McGahee trade, but his name has cooled off in recent weeks. Let's bring him back up now - after all, we still need a RB, and Lynch is the consensus #2 available this year...

Height: 5'11"
Weight: 218
40-Time: 4.46 seconds

STRENGTHS: Big-Play Back
- Versatile player who has a wide variety of skills... One of the most explosive rushers in college football the past three years... Plays faster in pads than he times in drills... Has good size and runs with a lot of power... Able to run inside effectively, though by no means is he a "pile pusher"... Has a nose for the end zone... Great instincts and very adept at breaking tackles... Has the elusiveness to hit the edges and the necessary speed to break off long runs... A good receiver out of the backfield with the ability to get even better... Has worked as a slot receiver for coach Jeff Tedford... A pretty complete back with growth potential, Lynch has the look of becoming the centerpiece of an NFL offense.

WEAKNESSES: Durability
- Has never carried a completely full rushing load, splitting time with J.J. Arrington and Justin Forsett... Runs a bit high at times, which results in a lot of shoestring tackles at his ankles... Is not the most elusive player, with just above-average agility... Timed speed is good but not great... Needs to improve his route-running as a receiver... Unproven in terms of blitz pickup... Can be over-fancy at times, allowing defenders to catch up... Has had some problems with the law, although all charges against him were dropped... May not have as high a ceiling as some scouts believe.

NFL COMPARISON: Fred Taylor, Jacksonville
- Don't worry. Lynch is not that frail - he does not have as severe a durability issue as Taylor has dealt with his whole career. But their running styles are very similar, and both backs have similar explosiveness. Lynch is a young Fred Taylor in his prime without the vast injury history.

- Any running back that the Bills add through the draft will undoubtedly be used in conjunction with current back Anthony Thomas. Lynch's skill set meshes with that of the A-Train's very well - Thomas is a steady back who prefers to run between the tackles and pick up positive yardage. Lynch is far more explosive and is much more effective hitting the edges of a defense. He also has more ability as a receiver. Lynch looks like an ideal compliment to Thomas, and he has the ability to carry the full load once Thomas' days in Buffalo are numbered.

FINAL GRADE: 9.1 out of 10

What is everyone's thoughts on Lynch? Personally, he's another prospect that I would not be disappointed with - even at pick 12. Offense would not be my top priority in the first round, but it very well could be Marv Levy's. Would you prefer another offensive prospect over Lynch in the first round? Would you rate Lynch ahead of any of the defensive prospects we've mentioned recently (Willis, Okoye, Carriker, Hall, Revis, Posluszny, etc.)? I'd love to hear what everyone has to say on Lynch.