January 2, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks running back LaMichael James (21) reacts after getting a first down against the Wisconsin Badgers during the second half during the 2012 Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

2012 NFL Draft: Projecting LaMichael James


The highest draft prospect for the Oregon Ducks in the upcoming draft is running back LaMichael James. While being a contender for a first-round pick before this last season, his stock has fell off due to injuries and increased worry on his size. After a pretty good combine, he’s projected to be a second-day pick in the draft.

Multiple sources have James as the only Ducks player in the top 100 prospects. NFL.com’s Mike Mayock has him listed as 71st and FFToolbox has him at 65th. Assuming that some teams will pick by need instead of best player in the draft, it’s likely that James will not be drafted until the third round.

It’s completely scattered opinion on whether that will hold true or James could move up to the second round. Four of nine FFToolbox writers selected the back in the second round. Jeff Christiansen gives him the highest pick at number seven in the second round to the Cleveland Browns. To him, there aren’t really any alternatives, while a general consensus in the writers believes the Browns will select Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden.

Walton Spurlin and Matt De Lima have James going 25th in the second round to the Denver Broncos, an intriguing pick should he last that long to play for Peyton Manning. Spurlin notes a welcome addition with “McGahee [being] a bit of a plodder these days and Moreno has never hit his potential.” Matt Binstock has him going 30th in the second round to the New England Patriots.

While I’m sure James would like the excitement building in Denver or going to a winning franchise in New England, he would likely get the most playing time in Cleveland. Yes, this includes the assumption that many people have Trent Richardson being drafted by the Browns. He can be an additional threat and first-round running back picks have always been a mixed bag. If James ends up in New England, I believe that he would end up being more of a special teams player (even with the little experience he has) unless he shows some early potential in preseason.

ALSO: Take a look at Autzen Zoo’s recent player profile on LaMichael James.

Follow Brian Spaen on Twitter @Spaeniard and what’s happening in Autzen Zoo @Autzen_Zoo. You can also like us on Facebook at Autzen Zoo.

Take a look at some of his other work, including the lacrosse blog Around the Crease and opinionated blog The World of Santa Destroy.

Tags: 2012 NFL Draft Brandon Weeden Cleveland Browns Denver Broncos Featured LaMichael James Mock Drafts New England Patriots Peyton Manning Popular Running Back Trent Richardson