During the 2012 NFL Draft the New York Giants will almost certainly select a running back to bring into camp to compete with Da’Rel Scott, Andre Brown, and D.J. Ware for carries behind incumbent starter Ahmad Bradshaw. One of the more interesting running back prospects in the draft is Utah State’s Robert Turbin.
Turbin lacks the ideal size for a running back at 5-10, 221 pounds, but he is powerfully built and his legs are like pistons that keep moving until he is brought down. He excels in short-yardage situations and will drive a pile when necessary. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 at the combine and when he gets moving it is like trying to tackle a bowling ball. He also excels in the passing game as both a blocker and receiver, something the Giants need in the backfield.
Turbin’s running style is typical of your 1980’s power-back type. He keeps his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage and waits for a hole to open up. He has excellent vision but needs to learn to use it more if a hole doesn’t immediately open up. He can slow down behind the line as he waits for a hole to open. If he can learn to hit the hole hard and trust his offensive linemen he could become a three-down back in the NFL.
However, Turbin does not possess the ability to make defenders miss in the open field. His hips look stiff on game film and he will not juke anyone out of their shorts but he is powerful and is usually still running after the first hit. He will not shy away from contact and consistently lowered his shoulder when anticipating contact. He gets very low to the ground and always keeps his legs moving. At the combine he set the pace for all running backs by doing 28 reps on the 225 lbs. bench press
The one real negative to Turbin’s game is his health history. He missed all of 2010 with a torn ACL and missed most of his freshman season with a foot injury. However, when he is one the field he is immensely productive. In 2009 he gained 1,296 yards on the ground on 207 carries, 6.3 YPC average, with 13 touchdowns. In 2011, he carried the ball 249 times for 1,517 yards, a 6.1 average, and 19 rushing touchdowns and another 4 through the air.
All Turbin cares about is winning. He will do whatever it takes for his team to walk off the field victorious. He has an older sister with cerebral palsy that he helps take care of. She cannot speak and is paralyzed from the neck down. He also lost a sister who died from multiple sclerosis at the age of 21. He also lost an older brother who was murdered this past February in Oakland, CA. He and his siblings were raised by their father who was a church leader. His mother has battled drug problems for many years and did not play a large role in raising Robert and his siblings. In high school his football coach questioned his work ethic because his star running back was always late to practice. When he confronted Turbin about it he discovered that Robert was running home after school and meeting a bus that was dropping off his sister and staying with her until another family member arrived before he went to practice. This kid is a leader on and off the field. He is a monster in the weight room and a superhero off of it. He wants to use football to better life for his family and his inner drive is unmatched.
He could be available for the Giants in the second or third round depending on whether or not there is a run on running backs at any point early on in the draft. He would fit perfectly into a running back rotation and could develop into an every-down running back and become one of the more consistent running backs in the NFL.