#1 Joseph Randle had a career-high 199 yards rushing and 2TDs for the Cowboys in a 41-36 defeat to the Texas Longhorns

This running back from Wichita, Kansas is a great one on the campus of Oklahoma State University, but no matter how good he was he would never eclipse the 1988 season that Barry Sanders had for the Cowboys. It’s crazy 25 years after Sanders there’s Joseph Randle.

To some this may come as a shock but if you’ve seen him play in the BIG 12 you’d see what I see. He has quite a resume for a guy no one covering the draft (Kiper, Mayock, McShay) is talking about.

People talking about Bernard, Lattimore, and Lacy, rightfully so they’re great players but I learned the game of football as doing the little things better than your opponent.

He’s a 1st team All-Big 12 two years running (2011-2012), a Doak Walker semi-finalist in 2012, and had over 2,600 rushing yards over the past two seasons. Basically saying he replaced Kendall Hunter pretty well after he left the school for the 2011 Draft.

2011 was a great year for the Cowboys, Randle ran for over 1,200 yards and all while QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon were stealing the attention. He had 24 TDs as a sophomore in 208 carries rushing! Just to do the math he scored 33.3% of the time he ran the ball, but yet no one was talking about him.

His 2012 season as a junior was better even without the passing being the greatest in the Big 12 like the previous two seasons. He ran for 1,417 yards which was an improvement, but he only reached the end-zone 14 times, and to me that’s still counts that he’s an elite back in the collegiate level.

Listed at 6’1” 200lbs. he’s a bit of a tweener. He runs in the 4.5’s, he can block, he can catch, after all playing an air-raid style where throwing the ball is the focal point you need to be a complete back. With the NFL evolving to this horizontal passing game with bubble screens and read options, you want a back that has a versatile skill set.

Many including myself thinks he’s way too upright before contact. His pad level must improve in consistency but in essence that’s coachable and will be fixed. But this particular weakness has prevented previous running backs from making that next step look no further Lawrence Maroney,

A lot have him between the 3rd and 4th round but remember who else was drafted in that spot, think of DeMarco Murray, Jamal Charles, and Stevan Ridley all have had successful careers to this point being third rounders.

In comparison, I see him as what Jahvid Best was at Cal and early on for Detroit before his numerous amounts of concussions slowed him enough to probably end his career. Another fair comparison for him would be Edgerrin James the former Colts/Cardinals running back was the jack of all trades at his position, and most of all he came into the league at 6’1 216lbs, speed may be James’ advantage on Randle but the little things is what equals out.

Detroit is a perfect fit for Randle and his complex skill set. Mikel Leshoure, who was drafted in the second round of the 2011 Draft can get the majority of carries, then Randle come play an Ahmad Bradshaw role, third down and two-minute offense with Stafford. This will give them a receiver out the backfield.

I also like Arizona with how they can mix him with Beanie Wells, and as a Ravens fan I know Bruce Arians loves having depth at RB. But for a QB who may not be a Manning, Brady, Brees, or Rodgers, you need a group of backs to keep the defense guessing.

His coach at Oklahoma State Mike Gundy was asked about a comparison in a question by the Tulsa World, he responded with Thurman Thomas, who played at Oklahoma State from 1984-87. He mention the blocking ability and compared how the two played, I feel that’s a stretch but very high praise.


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