Oklahoma State football: Joseph Randle's NFL Combine time not necessarily a cause for concern

Joseph Randle has never been known as an elite speedster. But he possesses the durability to be an every-down back, the versatility to catch the ball out of the backfield or in the slot and the blend of strength and open-field moves to pick up yards in a variety of ways.
by Gina Mizell Published: February 24, 2013
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photo - COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Joseph Randle speaks to the media during the OSU spring football press conference at Boone Pickens Stadium on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla., Monday, March 12, 2012. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Joseph Randle speaks to the media during the OSU spring football press conference at Boone Pickens Stadium on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla., Monday, March 12, 2012. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

STILLWATER — During the hours of live television coverage of the NFL Scouting Combine, the 40-yard dash always garners the most attention.

Former Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle clocked in at 4.63 seconds.

Not a stellar time. Honestly, not even a good time. That mark ranked 18th out of the 33 backs that participated, a group that did not include Alabama's Eddie Lacy and South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore.

Should Randle suddenly fret about his draft stock?

Not necessarily, according to NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock when analyzing the position as a whole.

“That's not what being a great tailback is about,” he said during Sunday's broadcast. “It's great if you can run a 4.3, but that's rare. It's better to be quick. It's even better if you can catch the football. And it's even better if, on top of all that, you can protect the quarterback.”

Randle has never been known as an elite speedster. But he possesses the durability to be an every-down back, the versatility to catch the ball out of the backfield or in the slot and the blend of strength and open-field moves to pick up yards in a variety of ways.

The tape will show that to any NFL scout, general manager or coach who flips it on.

“He runs upright, but he's got great foot quickness, he can make you miss in the hole,” Mayock said. “His acceleration and burst is excellent from that movement.”

An example that a back's 40 time is not always an indicator of NFL success? How about Alfred Morris, the other rookie who helped lead the resurgence of the Washington Redskins this past season.

He ran the 40 in 4.67 seconds last year, then compiled more than 1,600 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first NFL season. He was, however, taken in the sixth round. Randle certainly hopes — and is projected — to be selected much higher than that.

The difficult obstacle for Randle — and every running back prospect — is that position is no longer valued as high in the draft, mostly for health and shelf-life reasons.

Eight of the 15 running backs selected in the first round over the past five years, such as Ryan Matthews, Knowshon Moreno, Beanie Wells and Darren McFadden, have since sustained a significant injury. Conversely, waiting until the second or third round to take backs like Ray Rice, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte and Jamaal Charles worked out quite well. That, in turn, knocks the entire crop of running backs further down the draft board.


by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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