Ray Rice Scouting Report

NFL Draft > 2008 Prospects > RB > Ray Rice

Ray Rice Scouting Report

Position: RB
Conference: AAC
School: Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Year/Status: Drafted
Jersey Number: #27
Height & Weight: 5'9 - 205 lbs.
Drafted 2.24 in 2008 by BAL

2008 NFL Draft Prospect Scouting Report:

Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers

Few running backs in the country have been more productive over the last few seasons as Rutgers' Rice. As of the Scarlet Knights' final regular-season game, a 41-38 loss to Louisville, Rice has run for 3,526 yards and 40 touchdowns in the last two seasons. He made a big splash as a freshman in 2005, rushing for 1,120 yards and five touchdowns despite sharing touches with Brian Leonard (2007 second-round pick by the Rams). In 2006, Leonard took a back seat to Rice and the sophomore became Rutgers' workhorse, carrying the ball 335 times. You can count on him to give his best every time out and even though he can be bottled up and slowed down from time to time, he gets the yards more often than not and can get loose for the big one on a regular basis. He has run for over 100 yards 24 times in his career (19 of the last 24 games), over 150 yards 13 times, and has five 200-yard games including a 243-yard performance in a win over Army earlier this month. He's also got a serious nose for pay dirt, with touchdowns in 22 of his last 25 games over the last two years and two or more scores 14 times in three seasons. Rice has also seen more opportunities in the passing game this season, with 23 catches for 224 yards and a touchdown (helping to showcase his versatility on offense). Rice isn't very big, but he's well-built and can be a physical runner when he has to be. But, that size could lead to concerns about how durable he can be over a long period of time. He has held up well thus far and hasn't missed a game in his Rutgers career. When it comes to a 16-game NFL season and playing for a number of years, it would be wise to add a little more muscle to his frame, which would benefit himself in terms of durability and with pass blocking against bigger, stronger defenders. If he does add a few pounds, he'll be about the same size as some guy named Emmitt Smith, who overcame height concerns to have a 15-year career that was just a little good. If he does test the draft waters after this season, there's no doubt that he would be a high pick within the first four of five backs taken in the draft, behind Darren McFadden, Steve Slaton, and Mike Hart. But, staying for his senior season couldn't hurt, as he would have a chance to become the all-time leading rusher in the NCAA's top division, as he's 1,751 yards away from Ron Dayne's record of 6,397 yards. If several of the nation's tiptop junior backs bolt for the 2008 draft, Rice could very well be the first or second back taken in 2009 and be in line to take his big-time production to the next level. Update (1/6/08): Rice ran for a school-record 280 yards and four touchdowns in Rutgers' 52-30 victory over Ball State in yesterday's International Bowl in Toronto. It was a monster day for the junior back in what could have been his final collegiate game, as he and the Scarlet Knights simply manhandled the helpless Ball State defense. Rice had a record 90-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that showcased both his speed (when he got to the outside and outran a couple of defenders all the way to the end zone) and his strength (as he out muscled a potential tackler and continued on his way to pay-dirt). By the end of the day, Rice had gone over the 2,000 yard mark, finishing his season with 2,012 yards and his four touchdowns gave him 24 rushing touchdowns on the season, two more school records. If it was Rice's last game at Rutgers, he might have definitely stamped himself as a first-rounder (or at worst, a high second-rounder in April). He finished the season on an absolute tear, rushing for more than 100 yards in each of the last eight games -- including performances of 181, 196, 243, and 280 yards. If he does come back for his senior year, he'll be one of the leading Heisman candidates and he'll also definitely be in reach of breaking Ron Dayne's rushing record. At 4,926 yards, he's less than 1,500 yards away from Dayne's record and with UCF's Kevin Smith for certain coming back, there could be a new #1 and #2 in the record books. That is, if Rice comes back. In post-game interviews, he said he'll make his decision in the next few days, a decision that was no doubt made harder (or maybe easier) with his record-setting performance on Saturday. Update (1/8/08): It didn't take Rice long to make his decision about his future, as three days after his record-setting performance in the International Bowl, the junior tailback announced his intentions to enter the draft. In a statement, Rice said of his decision, "I have always dreamed of playing in the NFL, and I felt the time is right to pursue the opportunity to play at the next level." With he and Kevin Smith both entering the draft, Ron Dayne's rushing record appears to be safe for now, as both backs would have likely challenged the record next season. Junior safety Courtney Greene, Rice's friend since childhood and Rutgers' leading tackler in two of his three seasons, is also expected to declare for the draft this week. Update (2/28/08): At the combine in Indianapolis, Rice ran a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash and had 23 reps in his bench press. He did tweak his hamstring slightly while running, but that didn't stop him from continuing the drills. Rice also had the best time among the running backs in the 3-cone drill (6.65 seconds) and a time of 4.20 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle, which tied him for third in the RB group. With his great showing, Rice has solidified a place in the first day and quite possibly a place in the second round. Update (4/26/08): After an impressive combine performance, Rice didn't have to do too many drills at Rutgers' Pro Day late last month, but he elected to do the vertical and posted a 39-inch jump (a big improvement over his combine number). Rice could be taken in the second round of this weekend's draft, but won't fall past the third.

Last Updated Apr-26-2008 by Eddie Griffin

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