f you haven’t noticed by now, I support a “contrarian” style of drafting, i.e. purposely going against popular opinion to acquire value. Many of the NFL’s best drafting teams are contrarians, emphasizing specific traits that other teams overlook. It’s not that “the masses” are wrong in what they’re seeking, but rather that if almost every team is searching for the same things, the ability to obtain a competitive advantage by seeking those traits disappears.

For example, many NFL teams disregard a running back’s college efficiency and instead pay for bulk stats. They’re more likely to jump on Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and his massive career output than a back like today’s feature—LSU’s Michael Ford. Ford received only 243 carries during his three-year career at LSU, but he averaged 5.7 yards-per-carry—slightly higher than Ball’s average. Most teams will have Ford rated much lower than Ball on their boards, but maybe they shouldn’t.

Scouting Report

Ford is an excellent athlete with good speed; he ran a 4.50 at the NFL Scouting Combine and a 4.44 at LSU’s Pro Day. Although speed is a trait teams emphasize for most positions, they actually don’t do it enough for running backs. As I’ve mentioned in the past, slow running backs or even those with moderate speed have had a rough go of it in the NFL.