RB CHRIS RAINEY – FLORIDA – 5-8, 180
Rainey is extremely versatile, so NFL teams are going to be giving him a look at RB, WR and as a return specialist. When you talk about quickness, agility and balance on offense there may not be another player in the draft that is Rainey’s equal. He has absolutely wicked cutting ability and is really able to break down in the open field and make would-be tacklers look bad. At the same time, when he sees daylight Rainey has the type of speed that you don’t see often. He’s a home run hitter that can strike pay dirt from anywhere on the field if given a few feet of space.
Another big plus with this Gator is that he catches the ball very well out of the backfield and obviously that he’s a special teams weapon. Not only is he a very good returner, but he blocked six punts at Florida. I do have quite a few questions about his game however. One, if he’s going to play wide receiver how much of a project is he? Florida’s offense was predicated on Chris catching a lot of screen passes. He didn’t run routes there or even come over the middle much – if at all. That’s a little troubling if I’m a team looking at him strictly as a wideout. Also, with his lack of size and constant shoulder injuries I wonder how much of a pounding he truly can take at the next level. Some question whether he was the best running back on his team this year. He also has a bit of a reputation for being “soft” amongst his own teammates. One thing that’s for sure is that the NFL will look into charges brought against him for aggravated stalking in 2010. They have been dropped since then because he went through some sort of post-trial rehab program, but the incident still occurred.
All questions aside, Rainey is a very, very talented athlete with knockout speed. Teams have to be intrigued with his skill set and if he can do more than one thing while taking up only one roster spot; that makes him even more valuable. He sits on the edge of my Top 100 in the 4th round with the injury and character flags.
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He’s small at 5-8, 180, but don’t be fooled by that. This isn’t a finesse guy who’s scared of contact. My favorite play from him came on a play-action pass in the FSU game. Rainey executed the fake and then stopped just before the LOS. There weren’t any defenders leaking through the blockers in front of him. He quickly turned to the right and saw a CB blitzing. Rainey flew over and hit the guy in the side. That hit sent the CB tumbling. That play showed great awareness and toughness.
Rainey ran 4.45 at the Combine and that speed shows up on the field. Get him out in the open and he can make things happen. The reason I like Rainey is that he’s more than just a speed guy. He will run between the tackles. He runs hard. Isn’t shy of contact. Rainey has very good feet and can make dynamic cuts.
Rainey is a good runner, blocker, and receiver. He was 69-795-6 as a pass catcher. Has good hands. Can snatch the ball. He has added value as a STer. Rainey blocked 6 kicks in his career. Good PR (2 TDs) and KOR (25 yards per return).
He’s only a role player in the NFL, but could be very good because he’s willing to do the things a role player needs to (block, play STs, etc.). Rainey does have an off-field concern. He was thrown off the team at one point after being arrested for “aggravated stalking” when there was an incident between him and a long time girlfriend. Teams will need to find out if that is an anomaly or if he’s got issues beyond that. Rainey could go as high as the 3rd round if some team sees him as an offensive/STs spark plug that they need (and his character questions check out okay).