RB VICK BALLARD – MISSISSIPPI STATE – 5-10, 219
Ballard is a kid that was asked to play in many formations with the Bulldogs under Dan Mullen and frankly, he was night and day for me depending on which one he was playing in. When I watch Vick play, I see a natural cutback runner who is at his best when he has a fullback or pulling lineman in front of him. He seems extremely comfortable and has a ton of success in these situations. When asked to do some other things like run delays out of the shotgun, there are just things about Ballard I really don’t like.
As I mentioned, you’ve got a natural cutback runner here. He also has sneaky speed on him and uses good angles once he gets into the open field to break long runs. Unlike most backs, Ballard looks like he’s most comfortable running between the tackles which I love. At times you’ll see him take far too many (wasted) steps before getting to the line and get stuffed by penetrating linemen. The rest of the time, he shows good vision and gets downhill in a hurry with good acceleration through rushing lanes. Although he could work on lowering his pad level at times he’s typically low into contact and delivers a pop – picking up extra yards after contact consistently. Ballard has also shown that he has solid hands out of the backfield and it’s not just on screens, but on wheel routes and drags as well. He will become a safety net for his quarterback often and then pick up yards after the catch. I was also pretty impressed with how he handle the pass rush. Ballard squares and engages defenders, lifting them onto their heels. Obviously a strong kid.
Ballard is a player that I think could turn out to be very good depending on the team that drafts him. In other words, he could really be a “product of the system” if you will. His vision and cutback ability are impressive, but he has to be on the right team to bring out the best in him. I like him in the 3rd round of the draft.