With one swing of his fist, Oregon RB LaGarrette Blount might have lost himself a lot of money. The difference in guaranteed money for a late first round draft pick and a late round draft pick is $5-$6 million for the late first round pick and $25,000-$75,000 for a late round draft pick. Had Blount stayed out of trouble and produced on the field in 2009, Blount could have been one of the first running backs taken in the 2010 NFL Draft. But after he connected his punch with Boise State DE Byron Hout last Thursday night, Blount saw his NFL Draft stock drop dramatically. He is now projected as a 7th rounder or undrafted free agent.
In 2008, LaGarrette Blount rushed for 1,002 yards and averaged 7.3 yards per carry. He also broke Oregon’s school record for rushing touchdowns in a season with 17. One of the lasting images of the 2008 Oregon Ducks season was Blount’s final touchdown run versus Oklahoma State in the Holiday Bowl, where he hurdled a defender, bounced off two tackles, and stiff-armed a final defender en route for a 29 yard touchdown. Following the Holiday Bowl, Blount contemplated declaring for the 2009 NFL Draft, but LeGarrette ultimately decided to return for his senior season at Oregon.
Blount’s scouting report reads that he is a big back at 6-1, 240 lbs. that is tough to bring down. He also has decent quickness and athleticism (he routinely hurdles defenders in the open field) and a great nose for the endzone. But his speed is not great, as he gets caught from behind in the open field, and he is not the most patient runner. He has almost no experience as a receiver out of the backfield and is very passive as a blocker. Also, his off the field problems had been a concern before his altercation against Boise State. He was suspended during the spring in 2009 for his poor attendance at voluntary workouts in the winter. He then showed up to spring practice overweight, and appeared slow and overweight in the 2009 opening game versus Boise State.
Before being suspended for the remainder of the 2009 season, I projected LeGarrette Blount as a 5th or 6th round prospect in the NFL Draft. After his inexcusable actions in Boise and being suspended for the remainder of the season at Oregon, I can’t give Blount a higher grade than being an undrafted free agent. If I were an NFL team, I couldn’t afford to risk a draft choice on him. It’s unfortunate that Blount likely ended his collegiate career with that punch.. It would have been interesting see if he matured from the incident and continued to showcase his talent. As of now, it seems unlikely that he would be able to petition the NCAA for another year of eligibility. For whoever picks up Blount for 2010, it is definitely a buyer beware situation.