Where do we start on Lattimore? When healthy he has elite talent and a lot of potential, but the big issue for him lately is being healthy. In 2011 Lattimore torn an ACL, and in 2012 he suffered a very nasty knee injury where he tore all 3 ligaments in his knee. Now the question is, when will his knee be 100%? No one knows right now and may not know for awhile. Lattimore is a 5'11 211 lb. running back and as of now CBSSports.com has him ranked as the 11th overall running back and the 143rd overall prospect in the NFL Draft. It's hard to project where he will be drafted, but unless some positive news comes out about his prognosis I expect him to go in the 3rd day of the NFL Draft.
Lattimore had a solid career at South Carolina, but it could have been so much more for the talented junior. In his three year career at South Carolina Lattimore totaled 2,677 yards rushing and 38 TDs. He also added 74 career receptions for 767 yards and 3 TD's. His best season came his freshmen year when he totaled 1,197 yards rushing and 17 TD's and also added 29 receptions for 412 yards and 2 TD's.
Now in his sophomore and junior seasons both looked very promising but were cut short because of season ending knee injuries.
Hometown: Duncan, S.C.
High School: Byrnes
Experience: 3 VL
2012: Gamecocks' leading rusher with 662 yards and 11 touchdowns despite playing just nine games... named honorable mention All-SEC by the Associated Press... earned SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors for the fourth time in his career after rushing for 110 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries in the season-opening win at Vanderbilt... tied the school record for career touchdowns with his 33rd when he went in from six yards out against East Carolina... carried 12 times for 85 yards and a touchdown against UAB... the touchdown was the 34th of his career, establishing a new school record... became the school's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns when he had a pair of short TD bursts against Missouri while carrying 21 times for 85 yards... also caught a career-high seven passes for 60 yards... carried 23 times for 120 yards and two touchdowns in the win at Kentucky... 108 of his 120 yards came in the second half... logged 109 rushing yards and a touchdown against Georgia... it was his third 100-yard rushing game against the Bulldogs... earned a spot on Phil Steele's first-team Midseason All-SEC squad... scored the 40th touchdown of his career at LSU... did not make the start at Florida due to an injury that kept him sidelined during the week of practice... it was the first game of his collegiate career that he played in and did not start... suffered a severe right knee injury in the win over Tennessee which ended his season prematurely for the second year in a row.
Draft Profile for Marcus Lattimore:
NFL.com Scouting Report on Lattimore:
Taller north-south runner who plays with good lean to plow for yards between the tackles. Possesses vision and quick feet for his size to slide into a rushing lane and the speed to get upfield once finding the hole. Quite effective on zone runs when used in that capacity. Has the wiggle to freeze and elude tacklers to space. Spins off piles inside and keeps his legs churning to pick up the extra yard. Gets into his routes fluidly out of the backfield and flashes the hand to adjust to poor throws. Good build for pass protection, and is willing to hustle and make contact to keep his quarterback clean.
With back to back seasons ending in traumatic knee injuries, durability is a major red flag. There are also the questions of how his medicals will check out, and how much he will be able to contribute his rookie season. Even before his injuries, struggled to get into a second or third gear in order to break off longer gains.
NFL COMPARISON: Arian Foster
Lattimore offers an extremely intriguing blend of power, balance, vision and production. However, it's hard not to question his future durability and how much of the same player he will be going forward after major injuries to both knees in consecutive seasons. While his talent suggests a late first-round pick, it's much more likely that he is a Day 3 pick.
NFL Combine results/measurements:
- Arm Length: 32 1/2 Inches
- Hand Length: 9 7/8 inches
CBSSports.com Scouting Report on Lattimore:
Outstanding burst and balance to stay on his feet through contact. Strong finisher, lowering his pads and continuing to pump his legs.
Very good at keeping defenders off balance, showing excellent acceleration, anticipation and footwork. Natural balance and feel between the tackles with good vision and patience to follow his blocks. Reliable receiving target, adjusting well to the ball with good focus.
Never goes down easy and rarely goes out of bounds, running with toughness and confidence. Good effort in pass protection and not shy about giving up his body. Taking better care of himself off-the-field with improved practice habits and stronger work ethic.
Lacks elite speed to consistently win the edge or out-run defenders. Strong durability concerns with two serious knee injuries the past two seasons and currently rehabbing a right knee injury from last October. Didn't look 100 percent this past season after his 2011 left knee injury and wore down late in games. Will he ever be able to return to form or will he a shell of what he once was?
Chris Mortensen is apparently reporting on ESPN that taking Lattimore means you're taking him for 2014, not 2013.
"The medicals on him are not great," said Mort. "Dr. (James) Andrews, who did the surgery, says it's one of the toughest surgeries he's ever had. ... You take Marcus Lattimore, you're taking him for 2014. Nobody wants to shoot down the inspiration for him, but the bottom line is it's going to be a long road."
"Yes, he can play if everything continues to go well," Andrews told ESPN. "He's way ahead of schedule for somebody with that injury. This kid is a delight. He's probably got the finest character of any athlete I've worked with. He's just a joy as a person. You've gotta set goals, and the goal is the regular season in 2013."
Lattimore is also using a current Denver Broncos running back as inspiration during his rehab. Lattimore is looking up to Willis McGahee who tore his ACL, MCL and PCL in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.
"As you know he had a similar injury, pretty much the same kind of injury, so that's helped me a lot," Lattimore said. "Guys always bring that up when I come in there and talk. Willis came back from it. He's a guy that worked hard, and that's what I am going to do."
Before his nasty knee injury, Lattimore was on pace to be a Heisman candidate and a potential top 10 pick in the NFL Draft. Now the big questions are, when will he be healthy? and will he be the same running back? We all watched Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles have outstanding years after coming off ACL injuries, but Lattimore is coming off tearing 3 of his ligaments. Right now I'm withholding judgement on his potential in the NFL. His college tape is nice, but it's meaningless if he's not the same player after the injury. Also with the report that he may not be able to play in 2013 really hurts his NFL Draft stock. I would be willing to take a gamble on him in the 5th round on back, maybe 4th round if the Broncos team doctors are confident he can come back and be as effective as he was before the injury. He's a tough player to evaluate right now.
Would I draft him?...short answer yes. When is the big question.