Our draft prospect review of running backs continues today with an analysis of highly effective Cameron Artis-Payne. Projected to be a lower round draft pick Artis-Payne might be an attractive addition for the running-back-needy Packers.
Packers Prospect Profile: Cameron Artis-Payne, RB Auburn University
Player information: 5’ 10”, 212 lbs., senior, age 22 (will be 23 before training camp begins)
Hometown: Harrisburg, PA
NFL Combine Stats
40 Yard Dash: 4.53 seconds
Vertical Jump: 36.5
Broad Jump: 118”
225 # Bench: (none recorded),
Compares to pros: Jonas Gray
Projected Draft Position: Rounds 5-7
Cameron Artis-Payne was the go-to back at Auburn University. His 1,608 yards this past year are the third-best rushing season in Auburn history where he led the SEC at 123.7 yds/game. He was voted first team all-SEC (coaches, AP) and SI.com honorable mention All-America. Artis-Payne was also a Doak Walker Award semifinalist who scored 13 TD for the year. He produced 126 yards in 26 carries with two scores in the Outback Bowl in the loss to Big 10 opponent Wisconsin.
Strengths: Was a standout back in the tough SEC Conference. Patient runner who waits for blocks to develop before attacking the hole. Will duck his head and finish a run. Compact footwork gets to top speed quickly. Efficient: keeps the runs north and south. Effective spin move at the second level. Good ball security. Due to stocky frame, defenders underestimate his burst around the corner and tend to take poor angles on him. Willing blocker. A banger between tackles. A leader and was the Tigers MVP for the 2014 season.
Weaknesses: Patience sometimes turns into a lack of urgency with reads therefore his runs aren’t as effective as they could be. Thickly built but is not the hammer one would expect from a back with his build. One cut runner. Tight hips and without much wiggle in open space. Must improve in protection. Might not have enough juice to be able to threaten the edge as an NFL runner.
What they are saying about him: ESPN Draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr.: “A little bit later-round pick.” Kiper mentioned in other answers that he thinks this running back class is so deep that teams can afford to wait to take them, which could push some further down the draft in terms of selection. Kiper placed Artis-Payne among those guys.
NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks sees Auburn RB Cameron Artis-Payne as a potential bargain later in the draft. “He’s used to up-tempo and playing out of the shotgun, so his eyes would be fine in terms of finding the holes, vision-wise,” Brooks said
“Expect Artis-Payne to solidify himself as a top-100 pick.” ESPN’s Todd McShay believes Artis-Payne “could hear his name called in the middle or later rounds” (of the draft).
What the Packers See: A back who will give you all he has, but the question is that enough to bid for playing time in the NFL? Does a lot of things OK, but really doesn’t excel at anything special. Still he was highly effective against quality opposition. Not a return man in college, an area of need with the Packers. Might be worth a flyer with one of the 6th round compensatory draft picks or as a priority free agent to bolster bench strength.——————
Jeff Albrecht grew up just north of Green Bay and was lucky enough to attend some of the Lombardi Era classic games, like the 1962 championship and the Ice Bowl. Jeff went on to play HS football in the Green Bay area and College ball at UW - Stevens Point. Jeff is retired but still does some writing for his local paper. Jeff is a writer with AllGreenBayPackers.com and you can follow him on twitter at @pointerjeff .