November 24, 2012; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers running back Onterio McCalebb (23) carries the ball against Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Ranzell Watkins (21) during the first quarter at Bryant Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions Draft Prospects: Onterrio McCalebb, RB, Auburn


The Detroit Lions welcomed a former teammate of Nick Fairley on a pre-draft visit at team facilities today. However, their time at Auburn is just about all the two have in common when it comes to football. Here’s the skinny:

Onterrio McCalebb, RB, Auburn
Height: 5’10″
Weight: 168 lbs.
Arm Length: 31″
Hands: 8″
40-yd Dash: 4.34 sec
Vertical Jump: 34″
Broad Jump: 121″
NFL Combine Video

McCalebb is an interesting prospect in that he has a trait that NFL teams will love (his speed) and a trait NFL teams will hate (his light build). Fortunately for McCalebb, speed is a trait that is in high demand and can be used in a lot of different ways. It sounds like some NFL teams are already getting creative in their evaluation of McCalebb ahead of the draft:

The fact the Lions are looking at McCalebb as purely an offensive player isn’t surprising considering the way they value offensive skill positions and their preference for more physical play from their corners. As a running back, what you see is what you get. Consider these weaknesses from McCalebb’s NFL.com combine profile:

Extremely frail build, especially in the legs. Doesn’t display any kind of power in between the tackles, looks to bounce the ball outside. Fails to break many tackles. Not overly sudden with open-field moves, mainly relies on speed. Not asked to block much, but struggles when he stays in to block.

What in there is surprising for a 168 pound running back? Nothing. The team that drafts him will know full-well his limitations and won’t use him to run between the tackles or as a blocker.

With the signing of Reggie Bush it would seem McCalebb wouldn’t have much of a role on offense early in his career if drafted by the Lions. However, he has four years of kick return experience while at Auburn, including a return for a touchdown in each of the last two seasons, and could be used as a replacement for Stefan Logan. On the downside, he did not return a punt during his Auburn career.

The comparison to Dexter McCluster is a good one, although McCluster was drafted with the 36th overall pick in 2010. McCalebb is much more likely to be a day three selection, if he is drafted at all.

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