With RBs, most scouts look for one thing: Breakaway speed. Can the guy outrun an entire defense in the open field? Excelling in this can get you very rich, very quick. Just ask Reggie Bush, a crappy RB who made his reputation outrunning college-level talent only to find that, in the pros, you actually have to work for a living. IMHO, breakaway speed is over-rated. Yes, a player has to have quickness and speed, but blazing speed is not the #1 thing a running back needs. In reality, a back must possess the ability to break tackles and run decisively. Unless your name is Barry Sanders, "dancing" running backs are dead ducks in the modern NFL. LBers, DBs, and even some d-linemen are too fast these days. Joseph Addai and Edgerrin James are examples of great backs who lack breakaway speed. Oh sure, Addai can run with the best of them (4.42 40 time), but we have yet to see him break a 50 or 60 yards TD run ala LT or Larry Johnson. But what Addai does have is an insanely accurate ability to always gain yards. Even when the line is blocking like crap, he can still gain yards. Like Addai, Parmele has this ability as well:
NFL Draft Countdown thinks Parmele's strengths are more in short yardage. His 5'11, 225 pound frame is a load to bring down, especially his he is running downhill. Parmele is also a solid blocker. He engages well, but his weakness is sustaining the block. Parmele also has a bit of trouble catching the football:
There are definitely scenarios possible that could involve both Chris Johnson and Matt Forte getting drafted before Indy's second round pick. If that happens, and it might, Parmele offers a good option late in the draft, or possibly in rookie free agency. He would add depth to the RB spot as well as depth to special teams. Parmele offers skills as a kick returner, and could prove valuable as a gunner covering kicks and punts. Like Dom Rhodes, Parmele could be one of those diamonds GMs look for in later rounds. It's likely why ScoutNFLExperts.com named him to their All Sleeper Offensive Team:
Weaknesses: He's not a game breaker and isn't an elusive runner in the open field. He's not a shifty runner and takes a lot of big hits. He has to work on his hands and become a consistent receiving threat out of the backfield.
Overview: Parmele has been a consistent performer over the last two seasons and has averaged 5.5 YPC over that span. He emerged on the scene as a junior in 2006, after two seasons of situational work, and had 207 carries for 1,131 yards and eight touchdowns. This past year, Parmele exploded for 1,511 yards on 276 carries and 14 touchdowns. Parmele, who measured in at 6-feet, 224 pounds at the Scouting Combine, performed well in front of scouts. He ran a better than anticipated 4.47 in the 40-yard dash and showed a solid burst during shuttle and 3-cone drills. He also demonstrated his athleticism with a 34-inch vertical and a 10'5" broad jump. He only managed to put up 225 pounds 19 times in Indianapolis, but that doesn't measure his powerful running style on the field. At his Pro Day, Parmele surpassed his vertical jump from the Combine with a 41.5-inch effort. Parmele is an excellent option for a team looking for a late-round sleeper with the potential to develop into a starting RB at the next level.
Draft Projection: Sixth - Seventh Round