LOUISVILLE KY - SEPTEMBER 04: Bilal Powell #15 of the Louisville Cardinals throws a pass during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on September 4 2010 in Louisville Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Powell, who stands at 5-10 and weighs 205 pounds, finished the 2010 season with 1,405 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Cardinals and was a first team All-Big East selection. In his four years in college, Powell has rushed for 2,338 yards for 19 touchdowns which ranks ninth all time at the school.
According to CBS' Draft Scout, Powell ranks No. 16 at the running back position in this year's draft class and is projected to fall somewhere in the fifth round.
Chad Reuter explains Powell's strengths:
Power runner with good thickness in the upper and lower bodies. Runs with good lean to get through arm tackles, or even run over smaller defenders. Jumps over would-be tacklers. Looks like a bull, and often runs like one, but can also slide through traffic inside with cuts and fair vision. Fair foot quickness for his size. Nice burst past the line if hole is evident, and strong running makes him difficult to bring down. Capable of bouncing or spinning off defenders and keeping his balance to keep moving. Will churn his legs to push pile forward. Displays a better burst than expected given his build, especially when going North-South, but is not quick enough to get the edge on his own. Adequate hands when catching passes in the flat, can turn upfield and accelerate quickly. Tough for corners to bring down one-on-one. No character concerns since arriving at Louisville.
Of his weaknesses, Reuter says that Powell gets "sideways too often" and won't be able to elude NFL defenders in the backfield and that he often runs into traffic even when an there is an open running lane. Powell also injured his hamstring during the NFL Combine and during his pro day.
The position of running back became a need when the Bengals didn't get free agent Cedric Benson re-signed before the March 4 deadline. Now the only running back on the roster in 2011 is Bernard Scott but there are questions about his ability to carry the load in a west coast offense. While the Bengals definitely aren't expected to draft a running back in the first couple rounds of the draft, they are expected to address the position in the middle or late rounds.