Nebraska's Roy Helu, Jr. had a helluva career with the Huskers by the time he was done. Helu finished fourth in career rushing with 3,404 yards. His 2010 season total, 1,245 yards, was the second-best ever for a senior running back, and he set a single game rushing record of 307 yards against Missouri, scoring three touchdowns all of which were at least 53 yards.
New Era Scouting's 2011 NFL Mock Draft (see the link below) has Helu going in the fifth round to the Chicago Bears, while the SB Nation Mock Draft, conducted by SB Nation NFL sites, had him going in the fifth round to the Indianapolis Colts.
Earlier this year, SI rated Helu as the eighth-best back in the 2011 NFL Draft. Walter Football ranked him at 15th. New Era ranked him as 12th best and had this to say about him:
Helu has to fight off perceptions about the system he came from, injuries and if he has the speed, in pads, to break away from a defense. Projected round: 5th Round
To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what they mean about "the system he came from". With regards to speed, his NFL combine results should have offset any issues teams had about his speed:
Roy Helu/RB/Nebraska: Helu's stock has been rising since his solid campaign of 2010. He was able to keep the momentum going on Sunday, running faster than expected. Helu's 40s ranged in the low-4.4s and the ex-Cornhusker also looked terrific in drills.
Oh, but they include that magical phrase "in pads" to give themselves an out apparently because when Helu will be wearing pads no one else will and therefore they'll all be faster than him.
With regards to injuries - It's not that Helu suffered any debilitating injuries, but he had some injuries that kept him off the field. Earlier in his career, I believe that's because Helu hadn't figured out the real difference between "hurt" and "injured", but he appeared to work past it during his senior year and he did not miss a game.
The National Football Report has this to say about our boy Helu:
FR Draft Analysis-Helu is a north-south one cut and go runner who some feel is a product of his system. Helu is a big play capable back, ready to go the distance any time he touches the ball. While he never has been the featured back (system), we believe he can develop into a solid starter in the NFL. A still somewhat raw player Helu should be a 4th round choice in the 2011 NFL draft.
Again there's that bit about being "a product of the system", which must mean that because Nebraska is known for running the ball that Helu can't be that good? WTF?
They also say this about his blocking:
Is a poor pass blocker and gives little effort.
Which means they looked at tape of the Holiday Bowl against Washington? In all the years you watched him at Nebraska, would you have ever said this about Helu?
Our friend Bill Connelly of Rock M Nation and now Football Study Hall sees a great deal of upside in Helu:
Two backs stand out quite a bit on this list, and neither tends to rank very highly on Draft experts' lists. Both Alex Green and Roy Helu Jr. have struggled with fumbles at times, which probably hurts their stock a bit, but since fumbles simply count as zero-point carries in this system, they are possibly not punished as much as they could be. Each has their own other negative traits as well (Helu is injury-prone, and Green runs high), but their numbers are fantastic.
Character: Roy Helu has had no character issues that I'm aware of.
What to expect? Expect that Helu gets drafted on the second day, probably in the fourth or fifth round to a team you utterly despise. You'll be conflicted, but you decide to draft him in your fantasy football league just so you can cheer for him and not the team he's playing for.
The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's 2011 NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.
New Era Scouting has released their 2011 NFL Draft Guide, which you can download here (It's a PDF).