Bucs Central

Huggins The Next Willie Parker? I Think Not

Huggins being touted as the next Willie Parker

Huggins being touted as the next Willie Parker

Tampa Bay Buccaneers undrafted free agent running back Kareem Huggins, who has done little to nothing to speak of on the pro level to date, has gotten alot of radio air play this season from local Tampa area sports talk radio shows. Back in November, veteran center Jeff Faine speaking on his weekly radio show. Talked up the diminutive, yet explosive back out of Hofstra on 1010 CBS Sports Radio.

“We have a running back that’s under wraps,” said Faine. “He’s on the practice squad right now and he’s someone that’s going to be special, he really is. They can’t even afford to put him on the field right now because he’ll get snatched up.”

Huggins, 23, who stands just 5-feet-9 inches tall weighing in at barely 200 pounds was ranked by Nfldraftscout.com as the 77th best back coming out of the collegiate ranks in 2008. His blazing speed, now has Earnest Graham, a player all to familiar with the trials and tribulations of trying to make an NFL roster as an undrafted player comparing him to Willie Parker of the Steelers.

“I would compare Kareem [Huggins] to Willie Parker,” Graham said. “Huggins is a guy that’s going to hit some big plays if [the opposing defense] gets out of position. He’s a guy that’s really, really explosive. I would imagine he’s one of the fastest running backs in the NFL. Kareem ran a 4.28 coming out of college. He’s one of the fastest backs in the NFL with out a doubt and one of the more explosive guys.”

Both Parker and Huggins are similar in size, weight, timed speed and the fact that they were both undrafted. But that’s were the  comparisons should stop. Huggins was never used as a true running back in college evident by his 5 carries for 18 yards. Huggins was primarily used as a receiver and returner as his stats suggest with 119 receptions 1,377 yards with six receiving touchdowns and his combined 47 punt and kickoff returns for 589 yards.

Editors Note: With Respect to Kareem Huggins, the stats used in the post were not fact checked and cross referenced by more then one source. The correct stats for Huggins while playing for Hofstra were as follows, 428 carries for 2,188 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also had 45 receptions for 397 yards and 1 touchdown. It’s with great sincerity that on behalf of the staff here at Bucs Central that we apologize for gross negligence on the part of the writer.

Where as Parker was truly a sparingly used running back at North Carolina evident by his 285 carries for 1,172 yards and 8 touchdowns to just 21 receptions for 158 yards.

While I get players don’t spin the old hype machine without good reason. It’s ridiculous to think Huggins could burst on the scene the way Parker did in 2005. When he broke loose for 1,202 yards on 255 carries.

The deck is clearly stacked against Huggins doing the improbable. When you consider the physical rigors that running backs go through with regards to the repeated pounding there bodies take game in and game out. It’s laughable to think any player who has never had to endure such physical punishment on a regular basis would all the sudden arrive over night and be able to shake loose the way Parker did.

Does Huggins have talent? Sure he does or else he wouldn’t be in the NFL. Could he be a change of pace gadget type player down the road or as early as next season? Sure. But to insinuate, Huggins is in the same realm as Willie Parker and could quite possibly have a similar impact on Sundays is a serious disregard for the facts and a flawed train of thought. On both Faine and Graham’s part.

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