Another installment of rookie running back Jeremy Hill's diary:
As a professional in any field, you want to be familiar with the guys in the same position, guys that do the same thing you do. I think I do a great job of studying other running backs. This is a copycat league and if I can take something somebody is using to be successful, I'll do it.
I watch running backs from every era. I love watching the highlights of the Jim Browns of the world. I watch the replays of their games whenever the classics are on ESPN or NFL Network with guys like Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, and Eric Dickerson. Not the game film, but the TV copies, but I'd love to get a copy of their game film and watch guys like Jim Brown and Gale Sayers.
Rudi Johnson was the running back for the Bengals when I started following it in high school and studying it and started to understand blocking schemes and defenses. That was back in high school.
I watched Bengals games when Corey Dillon played, right before Rudi got there. I guess you can say I'm built a little bit like him. He ran physical and he ran hard. He ran hard the whole game. He didn't find an occasion where guys got good licks on him. He was finishing with his pads down.
Rudi is similar to Dillon. I think Rudi broke a lot of tackles. He was a bigger guy that ran physical. He had sneaky, deceptive speed. When he broke it, you had to get on your horse because he could break the 50-, 60-yarders.
But probably the Bengals running back I'm most familiar with is Cedric Benson because I followed him in college, too, and I have seen game film on him. I think I'm similar to all those guys. What I'm trying evolve into is an all-around back, so I'm taking the best traits of everyone.
There are two guys playing now that I look to emulate because I think we have similar styles. I like Matt Forte and Arian Foster, mainly because of their ability to run the zone scheme. They're two of the best zone runners I've seen in the league. Just their ability to cut back and to press the line of scrimmage. They're probably two of the best pass-blocking backs in the game and catching the ball out of the backfield. Maybe the guy I'm really looking at is Foster. He gets the yards after contact and he's got deceptive speed.
The best running back in the NFL? You can't go wrong with Adrian Peterson, but LeSean McCoy isn't too far behind. It depends what you want. If you're looking for a shifty guy, it's LeSean. If you're looking for the best runner, it's AP.
My favorite of all-time is Walter even though he retired after the 1987 season, almost five years before I was born. Eric was smooth and made it look so easy, but I just love Walter's game. He's got the best feet of any back I've ever watched. With that power and speed he used at the same time, I think he goes unmatched. Probably the closest one to him is Adrian Peterson, but you really can't make that comparison until Adrian is finished.
I'm fascinated with guys' ability to attack defenses with different running styles and how they make tacklers miss them. That's something that attracts my attention. I'll try to take as much of it as I can.