Lots of comparisons on this guy as a running back to Darren Sproles or Dexter McCluster. He is fast as all get out. He can run, receive and return. He also, apparently, is prone to fumbles, and got into legal trouble a few years ago for texting a potential threat to his ex-girlfriend.
Kevin Colbert just addressed the media a few moments ago and said that they were well aware of Rainey's spot of trouble, but they had a unique insight into him: Maurkice Pouncey's family.
Rainey and Pouncey attended high school together in Lakeland, Fla., and he was taken in by and lived with the Pouncey family throughout high school. Colbert said that while Maurkice vouched for him, that was to be expected because they are like brothers, it was the endorsement of Pouncey's mother that made the difference.
*Pro Football Talk calls the pick a steal.
*A detailed report about the trouble he got into.*Orlando Sentinel article about his selection.
*NFL.com predraft report: "Rainey, like his teammate Jeff Demps, is a burner. Unlike Demps, his track-speed translates to the football field, which makes him an intriguing prospect who has played various roles in Florida's offense. While not nearly as big as former teammate Percy Harvin, Rainey has been able to deliver for the Gators in a similar fashion. He uses his agility and quickness to make guys miss. He could move up into the middle rounds."
*CBS scouting report on Rainey: "An extremely versatile athlete capable of making an impact as a running back, receiver or special teams standout, Rainey emerged during his senior season to be the first Florida running back since Emmitt Smith to lead the Gators in both rushing yards (861) and receptions (31). He followed that up with an impressive week of practice at the Senior Bowl in which his playmaking skills were largely put to the test at wide receiver ... At his size, Rainey certainly isn't a workhorse candidate at the next level. Some, in fact, see his greatest potential lining up as a slot receiver in a similar role to what Percy Harvin (himself a former Florida Gator) has with the Minnesota Vikings. If utilized as a back, Rainey's soft hands and playmaking ability could intrigue teams, especially considering the impact undersized multi-purpose backs like Darren Sproles, Reggie Bush and even Dexter McCluster saw for their respective clubs in 2011.
*CBS's grade of Rainey selection: A burner with great straight-line speed who also has the agility to make things happen in the open field, Rainey had a bit of a checkered history in Gainesville but brings some speed as a third-down option to a Steelers backfield composed of big but hardly nifty runners. Grade: B.
*National Football Post analysis of Rainey pick: "The Steelers continue to impress, this time adding dynamic RB/WR Chris Rainey. He’s a slight athlete who isn’t going to be able to take the pounding of being an every-down type option. However, you can line him up all over the offense, get him the football in space and let him create in the open field. Rainey is a home-run type threat every time he gets his hands on the football and should create a ton of mismatches for the Pittsburgh offense.
*National Football Post scouting report: "Impression: He's a narrow framed athlete, but has natural running ability, keeps his pad level down and can consistently make defenders miss. Needs to add girth to give himself a chance. But if he can get up to around 190-pounds and add some strength, he certainly looks like a potential change of pace back/slot guy who can fill a number of roles at the next level."
Pro Football Weekly draft capsule:
Decent Lakeland local news interview with him: