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Justin Fargas

SELECTED BY CINCINNATI , ROUND 3, PICK 33, OVERALL PICK 96
RB | (6-0, 219, 4.38) | USC
By Pro Football Weekly

Notes: Justin's father, Antonio, is an actor, and played the role of Huggy Bear in the 1970s TV series "Starsky and Hutch." High school All-American sprinter who ran a 10.47 100-meter dash. Went to Michigan in 1998, and as a true freshman, carried 77 times for 277 yards and one touchdown, caught one pass for five yards and returned 16 kickoffs for 311 yards in 10 games, including one start. Broke his right leg (tibia and fibula) vs. Wisconsin in the 10th game that year. His knee did not heal well, and he had to have three surgeries because of it. The first surgery required the insertion of 12 screws and two titanium rods. After four months, the knee still was not healing properly, so his leg was rebroken, and two metal plates were inserted. The third surgery was done to fix tendons in his big toe that were damaged as a result of the breaks. Saw backup action as a running back and safety at Michigan in 2000 after sitting out the 1999 season to rehab. Requested the move to safety midway through the 2000 season. Had 18 carries for 85 yards, seven kickoff returns for 124 yards and 10 tackles in 2000. Came to USC in '01 but had to sit out as a transfer. Underwent a fourth surgery at USC in '01 to straighten his right big toe (a residual effect from broken legs). Had a good spring in '02 at running back, including two outstanding scrimmages. However, strained his right hamstring and missed the opener vs. Auburn. Served as backup from Games Two through Seven and vs. Notre Dame. Started five games late in the season and finished the year rushing 161-715-7, catching 8-101 and returning kickoffs 7-132. Was named second-team All-Pacific-10 and had an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl, which really improved his stock. Continued to rise at the Scouting Combine, where he ran under 4.4 in the 40, benchpressed 225 pounds 27 times and recorded a broad jump of 11 feet, five inches. Can remind you of Robert Smith with his gait, but is not the same all-everything runner. Situation is similar to that of Jets RB Curtis Martin, who wasn't highly thought of coming out of Pitt because he was always dinged up. Since then, he has been one of the most durable and productive runners in the NFL after being drafted in the third round, 74th overall, by New England in 1995.

Positives: Outstanding speed. Has a lot of upside, good initial quickness. Well-built with a "V" shape. Showed good strength and agility at the Scouting Combine. Good athletic ability. Has come on and really improved. Runs hard with vision, has some blocking ability and OK hands. Doesn't have a lot of football mileage. Good kid. Talented.

Negatives: Not durable. Immature and did not have great production. Has had a lot of injuries. Had to have right leg rebroken after four months because it wasn't healing correctly. Lacks toughness. Runs upright and narrow-based and gets crushed. Thin lower body.

Summary: Fargas showed great speed, strength and agility in the second half of the season and improved his stock more than anyone at the Combine. One team will overlook his durability questions, which must be weighed, and draft him higher than some teams expect.

* Player biographies are provided by Pro Football Weekly.