RB TRE MASON, AUBURN*

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5’10” – 205 lbs. – 4.50e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2011: 28 – 161 – 1 (5.8)
2012: 171 – 1,002 – 8 (5.9)
2013: 317 – 1,816 – 23 (5.7)

OVERVIEW:

Worked primarily as Auburn’s kick returner as a freshman in 2011, playing sparingly on offense. Started six games in the following season, leading the team in rushing. Took over as the team’s full-time starter in 2013, earning all-conference first-team honors.

POSITIVES:

•    Was a highly-productive starter last year who also made major contributions in 2012.
•    Smooth runner who makes nice cuts, helps compensate for his lack of elite long speed.
•    Pretty agile, can avoid the first tackler with a juke in order to make it into the open field.
•    Also possesses impressive balance, can navigate in confined spaces through contact.
•    Solid vision, can find the crease inside if it presents itself, could fit in a zone scheme.
•    Does a nice job of consistently falling forward at the end of his runs for extra yardage.
•    Wasn’t caught in the backfield very often, will bring it upfield rather than bounce it out.
•    Difficult to arm-tackle, has more power than expected from a 205-pound running back.
•    Uses the stiff-arm effectively when he gets into the open to gain separation from DBs.
•    Can get out to the sideline but is comfortable running between the tackles when he can.
•    Also enjoyed success as a kick returner, especially during his freshman year of college.

NEGATIVES:

•    A bit smaller than you’d like from a workhorse in the pros, may need to add ten pounds.
•    Not a true burner, fast enough to break big gains but can be chased down from behind.
•    More likely to fall forwards when tackled than to lower the shoulder, run over defenders.
•    Tends to run into his blockers more often than most, effectively stopping his progress.
•    Uses a stutter step with some regularity before hitting the line rather than using burst.
•    Hasn’t been utilized very much as either a receiver or blocker due to Auburn’s scheme.
•    When he does block, doesn’t look powerful in lower body, gets knocked off-balance.

SUMMARY:

Mason is a candidate to be among the top two or three backs selected in this draft, based on the success he enjoyed as a junior at Auburn. A smooth runner with sound vision who can create some room for himself with his juke, Mason also runs with more power than typical for a 205-pound runner, breaking arm tackles and generally falling forward at the end of his runs for some extra yardage, combining the ability to avoid negative runs with the occasional big play. Whether or not he projects as an every-down back is difficult to assess given the offense he played in, which rarely asked him to catch a pass or work in blitz pickup, although on the few occasions where he did the latter, he did not absorb contact well. Teams will also have to translate his average bulk and speed to the next level, although having enjoyed an outstanding season in the SEC should help. Aside from the likely development he needs before working in the passing game, teams may also want to address Mason’s tendency to stutter-step before hitting the line. A potential starter.

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