Category: Running Back

RB Travis Homer, Miami (FL)*

5’10” – 201 lbs. – 4.48

Played sparingly, predominantly in a special-teams capacity as a true freshman, then started the final nine of thirteen games played as a sophomore, posting 163-966-8. Was the full-time starter as a junior, enjoying a similar season of 164-985-4 before declaring for the draft. Team captain who’s a little bit smaller than your typical running back, although he has a muscular build. Did a lot of his work out of shotgun and pistol formations, mostly on attempts between the tackles. Despite explosive athletic testing at the Combine (39.5” vertical, 10’10” broad jump), doesn’t appear to have elite burst or speed on tape. However, does bring a tough approach to the position, with the ability to get behind his pads and fight for additional yardage after contact. Able to lower the shoulder and run over defensive backs in one-on-one situations. Demonstrates pretty good leg drive to push the pile once engaged. Needs some time to get going before his power kicks in; can be stopped near the line of scrimmage before he builds up momentum and wasn’t an automatic converter in short-yardage situations during the games reviewed. Can struggle to win the edge when faced with congestion or when running off-tackle, although he has pretty clean footwork when making cuts to bounce outside. Considered together with his smaller frame, style of running might cause him to absorb a lot of punishment/wear and tear. Ball security has been an issue; fumbled six times on just over 370 career touches, including four times on just over 180 touches this past season. Not afraid to stick his nose in as a blocker, and was often retained in pass protection rather than being sent out on a route. Doesn’t always get the best extension with his arms, but throws some physical chip blocks to buy time for his quarterback. Demonstrates solid lateral quickness to mirror once engaged. Wasn’t integrated that heavily into the team’s plans as a receiving option, most commonly running some releases into the flats off of play action, or catching screens. Does appear to have solid hands and is the type of runner you’d like to isolate against opposing corners. Plays the game with the type of toughness and physicality teams look for, but his smaller frame, lack of elite burst, and ball-security issues may relegate him to being more of a late-round pick or undrafted free agent. Past experience working on special-teams coverage units may help his cause.

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RB Tony Pollard, Memphis*

6’0” – 210 lbs. – 4.52

Hybrid running back and wide receiver who also served as a dangerous return specialist. Redshirted, then received a total of sixty touches the following year, split almost evenly between rushing attempts and receptions. Had another sixty-six touches the following year, then rushed 78-552-6 and caught 39-458-3 in his junior campaign before declaring for the draft. Also returned a total of seven kick returns for touchdowns over the past three years. Lines up all over the formation; plays quarterback in the wild cat, runs out of the backfield, and takes snaps from the slot. Despite his success returning kicks, overall speed and burst are just good, not great. Does have enough juice to beat opposing defenders to the edge and get himself into space against smaller opponents; most of his runs were off-tackle. Smooth accelerator and overall mover who combines pretty good vision with solid cutting ability, allowing him to weave through traffic. Not the most powerful back, playing a little bit smaller than his listed size, but is capable of running through arm tackles when he gets going and doesn’t shy away from contact. Has pretty good ball security, with just three career fumbles on over three hundred touches, all of which came in his redshirt freshman season. Gives solid effort as the lead blocker in two-back sets, including out of the wildcat. Willing to get physical with opponents and does a good job of using his athleticism to successfully line up and engage opposing defenders in space. More competitive than powerful but still managed solid results during the games reviewed, a holding call negating a touchdown in the UCF game notwithstanding. As a receiver, caught a lot of tunnel screens and other shorter patterns: hitches, slants, etc. Was mostly used as a stalk blocker and decoy from the slot. Route running is a little bit rough at this point, looking like a back rather than a true receiver. Struggles to make adjustments to poorly-thrown balls, with two passes hitting his hands and falling incomplete in the Houston game. Was also retained in pass protection and is willing to get physical but needs to use his arms more instead of throwing chips. A fun gadget player who comes solid size and athleticism with dangerous ability as a return specialist, those traits should be enough to get him drafted, even if he’s not quite a master of either carrying or catching the ball on offense.

RB Jordan Scarlett, Florida*

5’11” – 208 lbs. – 4.47
Started eight of thirteen games as a true freshman, leading the team in rushing with a line of 179-889-6. Was suspended for his entire sophomore season after allegedly participating in a credit card fraud scam, then came back to start for the team once again, posting 131-776-5. Declared for the draft following the season. Has a pretty solid build for a modern running back. Despite running well at the Combine, is not the fastest or most explosive runner, but offers an impressive combination of flexibility, balance, elusiveness, and tackle-breaking ability. Demonstrated the ability to make something out of nothing, slithering out of the grasp of opposing defenders and bouncing runs outside for a few yards where a loss previously seemed all but certain. Able to juke and stutter-step his way past defenders in one-on-one situations when he gets to the edge. More of a chunk runner than someone who’s going to hit home runs, and despite being able to slip out of more than his fair share of tackles, can’t really be considered a power back either; survives rather than punishing opponents with a low pad level, and most of his better runs came off-tackle, either by design or by necessity. Ball security is solid, with just two career fumbles on just under 360 total touches. Struggled as a receiver during the games reviewed, letting a few passes slip through his grasp. Caught just fifteen passes over the course of his career, ten of which came this past season. Would line up on the outside as a receiver at times, but that tended to be just window dressing rather than an indicator of high-quality receiving ability. Showed more as a blocker, with a good level of physicality to take on opponents in blitz pickup or when leading the way on a rushing play. Does a good job of staying on his feet and knocking opponents off-balance with powerful shoves/chip blocks. A prospect who proved that he could produce at the SEC level over two seasons as a starting back, his size, speed, and power are nothing special, but he has a pretty interesting combination of tools which allow him to produce on the ground. Lack of value as a receiving back and season-long suspension in 2017 may relegate him to being more of a late-round pick or even undrafted free agent.

RB Jalin Moore, Appalachian St.

5’10” – 212 lbs. – N/A
Redshirted, then finished second on the team in rushing with a line of 99-731-5. Ended up starting seven games as an injury replacement the following year, enjoying his most productive season: 237-1,402-10. Had a similar if somewhat less voluminous junior year (183-1,037-12), then was limited to just 63-400-6 over five games this past year, breaking and dislocating his ankle in early October. Looks a little bit thinner than his Combine weight on tape, although he was able to handle a heavy load in 2016 and 2017. Most of his carries come out of the shotgun on a combination of dives and off-tackle runs; demonstrates good burst through the hole, as well as the ability to squeeze through tight holes for yardage. Some ability to escape and bounce runs outside when there’s too much congestion on the line; not a battering ram who’s going to bulldoze opposing defenders between the tackles. More likely to try and bounce runs outside, demonstrating an effective stiff-arm when moving laterally but struggling with balance and ending up being tripped up by too many arm-tackles. Has some elusiveness when he gets into the open field, using stutter-steps to freeze opponents and create opportunities for himself. Good but not great speed in the open field. Has solid ball security, with just three fumbles on over six hundred career touches. Tended to stay on the field on passing downs, but wasn’t used heavily as a receiving option (twenty-three career catches). Shows good competitiveness and lateral quickness in blitz pickup, as well as a willingness to stick his nose in and engage opposing pass-rushers from his feet; however, would be well-served by using his arms more consistently, exhibiting a tendency to throw his torso at opponents, sometimes with a lowered head. Made some delayed releases or ran swing patterns out of the backfield; dropped one pass against Penn St. this past season during the games reviewed, although he has the type of short-area quickness to potentially try and get the ball in space. Season-ending ankle injury will likely affect his draft stock, especially given that he was unable to work out at the Combine. Might be more of a late-round pick at this point, but has enough quickness, athleticism, and competitiveness as a blocker that he might eventually be able to work his way into a running-back rotation.

RB Devine Ozigbo, Nebraska

6’0” – 230 lbs. – N/A
Carried the ball 38-209-1 as a freshman, then dealt with an ankle injury as a sophomore en route to 97-412-5. Had a junior year of 129-493-3 and then finished as the team’s leading rusher in 2018, with a line of 155-1,082-12, his yards-per-carry nearly doubling. Very big, thickly-built running back on the borderline between a running back and fullback size-wise. Has the type of running style his size would suggest; the type of back who can rumble up for a few yards, with the leg drive to push the pile and pick up yards after contact, finishing his runs by falling forwards. Knows when to put his head down, get behind his pads, and barrel ahead for a few sure yards instead of trying to hit home-runs. Also demonstrates the vision and footwork to shuffle and locate holes to run through, working in a powerful stiff-arm when he runs off-tackle. Not the fastest or most explosive runner, but can be a handful to bring down, especially when he reaches the edge and can get one-on-one matchups with linebackers and defensive backs. Needs to gather to cut in the open field and sometimes struggles to maintain his balance through ankle tackles, but also flashes the ability to use effective back-jukes to make defenders miss near the line of scrimmage. Has pretty solid ball security, with only four fumbles on nearly 460 career touches. Often stayed on the field on passing downs, but wasn’t integrated too heavily into the game as a receiving back; did play some wide receiver in high school, but usage at the college level was limited to your typical swing passes and releases into the flats as a relatively little-used safety valve. Looks like he offers more as a blocker, where his size, strength, and competitiveness allow him to mix it up with defenders, delivering effective chip blocks to buy time. Could use his arms more consistently but already looked like a pretty valuable asset in blitz pickup even without the most technically-sound approach. Struggled to produce prior to this past season, but finally managed to put it together and enjoyed a successful season which should put him on the radar of pro teams seeking a power back for a rotation. The fact that he wasn’t invited to the Combine suggests that he may be more of a late-round option.

RB Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M*

5’8” – 206 lbs. – 4.51
Has been a major contributor since he first arrived at Texas A&M, rushing for 156-1,057-8 as a freshman. Was named a team captain the following season but saw his production dip to 173-798-8. Served as the workhorse in 2018 and went 271-1,760-18 in a breakout campaign. Has a squat build with good bulk for a short runner; proved he could handle the load this past season, serving as the focal point of his team’s offense. Carried the ball from singleback, I-formation and (most frequently) out of the shotgun during the games reviewed. Lacks elite burst but is a decisive runner who gets behind his pads and barrels forward for a few yards a pop. Capable of generating forward momentum and driving his legs for yards after the initial contact. Does a good job of minimizing negative-yardage plays. Demonstrates good vision and footwork to recognize and slide into cutback lanes. Has build-up speed to hit home runs when he finds a clear lane. Capable of making the first man miss when he gets into space, although he turned in a dreadful 7.44 cone drill at the Combine. Works in spins and stiff-arms to break tackles in one-on-one situations. Pretty good ball security; fumbled seven times in 666 career touches on offense. Stayed on the field on passing downs and is one of this year’s better backs in blitz pickup. Physical in pass protection; not afraid to stick his nose in and deliver some good chip blocks or engage opposing pass-rushers from his feet. Also served as the lead blocker in some split-back sets, demonstrating the ability to successfully engage opponents while on the move, frequently executing cut blocks. Was also a pretty productive receiver in college, albeit primarily on delayed releases or your typical swing/screen passes; caught twenty-seven balls this past year. Flashes the ability to bring in throws away from his frame. Also did some work as a return specialist throughout his career. One of the most reliable, well-rounded backs in the class, he may lack elite size and explosiveness but is a pretty powerful, no-nonsense runner with vision, offering consistent gains between the tackles and contributing on passing downs as a physical blocker and solid receiver. Has a little bit more tread on his tires than some of the other backs in the class, but in accumulating it proved that he was capable of producing against SEC defenses as a feature back.

RB Ryquell Armstead, Temple

5’11” – 220 lbs. – 4.45
Ran the ball 51 times as a freshman, then stepped into a major offensive role the following year with 156-919-14 on the ground. Saw his production dip to 156-604-5 as a junior, then rebounded and went 210-1,098-13 as a senior to conclude his career, appearing in ten games but missing all but one game in October and everything after November. Very well-built for a pro running back. Had a pretty simple role in college; took a lot of his carries on dives out of the shotgun, where he demonstrates impressive burst and vision, with a decisive running style that allows him to pick up a handful of yards a pop. Has the type of speed to hit home-runs when he’s able to find a lane. Not quite as powerful as you’d expect given his size but does a good job of finishing his runs by falling forward for additional yardage and flashes the ability to run through arm tackles, especially when he’s in the open field. Good competitiveness, keeping his legs going after contact although he doesn’t quite have the lower body strength to push the pile on a consistent basis. Not the most elusive back; straightforward type who makes the occasional cut in the backfield but typically gets upfield as quickly as possible and minimizes negative-yardage plays. Can also find ways to bounce runs outside when presented with a logjam between the tackles, picking up a few yards at a time. Pretty good ball security, with six fumbles on just over six hundred career touches. Wasn’t targeted much in the passing game, although his usage was pretty interesting; would often take snaps out of the slot and run patterns downfield, although he caught just twenty-nine passes over the course of his collegiate career, including eight as a senior. Still has a ways to go as a blocker as well. Was called on to lead the way as a run-blocker at times and although he demonstrates good competitiveness and toughness, tends to be more of a torpedo than someone who engages opponents with technique. Also wasn’t retained in pass protection too frequently, although he has the type of frame to potentially be able to work in blitz pickup. Dealt with injuries last year but offers the type of size, vision, burst, and speed to provide value carrying the ball at the pro level. Looks like he’d be worth mid-round consideration as a pure runner in a running back rotation which also includes a passing-down back.

RB Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma*

6’0” – 224 lbs. – N/A
Appeared in two games as a true freshman, sustaining a season-ending broken leg after just one carry. Ended up getting a medical redshirt the following year after sustaining a neck injury, then stepped into a major role the following season and put together an impressive 188-1,161-13 line on the ground, adding five receiving touchdowns. Didn’t get a chance to capitalize on that campaign after sustaining a torn ACL eleven carries into his redshirt junior year, but decided to declare for the draft anyway. One of the bigger backs in the class, and one of the most explosive as well. Was always a threat to break big runs at the college level. Makes sharp cuts as a one-cut runner, stretching the play out and getting upfield when he found a hole. Has the speed to make it to the edge and pick up big chunks of yardage, or can explode through holes between the tackles and hit home runs. Very smooth athlete in the open field, with the ability to weave through traffic once he gets to the second level. Capable of using stutter-steps to freeze the occasional defender in the hole, or slip through an arm tackle. For a player with his size, isn’t the most powerful runner, though; tended to get stood up when he was hit near the line of scrimmage, needing to get a full head of steam going before he was able to run through tackles. Does show the ability to lower the shoulder and pick up a few yards after contact once he’s at the second level. Also a capable receiver. Didn’t catch many balls in college, but would take some snaps split out wide and flashes the tracking ability, body control, and ball skills to come down with some impressive grabs (see game against Texas Christian in 2017). Could also run go routes from the backfield and threaten linebackers. Could be a little bit more fundamentally sound in pass protection or when functioning as a lead blocker in the run game; shows a willingness to engage opponents from his feet, but doesn’t always get extension and frame up opponents successfully. Ultimately a prospect whose stock will depend almost exclusively on the results of his Combine medicals; has the size, speed, explosiveness, and quickness to threaten defenses, but was only able to stay healthy for one season, suffering major injuries in each of the other three years he spent with the Sooners.

RB Myles Gaskin, Washington

5’9” – 205 lbs. – 4.58
Has been remarkably consistent over the course of his career, making major contributions in all four seasons with the Huskies and handling a similar workload in each. Ran for 227-1,302-14 as a freshman, 237-1,373-10 as a sophomore, 222-1,380-21 as a junior, and 259-1,268-12 as a senior. Also caught sixty-five passes over the four years. On the small side for a pro running back, although he has proven his ability to handle a heavy workload over the past four seasons. Runs with a sense of urgency. Has good vision to find lanes and the footwork to make cuts and slide himself into rushing lanes; good eye for opportunities to bounce runs outside. Demonstrates the burst in the hole to pick up yardage running between the tackles. Has the raw speed to beat defenders to the edge and pick up chunks of yardage in the open field. Impressive stutter-steps and jump-cuts to make defenders miss or get himself into the open. Struggles to break tackles, but runs hard and does a good job of finishing his runs by pinballing off of opponents and falling forward. Can occasionally make it through arm tackles when he has a head of steam. Only four fumbles in four years. Lined up all over as a receiver; often takes snaps split out or in the slot as more of a traditional wideout. Also made available as a checkdown on delayed releases or swings into the flats. However, wasn’t really a major element of the team’s passing game, tending to be thrown the occasional swing pass to try and get him in one-on-one situations in space. Has the lateral quickness to slide, but struggles to absorb contact as a blocker, getting knocked off of his spots because of his overall lack of bulk/lower body strength. More concerning, sometimes appears content to make a perfunctory effort in that area, letting too many edge rushers get a clear path to the passer. Has a tendency to lower his head or engage without using his arms, leading opponents to work past him easily. Would like to see a grittier approach to his responsibilities there, something more commensurate with the type of intensity he exhibits as a runner. After watching another manic, undersized Pac-12 runner succeed last year in Philip Lindsey, there might be a considerable market for the services of a player like Gaskin, especially given his four years of impressive production at Washington. Working against him are his size, the significant amount of tread he’s accumulated, and his relative lack of value as a blocker.

RB Miles Sanders, Penn St.*

5’11” – 211 lbs. – 4.49
Played sparingly on offense in his first two seasons with the Nittany Lions, filling in behind Saquon Barkley and posting lines of 25-184-1 as a freshman and 31-191-2 as a sophomore, also returning kicks in his first year with the team. Took over the starting role this past season and went 220-1,274-9 rushing with another 24 receptions before declaring for the draft. A pretty well-built runner who proved he can carry the load this past season. Did most of his work out of the shotgun, with a balance of north-south and east-west attempts. More of a patient runner than an explosive one; does a good job of letting his blocks develop and sliding to find rushing lanes. Has enough lateral quickness to bounce runs outside, or make cutbacks to get upfield. Shifty back with nice footwork in the backfield and the ability to make defenders miss in one-on-one situations; very impressive jump-cuts and overall balance. Not the most powerful runner but does a good job of getting low into contact and can run through some arm tackles. Works in a stiff-arm when he gets into the defensive backfield. Has serious fumbling problems, having coughed up the ball ten times over the past three years, including five fumbles as a junior. Not quite as valuable on passing downs as he is in the running game. Blocking leaves something to be desired; seems a little bit slow to process and finds himself out of position too often, struggling to square up and engage. Does give good effort and demonstrates the ability to engage from his feet, although he has a tendency to throw his body at opponents instead of using his arms. Also has some experience leading the way as a run blocker on sweeps. Appears to have pretty reliable hands but was limited to releasing into the flats and catching swing passes or throws off of delayed releases, with less than six yards per catch this past season. Lined up in the slot on rare occasions; looks like it would be worth trying to get him in one-on-one matchups against opposing linebackers and cornerbacks. A runner with impressive pure running skills, mixing vision, footwork, and elusiveness, but who has issues with ball security which he’ll need to clean up in order to stay out of the doghouse at the next level. Seemingly on the fringe between the second and third days of the draft.