2016 NFL RB Prospects Part II

By John Laub

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

6. C.J. Prosise, Notre Dame

Played safety, receiver and special teams first three seasons on campus: In 2014, Special Teams Player of the Year. Before last season’s kickoff, an invisible prospect among most scouts. Prior to last summer, never played running back and third-stringer at beginning of season. Injuries opened door in the backfield. Monstrous two-game stretch to begin campaign as lead horse: Combined for 353 yards rushing and four touchdowns against Virginia and Georgia Tech. Finished the campaign with over 1,000 yards rushing on only 157 carries (6.6 yards per carry) and 12 touchdowns. A smooth athlete who rambles with natural vision, balance, patience and aptitude. A gliding running style with open-field instincts. Makes successful reads and cuts effortlessly. Good strength and employs a stiff-arm. A hard worker and tough to tackle. Absorbs contact and keeps moving forward. Good lower body strength and slips through defenders grasp. Experienced route-runner and pass catcher: Soft hands and long arms enables difficult catches. Recorded nearly 1,000 career receiving yards while averaging 14.5 yards per catch. An inspiring Combine revealed overall athletic facility and foretold professional upside. More finesse than physical despite good size at 6’0” and 220 lbs. Only 167 career carries and occasionally makes incorrect read. When approaching a crowd at the line of scrimmage, trepidation ensues and bounces plays to perimeter. Dances when tacklers are in the lane and can be indecisive. Despite size, not a short-yardage specialist or physical pass blocker. A one-speed ball carrier. Scarcity in the nuances of the position. Without question, the athletic ability will entice a team to draft the inexperienced ball carrier. A good coaching staff will need to be patient and wait for the talent to blossom down the road.

 

 

RB C.J. Prosise

 

Key Career Stats

Yards per Carry: 6.9

Receptions: 62

Breakaway Ability

40-yard Dash: 4.48

3-Cone Drill: n/a

Draft Potential: Second round

 

7. Jordan Howard, Indiana

Early junior entrant who earned First Team All-Big Ten. As a sophomore in 2014, conquered Conference USA opponents with 1,587 yards and 13 touchdowns. Transferred from UAB and excelled during only season at Bloomington, rushing for 1,213 yards and scoring 10 times. Subdued Michigan, a dominant run defense, with 238 yards rushing on 35 carries and hit Paydirt three times. At 6’0” and 230 lbs., even distribution of weight on frame. A physical ball carrier who is not deterred by arm tackles. Strings together moves and weaves through traffic. Power generated by splendid body lean, tremendous technique and laudable leverage: Shoulders, hips and legs in alignment when lowering pads and delivering a blow. Good vision and feel for run lanes with subtle shiftiness. A decisive grinder who charges north-south after planning foot. Gets skinny in a horde and reaches daylight. Made the most of limited opportunities to catch passes: Good screen runner. Seeks contact and drives legs through defenders. A one-speed sprinter without a second gear. At times, waits too long reading blocks instead of heading up field. Minus the one-cut ability of elite backs in the NFL. Not efficient on plays to the boundary. Runs with a high pad level at times. Durability concerns after missing games with knee and ankle injuries.  An underrated competitor who will be ranked differently on each team’s draft boards. 

Key Career Stats

Yards per Carry: 5.7

Receptions: 24

Breakaway Ability

40-yard Dash: 4.50 (Pro Day Results)

20-yard shuttle: 4.34 (Pro Day Results)

Draft Potential: Third round

 

8. Jonathan Williams, Arkansas

In 2015, suffered a foot injury mid-August and missed the entire season. Several screws inserted into left foot—removed in late November—to repair ligaments. Very good junior campaign: Rushed for 1,190 yards and scored 12 touchdowns despite sharing time with Alex Collins in the backfield. Named to the AP All-SEC second team. NFL size at 5’11” and 220 lbs. Densely built with lax hips and light feet. Powerful ball carrier who crashes through arm tackles. A slasher with nice lateral burst and turns up field rapidly. Good balance and follows blockers. Spins and dips to escape from adversaries. Short-yardage banger and relishes the challenge. Resourceful in traffic and finds creases in the hole. Can change direction well and seeks daylight at the second level. Three-down back with soft hands and willing pass blocker. Limited during Senior Bowl practices and did not partake in any full-contact drills. However, reports overall were positive regarding recovery. Needs to be more decisive making cuts. Played behind a massive O-line at Arkansas and did not have to get skinny. Must press the inside gaps and not bounce outside. Runs upright and fails to lower pads before contact. Non-existent second gear in the open field. Did not log many carries and enters the league with limited wear and tear. Could be a steal on third day of the Draft. 

Key Career Stats

Yards per Carry: 5.7

Receptions: 26

Breakaway Ability

40-yard Dash: n/a

3-Cone Drill: n/a

Draft Potential: Third round 

 

9. Devontae Booker, Utah

Redshirt senior who will be 24-years old on opening day. A one-cut and go courier with good size: 5’10” and 219 lbs. Makes sharp and quick cuts. Sees an opening and exploits it. Patient and uses eyes to read blocks. Hides behind blockers and decisive when opening widens. Finishes runs strongly: Rarely tacked on first contact. Fantastic field awareness, quickness and agility. Combination of elite vision and tremendous cut-back ability formulates a great fit in a zone-blocking scheme. Balance and shiftiness to navigate a crowd. Excels in short yardage and on the goal line. Very impressive football intelligence. Workhorse who averaged over 30 touches a game. Churns legs until play is over. A multi-talented back, who can be employed in many different ways. Radiant receiver out of the backfield: Sure hands and explodes after the catch. Only senior prospect from power-five conferences with over 1,000 yards rushing. Torn meniscus ended last season on campus: First major injury of career. Some clubs will be scared off by injury. In order to gain extra yardage, can be careless with football. Poorly secures the leather: Fumbled nine times in 23 games. If technique doesn’t improve, defenders will strip the ball from arms. Not a home run hitter at the next level, lacking breakaway speed. Limited pass-blocking skills. When hitting blitzers, marginalized base. Remind scouts of former Raven Ray Rice. In a zone blocking system like Denver’s, could be a big-time performer at the next level.

Key Career Stats

Yards per Carry: 5.0

Receptions: 80

Breakaway Ability

40-yard Dash: n/a

3-Cone Drill: n/a

Draft Potential: Third-day prospect

 

 

RB Tyler Ervin

 

10. Tyler Ervin, San Jose State

Diehard draftniks began to notice the dynamic Spartan early in the 2015 campaign. One of the most versatile players in college: Played running back, slot receiver and return specialist. Scored touchdowns rushing, receiving and returning a punt and kick. Team Captain and Most Valuable Player as well as First-team All-Mountain West last year. Third most touches in the nation with 371. Against Fresno State, totaled a FBS single-game best 300 yards rushing and averaged 188 all-purpose yards per game, only eclipsed by Christian McCaffrey in 2015. Holds school records for all-purpose yards (6,146) and touchdowns over 80 yards (6). Small and lean frame at 5’10” and 192 lbs. Despite lack of size, a workhorse and fearless runner. Good patience and darts in-and-out of running lanes. A smooth and shifty ball carrier who cuts off linemen’ location and blocks. Can be employed in a zone or gap concept. In open space, ability to make tacklers whiff. Favorable matchup against linebackers in space. Smooth sprinter with good balance. Fights after contact. Fast reaction speed to wiggle out of defenders’ grasp. Despite a number of receptions, not a natural pass catcher. A high-knee and long-legged runner. Easily tackled and thin frame not conducive for a ton of punishment. Lacks ankle-breaking, one-cut ability and lower body strength. Essential to work on pass protection. An intriguing prospect who could become a Darren Sproles clone as a professional: Saints, 49ers and Chiefs would be a perfect landing spot. 

Key Career Stats

Yards per Carry: 5.3

Receptions: 87

Breakaway Ability

40-yard Dash: 4.41

3-Cone Drill: n/a

Draft Potential: Third-day prospect

 

11. Keith Marshall, Georgia

One half of the dynamic “Gurshall” duo that committed to Georgia four years ago: 2015 NFL Rookie of the Year Todd Gurley the other star. In 2012, the two freshmen combined for 2,141 yards and 25 touchdowns. Unfortunately, Marshall’s career derailed when he suffered a season ending ACL injury the following crusade and played in only three games in 2014. Kicked off the final campaign on campus as third string behind Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Looked healthy in limited opportunities last year: Only 68 carries for 350 yards rushing and three touchdowns. A potential workhorse back at 5’11” and 219 lbs. Stupendous vision supplements one-cut ability: Plants foot and bursts quickly up field. Attacks the hole and opponents without fear. Squeezes through congestion with proficient footwork and lateral burst. At the Combine, logged a blazing forty and lifted an astonishing 25 reps on the bench press—first among tailbacks—and generated social media attention. Stringent medical exams bequeathed encouraging news on past injuries. Elite vision and speed foretell a possible home run hitter at the next stage of career. Registered the fastest 40-yard dash among Combine participants, and executives scrambled to review their reports on the former Bulldog. A lottery ticket in the final round of the Draft in April.

Key Career Stats

Yards per Carry: 5.5

Receptions: 24

Breakaway Ability

40-yard Dash: 4.31

3-Cone Drill: n/a

Draft Potential: Third-day prospect

 

12. Daniel Lasco, California

Redshirt senior who was named team MVP after an outstanding junior campaign: Rushed for 1,115 yards, snatched 33 passes and scored 14 times. Disappointing final season on campus after suffering hip strain and ankle injury. Only carried the ball 65 times. Invited to the East-West Shrine game. Excellent competitor throughout the weekly practices and leading rusher in the contest with 62 yards on six carries. NFL body at 6’0” and 209 lbs. Very good burst and vision. Stupendous speed. Accelerates quickly and shifty in the open field. A slasher who plants foot and quickly heads north-south. Not afraid to lower shoulders into an opponent. Relentless player who packs a punch: Falls forward and pushes pile. Versatile athlete and good pass catcher. Willing pass protector and bruiser mentality. Very impressive Combine performance: Logged top scores in 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump and 60-yard shuttle. Eye-opening Pro Day in March. Occasionally, looks to jump outside instead of punching it through the designed hole. Appears recovered from injuries last season. Quickly moving up Draft boards across the league. 

Key Career Stats

Yards per Carry: 5.4

Receptions: 48

Breakaway Ability

40-yard Dash: 4.46

3-Cone Drill: 6.80 (Pro Day Results)

20-yard shuttle: 4.13 (Pro Day Results)

Draft Potential: Third-day prospect 

 

2014 Pre-Draft Rankings

1. Bishop Sankey, Washington

2. Jeremy Hill, LSU

3. Tre Mason, Auburn

4. Carlos Hyde, Ohio State

5. Charles Sims, West Virginia

6. Andre Williams, Boston College

7. Marion Grice, Arizona State

8. Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona

9. Terrance West, Towson

10. Lache Seastrunk, Baylor

11. Devonta Freeman, Florida State

12. De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon

 

2015 Pre-Draft Rankings

1. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

2. Todd Gurley, Georgia

3. Jay Ajayi, Boise State

4. Tevin Coleman, Indiana

5. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska

6. Duke Johnson, Miami

7. T.J. Yeldon, Alabama

8. David Johnson, Northern Iowa

9. Jeremy Langford, Michigan State

10. David Cobb, Minnesota

11. Javorius Allen, USC

12. Mike Davis, South Carolina

Armando Marsal

Brad Kruse

Jen Ryan

Bob Harris

John Laub

Justin Lonero

Chad Stapley

Dave Hunter

Matthew Cherrin

Travis Spieth

Jeremy Munter

Carl Tempesta

Mike Beacom

Emil R. Kadlec

Lisa Ann

Gary Davenport

Matt Falkow

Evan Tarracciano

Jaime Inchaurrandieta