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NFL Draft Positional Preview: Running Backs Part 3

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Welcome back to my NFL Draft Positional Previews! Here’s Part three of our look at the incoming running backs!

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 23: Zonovan Knight #7 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack runs with the ball against the Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Zonovan Knight

NC State Wolfpack 5’11 190 lbs

  • Lacks elite explosiveness, runs into trouble, may struggle at NFL even as a depth piece
  • Senior
  • Patient (too patient),  couldn’t get away from his own end zone vs Louisiana Tech (almost a safety on 3rd down when QB threw it away). QB later faked handoff and got sacked – oh dear!
  • Okay catch on out route 
  • Hard to bring down, good balance, lateral movement and quick footwork. Utilises lead blocks well. Outside run tendency.
  • Not elite burst/explosiveness unlike some in this class
  • Okay once up to reasonable top speed, but takes a few steps
  • Have to question the vision overall, seems to run into trouble at times
  • Limited in pass pro, a chip block at best

Jerome Ford

Cincinnati 5’10 209 lbs

This guy is absolutely rapid, but he doesn’t get into the secondary enough!

  • Quick, route running speed is superb, gets into position to receive pass so quickly and looks fluid and smooth doing it
  • Fair play to the lad for his pass pro effort against Alabama after transferring from the Crimson Tide, he sort of jumped at the guy who was easily twice his size. Nice chip block at times.
  • Don’t feel like he was well schemed vs Alabama (Cotton Bowl) and Desmond Ridder (QB) didn’t look comfortable against the pass rush, multiple pat downs either!
  • Powerful legs, fighting for extra yards after tackle, tough runner
  • If he gets into secondary, be worried, can he get into the secondary consistently enough tho?? Ridder himself looked more explosive running thru the LOS
  • Size likely to be an issue (dependent on him being drafted into the right scheme)
  • Mixed bag in pass pro, good awareness of where pressure is coming from but limited ability to stop an oncoming LB vs Indiana. Did knock the LB off balance tho to allow Ridder to complete the throw.
  • Kept the ball well when being hit
  • Entering the draft as a junior
  • Can bounce off tackles
  • I watched 3 games of his tape and didn’t see the elite production / explosive to off the defence run i wanted to see – nice TD showed his potential vs Navy with speed in the open field and another against Georgia.
  • Seemed to run away vs some of the weaker college programs
  • Could give an NFL something to worry about or prepare for 
COLUMBIA, SC – NOVEMBER 20: South Carolina Gamecocks running back ZaQuandre White (11) runs the ball during the game between the Auburn Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks on November 20, 2021 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC.(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

ZaQuandre White

University of South Carolina 6’1 215 lbs

  • Quick feet and movement for a bigger body guy, looks very smooth in movement
  • Nice play action fake
  • Nice receiver, was going to say that he had good hands and caught the ball away from body…. But he juggled a ball into the hands of Texas A&Ms Deuce Harmon DB. In fairness, the ball was thrown behind him and the RB was unlucky
  • Runs ‘on the edge’ of his balance 
  • Nice vision, relatively elusive despite his size, quick footwork and whole body movement
  • Explosive power
  • Displays nice reach to gain extra yards
  • Speed on routes is pretty good
  • Nice use of full back to provide lead block in the Tennessee game (2020)
  • Slow to react in pass pro and slow to react to the need to get out on his route, waits too long to see if he is needed in pass pro.

TY Chandler

North Carolina 6′ 210 lbs

  • Transferred from Tennessee (17 TDs in 45 games – 25 starts) to North Carolina
  • 1308 yards total, 14 TDs
  • Miami game – 104 yards on 18 carry’s for 2 TD, 2 receptions for 17 yards
  • Uses lead blocks well, nice vision, good burst
  • Consistently nice RPO fake sell, got him a TD when no one thought he had the ball – 2nd quarter
  • 1st quarter TD – from midfield – Patient weave, lateral sidesteps, waits for gap to develop, cut inside beats 2 men in the secondary/LBs, powers aware, great top speed / sustain to beat the safety
  • Also watch this MIAMI tape for a comical Sam Howell pick 6 as the QB throws straight to the defender on an attempted screen pass 😀
  • Good knowledge or running lanes, great burst, explosive thru gaps when open
  • Nice stiff arm and nice spin move to gain extra yards
  • Good length, follows his pads
  • Reasonable in pass pro, chip block, disengaged and still caught the pass on one play in 4th Quarter
  • Difficult o line to work behind?? Is that just me??
  • Dad played RB at OLE MISS -family heritage 

Tyler Badie

Missouri 5’8 194 lbs

  • Recommended by Steelcity43 as a round 4-6 pick – “solid mid rounder”
  • 2748 career rush yards (23TDs), 1149 receiving (11TDs)
  • Yargage per game varied highly, less against better opposition (41 vs Georgia and 68 vs Texas A&M compared to 203 vs Central Michigan and 219 vs Arkansas)
  • Solid stiff arm. Good on play action / in motion based offense – good fake sell when not carrying the ball. Changes direction rapidly
  • Picked a nice place to go vertical on a jet sweep vs boston Coll
  • Agile receiving back, sets up blocks patiently
  • Stays on his feet well, rides tackles and is really elusive (Kentucky game)
  • Hits even a small gap well.
  • Decent burst, not elite but serviceable
  • Really good route runner
  • Will be a decent weapon for someone
  • Didn’t see much pass pro, tends to want to get out on a route instead but does so quickly. Solid effort vs Boston college rusher noted, got underneath the guys arm.. perhaps an NFL rusher would have outstretched an arm and batted down the pass, Badie should’ve ideally took a step or two forward and positively engaged the defender.

Thanks for reading my running backs article. For more content follow me on Twitter @kettsuk. Please also follow @OTH_Football and @OT_Heroics for more great content.

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Main Image Credit

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – DECEMBER 30: Ty Chandler #19 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates with teammates Jordan Tucker #74 following a two-point conversion during the second half of the Duke’s Mayo Bowl against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Bank of America Stadium on December 30, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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