A Prospect A Day: Running Backs, Devontae Booker Scouting Report

Devontae Booker, RB, Utah

5’11 212 lbs

Assigntment 4

Utah Utes running back Devontae Booker (23) runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown during the third quarter. The No. 5 Oregon Ducks play the No. 20 Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 8, 2014. (Taylor Wilder/Emerald)

Booker lacks elite running characteristics and tends to prefer running north-south to lateral movement. He does possess a devastating spin and shows adequate elusiveness in the open field.

His speed is only slightly above average but he does a fantastic job bursting through a crease for the maximum gain on a given play. He’ll need a strong offensive line at the next level since he isn’t much of a creator behind the line of scrimmage.

He has strong natural ability as a receiver out of the backfield that should keep him on the field for most offensive plays. He looks like an adequate runner, but perhaps a 1b option, if not a backup altogether.

He probably needs to put on some more weight to get more goal-to-go opportunities. His touchdown numbers were comparatively low versus the other top prospects at the position.

RUSHING

Speed: 4 out of 5

Booker replaces a lack of elite top-end speed with a strong burst and suddenness to his game that allows him to slide through even the smallest creases, and if a team’s secondary is even a step slow, he has enough speed to turn a run into the secondary into a touchdown like he did twice against Arizona State in 2015.

Power: 3 out of 5

He runs with plenty of aggressiveness, but it’s not his main weapon as a runner, preferring to slide by potential tacklers versus seeking out contact.

Field Vision: 12 out of 15

Booker uses an elite understanding of blocks at the line of scrimmage to rarely get stuffed but struggles at times once he gets past the first wave.

Balance: 9 out of 10

Booker’s balance is special, and at times it looks like it might be the best in the draft. He’s constantly picking up extra yards while stumbling facedown to the ground.

Break Tackle: 7 out of 10

He’s a strong runner, but again power isn’t the main part of his gain, and because of this, wrangling him around the ankles isn’t as difficult as it would be if he squared up into contact.

Moves: 4 out of 5

Booker has the best spin move in the class and uses it brilliantly and constantly. He also has a strong juke to go with the occasional hurdles and stiff arms.

Run blocking: 4 out of 5

This wasn’t a huge part of his game, but he did show some strong ability, especially in games which Kendall Thompson started.

RECEIVING

Route running: 4 out of 5

Booker actually has some diversity to his route-running game and is quite decisive and accurate.

Hands: 9 out of 10

There were no drops on tape, and he managed a few one-handers as well, this is only imperfect because he had under 40 catches in 2015.

Run after catch: 5 out of 5

He had an average of over 8 yards a catch and showed some good ability in the open field. Especially notable, his longest reception in the game was only less than 10 yards once and in seven of his ten games played in 2015 he had a reception of 20 yards or more.

Blocking: 3 out of 5

He didn’t see much action in this capacity on tape, but he never showed any sign of taking plays off so it’s likely if the play were to shift to his side, he’d throw some effective blocks.

PASS PROTECTION

Technique: 4 out of 5

A bit undersized, Booker can get overtaken by powerful rushers but makes up for it with good foot and hand usage and a solid cut block.

Effectiveness: 3 out of 5

Booker has trouble committing and that gets his QB in trouble sometimes, but when he properly identifies his assignment, he doesn’t typically give ground.

Potential: 9 out of 10

If Booker works on his assignments, he should have no big issues blocking at the next level.

TOTAL PROSPECT RATING: 80/100

NFL Comparison: Pierre Thomas, RB, Redskins

ThomasBooker 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both have excellent balance and burst to maximize short gains and the feel and hands in the open field to be magnificent screen backs. Thomas has made a living being a jack-of-all-trades in the pros and I think Booker will do the same since his running ability by itself isn’t quite elite.

Mock Draft 1.0 (Picks 21-26)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Check out these and catch up on the rest on the NFL Draft page

Mock Draft 1.0 Picks 21-26

21 bengals Alvin Dupree, OLB, Kentucky

The Bengals have been searching for a missing piece for years to put them over the Wild Card hump. While Andy Dalton is 0-4 in the playoffs, the fact that he got there four times shows that there’s something good going on for this team. Dalton is good enough to get the ball to A.J. Green, which should be adequate, and it could be, but they have to generate a pass rush. The Bengals were dead last in sacks last year.

How about an edge rusher with all the upside in the world who can immediately contribute as a package player and may surprise with even more production? Some are very high on Alvin Dupree, top-10 high, the board didn’t fall that way, much to the Bengals delight, so they snag the last true first-round talent at edge rusher. There’s a possibility he could end up being the best of the bunch; his measurables are insane. He does a nice job setting the edge in the run, but he’s often fooled on free releases during screens, so his awareness has got to raise in the NFL or teams will burn him for it.

Bud-Dupree

It’s Ok Bud, no one can bring him down

Height: 6’4

Weight: 269 lbs.

2014 Stats: 74 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, interception, 2 forced fumbles

Projection: Rotational player

Floor: journeyman

Ceiling: All-pro

NFL Comparison: Aldon Smith (OLB, San Francisco 49ers)- possessing the desired size and frame, can get after the quarterback, relentless on every down, can also set the edge in the run, but must work on fundamentals and technique, has a tendency to gamble and it doesn’t always pay off

22 pit-steelers-revolution Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest

After watching Dupree get snagged, the Steelers finally have to get serious about upgrading the corner position; one they’ve neglected since Keenan Lewis left for New Orleans. Ike Taylor is done and Brice McCain is a second corner at best. Unfortunately there are no first round safeties available, which is also a huge need, so they grab a corner that is probably the most ready to contribute right away.

He needs to put on a few pounds, but Johnson has the prototypical frame, the coverage skills, athleticism and, most importantly, a nonstop motor. He’s a three year starter at Wake Forest who has loose hips and quick-twitch traits to close on the ball at the point of the catch. He’s a true cover corner but is known to respect the deep ball too much and can give up receptions that way. That means he’s also susceptible to back shoulder throws which will cause a decent learning curve in the NFL. He’ll be an excellent gunner on special teams from day one.

1107_Kevin-Johnson_inside

Quit slouchin’

Height: 6’0

Weight: 188 lbs.

2014 Stats: 44 tackles, 6 passes broken up, 1 interception, 1 touchdown

Projection: Above-average starter

Floor: Average nickel corner

Ceiling: Pro Bowler

NFL Comparison: Darrelle Revis (CB, New York Jets)- prototypical height, highly impressive mirroring abilities in press coverage, feisty play demeanor with that unteachable ability to get away with penalties.

23 Lions 2 Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

The Lions would love an impact player on the defensive line here since the cupboard is now bare behind recent acquisition Haloti Ngata, but there are no more first round talents at the spot. With no trade partners, they snag a player in Andrus Peat who has slid a bit more than expected. Many have him as a top 3 offensive tackle in this year’s draft and some have hailed him as the most pro-ready as a bookend.

Peat is an absolute technician which will give him plenty of reps early on in his career but he has to continue to develop as an athlete and learn to be meaner. He will get pushed around at the next level against big, heavy bull rushers which is concerning since edge rushers are so big at the pro level. He can handle the speed rush beautifully with exceptionally quick feet and a nice, legal hooking move in case they get outside his hip. He’s solid, but unspectacular as a run blocker and must be more proactive in that phase. He needs to learn to use his massive frame and get better pad level. If he can do that, the Lions will have a top-5 talent here at 23.

APeat

You do the hokey pokey

Height: 6’7

Weight: 313 lbs.

Projection: Above-average starter

Floor: Average starter

Ceiling: Pro Bowl left tackle

NFL Comparison: Matt Kalil (LT, Minnesota Vikings)- With exceptional feet and hands, can handle speed rushers with ease but susceptible to bull rush, needs to refine technique and build strength in legs to become a more effective run blocker.

24 3001624_SP_Cardinals_2 Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

Yes, the Cardinals could always use more defensive players, especially with the departure of Darnell Dockett and the aging/unreliable linebackers they currently have. But how long has it been since the Cardinals have had a true, all-world talent at running back? This is a grand opportunity that could potentially open up the play-action which would give Palmer more time to connect on intermediate routes with his big, talented receivers. Not to mention Gurley is ready for primetime, right now. He’s the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, hands down.

Watching Gurley play is legitimately exhausting, he churns out the hard yards on nearly every down, he’s got the rare ability to fall forward on almost every run, he possesses a devastating quick cut and excellent burst through holes and into the second level of the defense. Being a dangerous kick returner as well, he knows what to do when he gets there. Gurley is an incredibly fluid athlete with moves that suggest a much smaller man, but he’s large and thick and a load to bring down. You’ll rarely see him go down by one tackler. He’s also an accomplished pass blocker and a natural on screens. The one thing I can see missing from Gurley’s game is a cutback move. A couple of his runs he tends to try to bounce outside where there’s a ton of room with a simple cutback. He develops that and recovers well from injury, he could be looking at 10,000+ career yards. Obviously though, a major knee injury for a running back is a big concern. If he gets back to form, he will be the steal of this draft.

AP TENNESSEE GEORGIA FOOTBALL S FBC T25 USA GA

This guy’s no joke

Height: 6’1

Weight: 222 lbs.

2014 Stats: (6 games) 911 yards, 7.41 per carry, 9 touchdowns, 1 kick return touchdown

Projection: Pro Bowler

Floor: Out of the league due to injury

Ceiling: All-pro

NFL Comparison: Steven Jackson (RB, Free Agent)- With the size and strength of a bulldozer, and an impressive array of juke, stiff arm and spin moves, possesses the speed to streak down the sideline and the balance to wiggle through holes in the A and B gaps of the line. Runs with absolute authority.

25 PanthersTRADE PackersEric Kendricks, LB, UCLA (Panthers Receive 2015 1st, 2016 3rd)

The Packers aren’t going to address this problem before the draft, but their starting inside linebackers are abysmal. A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones are gone, leaving Carl Bradford as the starter alongside Clay Matthews who is better suited as an edge defender. They have to find an answer or this defense will be taking large steps backward. Ted Thompson has shown a willingness to go up and grab a linebacker he liked in the past. That man, Clay Matthews, has worked out pretty well for them.

Eric Kendricks is worth the investment for Green Bay who desperately need better athletes in the middle of their front seven. Kendricks is an incredibly hard worker with a high motor and superior field awareness. He’ll be ready to contribute immediately and may be ready to start immediately. He likely won’t ever be a super star, since he lacks off-the-charts measurables, but he’s a natural as both a run-stopper and in pass coverage. A jack of all trades linebacker, he gives Dom Capers an extremely versatile piece to work into the defensive formula. Kendricks shouldn’t be asked to cover Jimmy Graham, but I think he can handle most tight ends in the league, he’ll be at his best in zone coverage where his superior instincts will help him thrive.

0725_SPO_LDN-L-PAC12-11AH

Opera is a realistic backup plan, right

Height: 6’0

Weight: 232 lbs.

2014 Stats: 145 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 3 interceptions, 1 touchdown

Projection: Above average starter

Floor: Average starter/backup

Ceiling: Above average starter

NFL Comparison: Stephen Tulloch (LB, Detroit Lions)- A tad undersized, an impact player in coverage and against the run with solid, but unspectacular athleticism, not a force as a pass rusher but very good manning the middle of the defense.

26 Ravens Eddie Goldman, NT, Florida State

The Ravens have to be quick about plugging the hole in their defensive line. Losing starters Pernell McPhee and Haloti Ngata hurt in both run support and pass rush, they need a versatile big man to help ease the transition as they continue to get younger on that side of the ball. They might like a receiver here but Green-Beckham doesn’t strike me as an Ozzie Newsome guy and there will be plenty of potential contributors available in round two.

Eddie Goldman is a savvy defender at the line of scrimmage, he’s smart about disengaging blockers and has great hand usage. What makes him special is his burst for his size, with free releases, he’s on the quarterback in the blink of an eye. He plays with a high motor and is an active fighter, rarely giving up on a play. He must do a better job with anchoring; he plays with his pads too high and gets pushed around against the run as a result. If he’s coached up, this is a man that can do some serious damage as a pass-rushing nose tackle, a rare breed.

Eddie-Goldman-Week-12

Darn, gotta go do lineman stuff

Height: 6’4

Weight: 336 lbs.

2014 Stats: 35 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 4 sacks

Projection: Above average starter

Floor: Journeyman

Ceiling: Pro Bowler

NFL Comparison: Michael Brockers (DT, St. Louis Rams)- A force in both pass rush and run defense, savvy lineman who anchors well but can stand to improve with massive frame, pass rush isn’t consistent but certainly flashes, possesses great physical gifts.