After my look at what many consider the top three running backs in the draft class, I wanted to break down some of the players that don’t present the same potential but are still good prospects. I chose to chart Antonio Andrews, Ka’Deem Carey, and Marion Grice. We have a wide range of backs here; Carey led the nation in rushing last year, but doesn’t get the same hype as other top prospects. Andrews is a smaller school player from Western Kentucky and Grice is a riser from Arizona State this year.
For Andrews and Carey I charted 4 games each. For Grice I charted all 6 of his games against FBS opponents, omitting only Sacramento State. I would urge you not to compare the metrics in this piece to other similar stats, even ones I’ve posted in the past. Some organizations are more conservative with what is considered a “broken tackle” and some more lenient, it’s only worth comparing these RBs to each other.
Here I’m looking at how well the backs can pick up extra yardage or their elusiveness. YaC is Yardage After Contact. Broken Tackle % is how often a RB breaks tackles, IE 5% would mean the RB breaks a tackle on 5% of his carries. YaC Cap caps yards after contact at 15 yards, so as not to skew the numbers too much.
- None of the backs in this group present the same level of elusiveness as Melvin Gordon and Lache Seastrunk from the first group. If you were to combine the metrics listed, Antonio Andrews would come the closest to those two. His yards after contact capped nearly matches Gordon’s for top in the group, but he doesn’t break tackles at the same prolific rate.
- Carey’s yards after contact are solid and in the top range of backs, but his broken tackles weigh him down a bit. Incidentally, this trend was similar in his stats last year, high YaC and less broken tackles. With that trend, I think it’s pretty safe to say it’s no fluke.
- Marion Grice really gets a raw deal here. While there are many highlight plays to suggest Grice has the ability to gain extra yardage, over the entirety of his runs his YaC and Broken Tackle % are the lowest among the backs.
Here I’ve broken their running down into outside/inside but I charted it by noting what holes they hit, so the actual data goes into more detail than this. At some point I might come back and elaborate on how they did running behind the LG, etc.
- So far every RB I’ve looked at has had a higher YPC running outside than inside. Ka’Deem Carey comes the closest to matching his yards per carry between and outside of the tackles, showing really nice consistency you like to see in backs.
- The biggest thing that sticks out is Grice’s mediocre per carry average of 3.74 yards on inside runs. Between below-average extra yardage metrics and a low inside YPC, we may have reason to start being worried about Grice’s ability to really push the pile as an inside RB.
- Andrews is pretty consistent, although you’d have to check whether the propensity to run outside on 58% of his attempts is a function of Bobby Petrino’s offense or a tendency to bounce it.
How Did Defenses Play Them?
The chart below represents the Yards per Carry of each RB against that number of men in the box. I’m not going to comment on it, but at the bottom of the page I’ll put a chart showing how often they faced each defensive front.
- Unlike with Seastrunk, there isn’t anything that automatically sticks out as a warning sign for these backs.
- You have to like that Andrews was able to maintain a 6.24 YPC average against 8 men in the box, there’s a lot of consistency in Andrews’ metrics. Carey is similarly consistent, only varying 1.7 yards per carry facing various man fronts.
- On the surface, Grice’s numbers look fine. It’s a little strange that his per carry average is substantially lower against five man front than seven man, but nothing too worrisome. What bothers me most is how Grice ran when there were more defenders than blockers.
- On 13 attempts facing 2 more defenders than blockers (7 man box, no TEs/FBs), he averaged only .54 yards per carry
If you were just reading these stats, you would come away with the perception that Marion Grice was a terrible prospect. I should say that these stats have been colossally unfair to Grice. I only chart runs, but he has 302 receiving yards with an average of 9.2 yards per reception, which is excellent. The trend towards players that can do it all is so prevalent in the NFL that I think Grice would make an excellent 3rd down back/ change of pace guy. His ability on runs to the outside matches the top backs and that’s really where he shines. Keep that in mind as you use this data and while you evaluate Grice.
Both Carey and Andrews are amazingly consistent prospects. There’s nothing that really stands out negatively for them, but nothing that screams FIRST ROUND PICK either. There are some nice numbers that I left out for the sake of brevity. Ka’Deem Carey averages a great 7.8 yards on 3rd down. Antonio Andrews was hit in the backfield on 15% of carries, which serves to decrease his averages by no fault of his own. Use the data and information in this article as you may.
I’ll toss out some of the extra data on Twitter Follow @NU_Gap and maybe use it in future pieces. If you have any comments, questions, or requests hit me up in the comments or on Twitter.
(These numbers won’t add up exactly to 100% as I’ve omitted the small sample sizes.)