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2022 NFL Draft Senior Bowl

2022 Senior Bowl: Running Back & Special Teams Preview

Rachaad White, Senior Bowl

Senior Bowl week is always interesting for RBs. There isn’t a ton to gleam from practices in terms of rushing ability due to the more no contact nature of some of the practices. You can pick up a few things in drills, but it is difficult. Some of the early shining RBs are the good blockers in the Backs on Backers drill or guys who get a chance to catch the ball in practice. It is one position where the actual game can prove a lot outside of passing the eye test. 

Don’t forget special teams as well! There are a few Senior Bowl special teamers who should be drafted after having good weeks.

Here are the RBs on each Senior Bowl squad and what the trajectory of their week may look like. The National Team is especially intriguing with the Jets potentially wanting to pair Michael Carter with another RB in this draft.

 

American Team

 

James Cook, Georgia

The younger brother of Dalvin, Cook turned some heads this year with his pass catching role for the National Champions. His electric quickness and agility make him an intriguing player with Day 2 upside. He became a major cog in that offense and should find a specialized NFL role.  

The Senior Bowl is an ideal spot for Cook to showcase his skills. If he gets some reps at WR as well, it could set him up for an “Offensive Weapon” type role for NFL evaluators to see. Cook may end up the big talk of the Senior Bowl at the RB position due to his versatility.  

 

Dameon Pierce, Florida

Pierce was underutilized throughout his career at Florida. With only 100 carries this past season, Pierce turned in 13 TDs and averaged 5.74 YPC. Heck, his best game may have been against Georgia where he only had 9 carries. The film doesn’t lie, he is a tough between the tackles runner with some good wiggle. Hard to tackle with good vision, there is committee upside there.

Pierce is a likely back to shine in the Senior Bowl game. A tough runner who can create is own space, I can even see a game MVP coming from him. I’ll be surprised if there is a ton of buzz coming out of the practices (outside of maybe his pass blocking). Still, Pierce is an intriguing Day 3 prospect.

 

D’Vonte Price, FIU

Price had a bit of a disappointing year after starting the season with two 100 yard rushing games. He never hit that again and then didn’t play the final three games. With good size and an excellent athletic profile, he is an upside RB to develop in the later rounds.

The rawness of Price will come out for Senior Bowl week. We could see a flash play here and there that reminds why he is a draftable prospect, but it could be a better opportunity for him to learn and improve his skills before being drafted in Day 3.

 

Brian Robinson, Alabama

Robinson is an old school style RB who can bang through the tackles and punish defenders. He won’t break the big play or get a lot of chunk yardage, but taking what is given and following blockers is his forte. He had the lowest YPC (4.96) for a leading Alabama rusher over the past 12 years however, and he may be a one-dimensional player at the next level.

Alabama players will always get a certain level of buzz, and at 225 pounds, Robinson will be tough to miss. He is a solid blocker and even has good hands. The main issue is his speed and athletic ability are a step below the rest of the group. It might be clear in some of the early drills and Robinson could be a rare stock down after the week.

 

ZaQuandre White, South Carolina

White was an unexpected hero for the Gamecocks this year leading the team in rushing despite players coming back from injury like Kevin Harris and Marshawn Lloyd. Coming in as a JUCO transfer in 2020, White didn’t do much in his first season but the entire offense was centered around him often in 2021. White is built like a brick house. Being difficult to tackle and running with power, he wore down defenses with his rushing. Though not possessing elite athletic traits, he may be just unlocking his potential.

White was a late add to the Senior Bowl roster, and this will be a great chance to showcase his skillset. Though he may not be the most dynamic runner, he can go toe to toe in talent with the rest of his teammates on the American Team. Look for a solid week and some definite Day 3 buzz to arise.

 

National Team

 

Tyler Badie, Missouri

Badie was a late addition to the roster, but the little spark plug runner was massively productive in the SEC with over 1,600 yards rushing for the season. An exciting pass catcher who could be a Tarik Cohen like role player at the NFL level, this is a huge opportunity for Badie to showcase his skillset to NFL scouts,

Standing at only 5’8 and 194 pounds, it is tough to gauge how the week will go for Badie. He can very easily flash some of his pass catching and toughness, but doesn’t quite have the talent of the other RBs on this roster. Pass blocking isn’t a strength, but Badie could be a nice emergent Day 3 sleeper coming out of Senior Bowl week.   

 

Jerome Ford, Cincinnati

The former Alabama recruit came into college with a big pedigree. After transferring to Cincinnati, he hit his potential and helped lead them to undefeated seasons and a playoff berth. His size and speed combination are rare and that will likely be on display at the Senior Bowl.

Ford should come away from week with a stock up arrow. Good size, speed, and blocking ability will create some good buzz. His receiving ability could be a revelation for some (he was underutilized in the passing game at Cincinnati) but he can be a good receiving back too. The Senior Bowl is the perfect place to showcase that.

 

Hassan Haskins, Michigan

Haskins caught the national spotlight after a dominating performance against Ohio State with 169 rushing yards and 5 TDs. A tough inside runner with good vision, Haskins is difficult to tackle and has had a pretty illustrious career starting at Michigan over high end young recruits. Though he may not have the upside to be a Day 2 selection, Haskins could be a solid back-up in the NFL.

It appears Haskins may not end up participating in practices and the game, which is a shame. It could have been a good tool for him to showcase his abilities. 

 

Abram Smith, Baylor

A tough inside runner, Smith was a big reason for Baylor’s offense resurgence last season. He has excellent contact balance and good vision to pound the rock inside and explode for big yardage. His shining game was a huge upset against Oklahoma where he averaged 7.4 yards per carry, running for 148 yards. Smith has also flashed soft hands at times despite not being used in the passing game. The Senior Bowl should be a great opportunity for him to showcase what he can do.

Look for Smith to use his size and power well throughout the week. He may end up looking a bit stiff early, but coaching to help him loosen up could come. Being a good blocker and pass catcher should lead to some solid buzz and anchor him in mid-Day 3.

 

Rachaad White, Arizona State

A JUCO transfer to Arizona State, White has two exceptional seasons for the Sun Devils. One of the best receiving RBs in this draft, he totaled 43 receptions this season and was excellent in space. With big play ability, White still has the size to be a starting RB at the NFL level and could come away from the Senior Bowl looking like one of the best RBs in this draft.

White will absolutely come away from the week impressive to NFL teams and fans alike. His combination of receiving, blocking, and agility fits perfect within the Senior Bowl practices. He should excel in the drills and 11-on-11s. Though many view White as a step down from the top tier of RBs (Breece Hall, Isaiah Spiller, and Kenneth Walker III,) expect him to make the leap with a huge performance each day of practice. 

 

Special Teams

 

American Team

Jake Camarda, P, Georgia

Cameron Dicker, K, Texas

Jordan Silver, LS, Arkansas

 

National Team

Cal Adomitis, LS, Pittsburgh

Andrew Mevis, K, Iowa State

Jordan Stout, Penn State

The Special Teams units have some solid players. Camarda and Stout specifically are draftable punters with big legs and good hangtimes. Stout himself was the starting Kicker and Punter for the Nittany Lions this year. I imagine both Punters have a great week and keep that stock going up.

Dicker and Mevis (who transferred to Iowa State from Fordham) both also held the starting Kicker and Punter roles for their teams. Both are solid accuracy kickers from short yardage, but they may lack the upside to kick longer game winners. Both should make a camp and compete for a starting job with numerous teams needing kickers. This week should be very intriguing to see if they impress since both the Jets and Lions could use a kicker.

Finally, Adomitis is an elite Long Snapper with quick zip on his punt snapping. With an increased emphasis on long snapping, he could have his name called in the draft. Silver doesn’t quite match up, but he should be able to make a camp and compete for a spot. Once again, both the Lions and Jets could use a Long Snapper and will watch intently.

Follow Shane on Twitter: @ShanePHallam and see his other work here

 

 

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