Junior who has declared for the 2015 NFL draft.
Positives: Has great height and bulk for the position, and has almost a fullback build. Above-average track speed for the position – and good for his size. He is patient behind the line and will follow his blockers. He has good patience and vision for cutback lanes both behind the line and in the open field, and picks his way through traffic well. He has the lateral quickness, agility, and ability to change directions of a much smaller back, and also shows above-average burst and very quick feet in the hole. Always stays squared and ready for burst while making moves, and he picks his way through traffic well. He runs with good power and determination, and churns very well through contact. He has the balance to stay on his feet after contact – always seeming to break free or at least fall forward for extra yards. It seems like he usually has to be dragged down by defenders, and never goes down easily. Super-hard to get to the ground due to his combination of power, agility, and balance. In addition to his strong running skills, he is also a good receiver with above-average and strong hands. He also has the body control to adjust well to off-target passes. His hands are strong enough to hold onto the ball while defenders are trying to punch it out. He is generally an above-average pass blocker who will step up to meet defenders as well as move laterally to stay with them. Is also a willing downfield run blocker.
Negatives: Though he has strong hands, he sometimes holds the ball too loosely going through traffic. He also seems to hesitate at times in short-yardage situations, depending too much on his quickness. When making cuts, he will sometimes lose his balance. On the injury front, he dealt with ankle and hamstring issues in 2014, and was limited in 2014 bowl game. Though he has solid pass-protection technique and desire, he will sometimes block the wrong defender.
Projection: Late Round 1, Round 2. When I scout players, I put an asterisk next to their names if I think they’re potential NFL all-stars. Yeldon is the only running back this year where I added an extra asterisk – to me, he looks like a can’t-miss prospect outside of injury. But he’s regularly overlooked, and I couldn’t believe when I saw a list with him outside of the top five backs. Maybe they’re thinking back to Trent Richardson and thinking he’s a product of the Alabama system, I don’t know. Many are saying he looks like a version of Le’Veon Bell, but he seems way ahead of where Bell was coming out of college. Some team may get a steal in Round 2.