As we countdown to the NFL Draft starting on May 8, I will spend anywhere from 4-8 hours to break down the strengths and weaknesses of at least the top 20 or so offensive skill-position prospects available in this draft.
Hands: 9 1/4”
Important NFL Combine Numbers
40-Yard Dash: 4.51
Vertical Jump: 41 1/2”
Broad Jump: 11’ 2”
20-Yard Shuttle: N/A
Background (College Stats)
Rated as the third-best back in the 2010 recruiting class behind only Marcus Lattimore and current Louisville RB Michael Dyer, Seastrunk took a circuitous route to go from a blue-chip recruit out of Texas to a likely second- or third-day NFL draft pick, essentially burning a redshirt year at Oregon in 2010 when he got buried on the depth chart (behind the likes of LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner) before he was caught in the middle of a recruiting scandal centered around “talent broker” Willie Lyles and then-Ducks coach Chip Kelly. In part because he wanted to be closer to his ailing grandmother, Seastrunk returned to his home state to play for one of the schools he spurned during his initial recruiting process and sat out the 2011 season due to transfer rules before finally seeing his first college action in 2012. Baylor’s spread offense proved to be a perfect fit for his unique talents as he was named Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year after posting 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns on only 131 carries, securing honorable mention all-conference honors in the process. Despite being the only starting tailback in the nation last season to finish the season without a single reception, Seastrunk slightly improved his numbers from his sophomore campaign (158 rushes, 1,177 yards and 11 scores). His efforts in 2013 made him a first-team all-conference selection and Doak Walker Award semifinalist.
NFL Player Comp(s): A less well-rounded Andre Ellington
- Twitchy start-stop back that lacks elite speed, but still very much a big-play back.
- Runs low to the ground and shows great balance even when making sharp cuts.
- Displays good vision and shows good patience when he runs between the tackles; sets up his blocks well when he decides to hit the hole.
- Strong lower body helps him get more yards after contact than most backs his size on inside runs.
- Possesses great burst and can be special in open space without making a lot of moves to do so.
- Undisciplined runner that often looks to go east-west a bit too much.
- Did not catch a single pass in 2013 and recorded more drops (10) than receptions (nine) in his two-year college career; attempts to throw him the ball usually amounted to long tosses designed to get him to the outside of the defense.
- Limited exposure in passing game also carries over to his ability in pass protection; while a willing blocker, his awareness in identifying blitzers is below average.
- Size, lack of durability and limited use (158 carries) suggests college coaches believed he was best used as a complementary runner (same staff gave Terrance Ganaway 250 carries in a RG3-led offense in 2011).
- Ball security (career fumble percentage of 1.3 percent).
- Benefited greatly from spread attack and wide-open running lanes against lesser opponents.
Most scouts use a football player’s vertical jump and broad jump to quantify how explosive he is. Seastrunk’s vertical is tied for the fifth-best mark by a running back at the NFL Combine since 1999 while his broad was tied for second. (Just for a comparison, Cincinnati’s Giovani Bernard went 33 ½” on his vertical and 10’ 2” on his broad at the 2013 Combine.) So it goes without saying that Seastrunk makes the grade from a physical-talent perspective when it comes to serving as a complementary NFL back. But there within lies the rub; he has very little experience in the passing game, which makes him a smallish back without much of a small-back skill set and, thus, a difficult projection at the NFL level. Seastrunk has elicited comparisons to LeSean McCoy and, while that isn’t entirely off-base, the Philadelphia Eagles’ two-time All-Pro selection entered the league as a proven all-around back and was a true workhorse in college whereas the Oregon transfer has neither of those qualities going for him. It is entirely possible that Seastrunk ends up becoming a fine third-down back one day, but assuming that any player will go from such little exposure to the passing game to an above-average complementary back in 1-2 NFL training camps is a leap most evaluators would rather not make. In the final analysis, Seastrunk is too explosive not to enjoy some level of success at the pro level, but it needs to be noted that it is highly unlikely he will ever become a “foundation” back and that his true impact may not be felt for 2-3 years.