Enough hip explosion to make a multi-lane jump cut. (2:24,
Heady receiver who can run a variety of routes and make something
out of nothing in the passing game. (0:37, 0:57,
Fumbled twice (lost one) on 443 career offensive touches
Only three running backs of similar stature (5-7 or smaller)
and size (less than 210 pounds) in the 21st century have rushed
for at least 2,000 yards in their career and only two have compiled
more than 4,000 yards from scrimmage.
Able to hit the big play thanks to good burst but otherwise
plays to timed speed, which is on the back end of what most
evaluators want at the position.
Put good (0:16, 0:28,
7:17) and bad
blocking (2:43, 7:08)
on tape, but 2019 offense asked him to serve as a receiver or
execute run action at the snap so often that it should be assumed
he will be at least slightly behind the curve in pass pro.
Only asked to carry the load for one season and battled through
a hamstring injury late in 2019.
Except for his quickness and ability to contribute in the passing
game, Edwards-Helaire is pretty much the antithesis of what one
would expect from a 5-7, 207-pound running back. Pro Football
Focus charted 546 of his 1,414 rushing yards (38.6 percent) this
season coming in the A gap (on either side of the center) and
894 (63.2 percent) came in either the A or B gap. Those are remarkable
percentages for a 230-pound bruiser, much less a back with almost
identical size and stature measurements as Maurice Jones-Drew
when he entered the league in 2006. Some smaller runners dance
behind the line of scrimmage and try to bounce too many runs outside.
Edwards-Helaire is an inside runner, pure and simple, and it seems
pretty clear he understands that is where he is the most effective.
Two of his best qualities as a runner are the patience he shows
behind the line of scrimmage and how light he is on his feet.
Perhaps no runner in this draft class can stop and start as quickly
as he does, and he's definitely on the higher end of the class
when it comes to making defenders look silly in space.
It's unclear if (new Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator)
Joe Brady's LSU offense simply just stuck to what Edwards-Helaire
could do well in 2019, but it's difficult to find much fault with
his tape. There are occasions in which he trusts his elusiveness
a bit too much. It'd be nice if he is he could more homers and
fewer doubles. He had an annoying habit of running parallel to
the line of scrimmage on swing passes (instead of running an arc),
making what should be a relatively easy throw for his quarterback
a more difficult one. But let's be honest: that is being extremely
nitpicky with a prospect, especially one who was a full-time starter
for just one season.
As his concerns above suggest, Edwards-Helaire's biggest obstacles
to success in the NFL may boil down to if his new team gives him
a chance to prove he can be "the guy" and avoids falling
into the trap of making him a committee back because of his dimensions.
At worst, he should lead a committee and be given at least 15
touches per week until he proves he can't do it. At best, he's
a matchup nightmare in the passing game and a pocket full of dynamite
in the running game that won't need to come off the field (assuming
his aforementioned pass protection "concern" ends up
being a non-issue). As a result, Edwards-Helaire stands a great
chance of being an immediate contributor and a Week 1 starter
in the NFL.
Doug Orth has written for FF
Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy
Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s
hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday
in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national
sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”.
Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.