clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2017 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee

Alvin Kamara is one of the most explosive running backs in the nation. Could he be the answer next to Paul Perkins?

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Vanderbilt Knoxville News Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

For much of the last two seasons at Tennessee, the story was the big and almost freakishly athletic Jalen Hurd. However, Hurd left the program to transfer to another school and become a tight end. That opened the door for Alvin Kamara to step forward and establish himself in the spotlight.

Going by their moves thus far in the offseason, the New York Giants are bound and determined to improve their running game. With Rashad Jenning and Bobby Rainey no longer on the roster, the Giants could use a bigger back to balance the smaller but ultra-shifty Paul Perkins.

Kamara is not only bigger than Perkins, but is also more explosive. Will the draft board shake say that he is a future Giant?



  • Good size and frame for an NFL running back.
  • Impressive lower-body explosion. Topped all running backs with a 41-inch vertical and 131-inch (10 foot, 7 inch) broad jump.
  • Slippery runner. Kamara’s balance and strength make him tough to bring down
  • Capable receiver. Has 74 receptions and 7 touchdowns over the last two years out of both the backfield and the slot
  • Not much wear and tear. Only 210 carries, 284 touches in total, in college


  • Originally committed to Alabama, but left due to off-field problems.
  • Hasn’t been “The Guy” in college. Can he stand up to consistent NFL punishment?
  • Did most of his work on the perimeter, either as a receiver or in outside zone plays. Can he run between the tackles?
  • Not often used in pass protection. Needs to improve and get more aggressive with his blocking.

Does He Fit With The Giants?

Assuming the Giants aren’t looking for a true “big back” sledgehammer to partner with Paul Perkins, yes Kamara should fit. He doesn’t have true “home run” speed, but his balance at contact and explosion through the hole make him a threat to pick up chunk yardage whenever he touches the ball.

The fact that he is solid catching the ball, both out of the backfield and split out in the slot, would help keep the Giants’ playbook wide open on every down and distance.

Kamara’s two biggest issues with respect to the Giants are the off-field issue that lead to him leaving Alabama, and how he was used at Tennessee. Kamara is reportedly popular in the Tennessee program and is considered a leader (he was voted captain) of the football team. However, his off-field character might still need to be checked.

The other issue is much more X’s and O’s based. The strength of the New York Giants offensive line is athletic interior and, their running game reflected it. Their best running came off of inside zone plays and runs right up the middle. Most of Kamara’s runs came off of outside runs or pitches to the outside, using his explosion to get the edge.

Could having a more explosive back help bring the perimeter back into the Giants’ offensive scheme? Was Kamara limited by Tennessee’s offense or is that where his strengths (and weaknesses) truly lie? If the latter is true, is he simply incompatible with the Giants’ offense and schemes? Unfortunately at this point our information is too limited to fairly answer that question.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 62nd overall

CBS Sports - 54th overall

Draft Countdown - 81st overall

Draft Tek - 148th overall

Final Thoughts

At this point the Giants haven’t added running back via free agency, and with their budget severely limited, they might not.

Unless they feel comfortable going forward with Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen, the Giants will likely add a running back at some point in the draft or undrafted free agency. If they want to add an explosive play-making running back, they would be hard-pressed to find a better option than Alvin Kamara.

They might have to do their home-work and make sure that he fits their team concept, but based on his tape, Kamara can add the “pop” to the Giants’ rushing attack.