The running back position has been making a comeback in the NFL Draft. After a couple years in which top talents were few and far between, college is producing running backs to be feared. The 2017 draft featured several running backs who achieved stardom in their rookie years, and the 2018 class looks to rival that crop, if not surpass it.
LSU’s Derrius Guice has been somewhat overshadowed this season, but is a talented back with the potential to be a true “every down” bell cow in the right system. The New York Giants could stand to upgrade their backfield, and Guice might appeal to their new brain trust.
- Powerfully built and plays like it. Guice runs hard and is not afraid to play behind his pads and push would-be tacklers for every inch he can get.
- Very difficult to tackle. Low center of gravity and natural power make him difficult for a lone defender to bring down.
- Excellent balance. In addition to his power, Guice is able to absorb and slide off tackles.
- Good vision to find and exploit creases.
- Patient. Has surprising patience behind the line of scrimmage for a power back.
- Capable receiver. Generally a “hands catcher” in the passing game
- Good but not elite speed. Can break chunk runs, but isn’t outrunning most linebackers or defensive backs
- Better between the tackles. Has the speed to get the edge, but has to gather himself and struggles with cuts at speed.
- Isn’t exceptionally agile. Shows a nice spin move to break tackles, but is mostly limited to a “one cut” running style.
- Dealt with a nagging injury throughout 2017. Violent running style might lead to injury concerns in the NFL
What they’re saying
NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein considers Guice one of college football’s top two talents at the position, along with Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. This year, a leg injury limited the junior early in the first half of the season, but he later improved and finished the regular season with 1,251 yards and 11 touchdowns. For his career, he’s averaged 6.5 yards per carry.
Derrius Guice might not be as exciting Saquon Barkley or the Georgia duo of Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, or as productive as San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny. But he is still a very good running back, who produced as the sole threat in an uninspiring offense.
If a team is looking to add a big, physical, hard-running back with a warrior’s mentality who is versatile enough to leave on the field in most situations, they could do a lot worse than Derrius Guice. He is largely a “complete” back, but could be limited to a power run scheme in the pros, where the greater speed of defensive players might make it a struggle for him to run outside zone.
Depending on how the Giants rebuild their offensive line and scheme their running game, Guice should at least intrigue as an upgrade to their backfield.