The 2018 NFL draft is simply littered with talented running backs. While there aren’t any who compare physically with with Saquon Barkley, it is possible to find players who can contribute throughout the draft.
It is especially rewarding when a player rises from the ranks of the undrafted free agents to become a contributor.
Chase Edmonds of Fordham university is the FCS’s best running back, but is also one of those unheralded players who might just be the coveted “sleeper” who surprises and far out-plays his late-round or undrafted draft status.
The New York Giants were spotted talking to him at the Fordham pro day. Is Edmonds the type of player we should keep an eye on?
- Exceptional quickness in and out of breaks.
- Good vision to find cutback lanes.
- Tough runner who isn’t afraid to throw a stiff-arm.
- Great balance through contact.
- Powerful lower body.
- Natural “hands” catcher.
- Energetic player. Constantly trying to pump teammates up.
- Highly productive. Had at least 1,600 rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns in each of the 2014, 2015, and 2016 seasons.
- Offers upside as a returner.
- Solidly built, but still “under sized”.
- Doesn’t have the “extra gear” to run away from defenders.
- Played a lower level of competition.
- Willing but unpolished blocker. Was run over at times at the FCS level.
- 2017 season was shortened by hamstring and ankle injuries. Medicals will be important.
What They’re Saying
SOURCES TELL US
“On the hoof, he looks like Devonta Freeman, and he’s got some of those same explosive traits but he doesn’t have Freeman’s talent as a runner. He got injured and his blocking stunk so I’m not going to hold his year against him.” -- NFC team area scout
Edmonds is an under-the-radar prospect, a guy who isn’t going to be drafted highly. Perhaps if he went to a big, Power 5 “football factory” of a school his profile would be higher. But if a team is willing to look to the FCS level and see Edmonds’ tools, he is a player who could enter camp a sleeper and surprise.
He clearly plays the game at a different speed than his opponents or teammates, compared to whom his cuts look downright electric. However, Edmonds is exceptionally quick, even when compared to big school players, as he tested in the 90th percentile in both the 3-cone and short shuttle drills.
Edmonds is currently being talked about in the range of a sixth round on. It’s possible that a team could value his traits enough to draft him earlier on day three.
The Giants were spotted spending time with Edmonds at his pro day, and given Pat Shurmur’s insistence that his running backs also be pass catchers, he might have caught their eye. If they think enough of his traits to look past his level of competition, the could draft him in the fifth round if they don’t acquire more late round picks through a trade. If he happens to slip out of the draft, Edmonds should be a priority free agent.