It sometimes seems as though there are as many different ways to scout the running back position as there are different running backs.
There is more diversity within the running back position than any other group, in large part because there is a huge variety of body types, skill sets, athletic profiles, and scheme fits — and they can all be successful in the right setting.
The most important thing is that the brain trust behind an offense identify the skill set they need, then look for players who fit that need.
If a team is looking for an athletic runner who can move the ball in a variety of ways, Rachaad White out of Arizona State is an intriguing option. He has the potential to be an electric runner with surprising physicality, as well as a dangerous threat in the passing game. However, his skill set won’t be for every team.
The New York Giants will be undergoing an offensive metamorphosis in 2022 (and beyond). Could White be a potential fit for their new offense?
Games Played: 11
Yards (YPC): 1000 (5.5 per carry)
Yards (YPC): 456 (10.6 per catch)
Total Touchdowns (rushing/receiving): 16 (15 rushing, 1 receiving)
Best: Athleticism, contact balance, vision, receiving
Worst: Pass protection
Projection: A change of pace back in a spread or west coast offense
(White is RB number 3)
Arizona State running back Rachaad White possesses an intriguing blend of size, athleticism, vision, contact balance, and receiving ability that could make him a dangerous weapon at the NFL level.
White has good size for the position, though he sports an unconventional build for a running back. At 6-foot, 210 pounds, he looks more like a wide receiver motioned into the backfield than a traditional running back.
White has played both behind center in the ‘i’ formation and beside the quarterback in the shotgun and is a capable runner from both alignments. He’s very patient in the backfield, routinely giving his blocks the time to develop before pressing the line of scrimmage. That said, he has great burst and acceleration through the line of scrimmage once he identifies a rushing lane. White has very good vision as a ball carrier to not only identify running – or cutback – lanes, but also to anticipate defenders at the second level. His running style has attributes of both a one-cut “slasher” and a “scat back”, and White shows very good stop-start quickness as well as a deceptive gliding jump-cut. His cutting ability, vision, and stride frequency allow him to pick his way through traffic relatively well and gain yardage that isn’t blocked for him. He isn’t afraid to finish behind his pads and does a good job of fighting for extra yardage.
White is a capable receiver who is a threat to create a big play any time he touches the ball. He is a solid receiver out of the backfield, showing reliable hands and the ability to adjust to errant passes or present a good target to his quarterback. He was also motioned to a wide or slot receiver position on occasion and does a good job of getting into his routes off the line of scrimmage.
White’s build can work against him in traffic, he can be vulnerable to shoelace tackles or being tripped up if defenders hit him low at the wrong moment.
More importantly, while White is a good, and dangerous, weapon in the passing, his pass protection is a liability. White plays with good physicality as a runner, but he shows none of that as a pass protector. He can be frustratingly passive in the backfield and seems to simply wait for defenders at times. Likewise, he can be bullied by pass rushers and can’t be relied upon to keep his quarterback upright in big moments.
Overall Grade: 6.7
Rachaad White projects best as a change of pace back in a Spread or West Coast offense, particularly one that uses the running back as a weapon in the passing game. White’s ability to motion to a receiver position would also add value for those teams.
He is a good runner between the 20’s and does his best work in zone blocking schemes. White is good at picking his way through traffic as well as quickly identifying cutback lanes. He is a threat to create a big play any time he finds daylight and a bit of open space. Creative offensive minds should be able to use White in innovative ways to create explosive plays and stress the defense across the field.
While likely doesn’t have the frame or running style to be an every-down runner. Likewise, he probably doesn’t have a good fit for a power running team. He has good vision and is decisive behind the line of scrimmage, but man-gap schemes might limit his options to make full use of his skillset.
Teams will not want to rely on him as an extra pass protector in big moments, and that could hurt his draft stock. His pass protection should be viewed as a liability at this point and he will need quite a bit of work with his position coach. Teams who use 21 or 12-personnel groupings could use White on obvious passing downs as an option out of the backfield, but only if they have another option for a sixth pass protector. The rest of White’s skill set should be attractive to teams, and he could be an important weapon for an offense if he can become a (much) more reliable pass protector.