The modern NFL doesn’t really demand “Super Star” running backs. Nowadays, most modern offenses require backs who can do a lot of things well, but don’t necessarily need them to be exceptional in any one area. Having a runner who can do what is asked of him regardless of the situation is the current mold for an NFL running back.
That pretty neatly sums up Michigan’s Hassan Haskins. Haskins has good size, good athleticism, and a well-rounded skill set, but he isn’t truly “elite” in any one area of his game. Instead, he’s greater than the sum of his parts and was able to do whatever Michigan needed him to do.
The New York Giants will have a new scheme this year and might find themselves with questions at the running back position heading into 2022.
Could Haskins be a solution?
Prospect: Hassan Haskins (25)
Games Watched: vs. Minnesota (2020), vs. Indiana (2020), vs. Penn State (2021), vs Ohio State (2021)
Games Played (starts): 32
Yards (YPC): 2,324 (5.1 per carry)
Yards (YPC): 171 (7.1 per catch)
Total Touchdowns (rushing/receiving): 24 rushing (0 receiving)
Games Played (starts): 14
Yards (YPC): 1,327 (4.9 per catch)
Yards (YPC): 131 (7.3 per catch)
Total Touchdowns (rushing/receiving): 20 rushing (0 receiving)
Best: Football IQ, athleticism, versatility
Worst: No truly elite attributes
Projection: A starting running back or high-volume number two in a rotation
Michigan running back Hassan Haskins is a well-rounded player with few true weaknesses in his game.
Haskins possesses a good blend of size and athleticism for the position at the NFL level, listed at 6-foot-1, 225 pounds with solid speed, good agility, and enough contact balance to work though cramped conditions.
Haskins has played out of a variety of alignments in Michigan’s offensive scheme. He has lined up behind the quarterback in the i-formation and out of the Pistol set, as well as alongside the quarterback when playing out of the Shotgun. He is capable of running out of all three alignments and appears comfortable in each. Likewise, he appears capable of executing man-gap runs as well as runs using both inside and outside zone blocking schemes.
Haskins is also a capable receiver, both working as a check-down or screen-play option out of the backfield and as a downfield receiver when motioned to a wide receiver or slot position. He is capable of running good routes and shows reliable hands catching the ball. He does a good job of presenting a square target for his quarterback and catches the ball cleanly. Likewise, Haskins is a technically sound and reliable pass protector. He understands his role in the blocking scheme, sees pressure well, doesn’t shy away from contact, and has the play strength to hold up.
Above all, Haskins appears to be a very smart football player. He processes information quickly, reacting to the defense with little wasted time or motion. Likewise, he shows a sound understanding of his blocking schemes, complete with an understanding of when to follow his blockers and when to make use of cutback lanes. He also shows an innate understanding of angles and how to use his blockers to “hide” from defenders despite his relative height as a running back.
Haskins’ height is also his biggest weakness. While he has good contact balance most of the time, low tackle attempts – such as swipes at his ankles – seem to trip him up relatively easily. Likewise, he can find himself upended while trying to pick through traffic. He also has a slight tendency to appear tentative when approaching “dirty” runs. While Haskins has a good burst through the line of scrimmage, he doesn’t consistently use it when he knows he’ll be running into a pile.
Overall Grade: 7.4
Hassan Haskins projects as either a starting running back or a high-volume rotational back for a team that freely substitutes it’s runners.
Haskins is a “complete” back who can play on any down and distance, or in any situation. He does everything asked of him well and has the ability to play in a variety of schemes and alignments, which should give him appeal to just about every offense.
Haskins is one of those players that doesn’t have any one trait that stands out as truly “elite”, but instead is greater than the sum of his parts. That is, in part, because he is so well-rounded that he can produce in just about any situation. But also, he appears to be a very smart runner who has learned how to maximize his skillset. Haskins has a great understanding and feel for his blocking schemes. He consistently does a good job of setting up and following his blockers, and understands where his running lanes will develop.
Likewise, he consistently does a good job of using his blockers to shield him from the defense. He doesn’t just make sure his blockers are between him and defenders, but he adjusts his angle to stay out of defenders’ line of sight and maximizing his running room.
Haskins’ ability as a pass catcher and pass protector will also keep his value high for teams that use their backs in the passing game. He can be motioned to create match-ups or reveal coverages, and he is a reliable asset as both a receiver and blocker.
All in all, Haskins has a remarkably well-rounded skill set for the modern NFL. He might not be a flashy home run threat or a human highlight reel, but he does everything a modern running back needs to do, and does it well.