RSP Boiler Room No. 95: RB Derrius Guice (LSU) and Judging On-Field Speed

Matt Waldman uses the tape of Guice, a top running back prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft, to illustrate how he evaluates speed on film and compares it to 40 times at the NFL Combine.

I don’t guess weight at the county fair, and I don’t guess 40 times on film. If you expect me or any evaluator to provide an estimated 40-time anywhere close to the reality you’ll see in February and March workouts before the NFL Draft, think again.

You may wonder why anyone should even bother with studying speed until the NFL Combine. After all, the Combine supplies a number that we can use to compare to others and that has terrific value. I have answers.

I have answers.

Although the tape won’t define a player’s speed with a number, it will often deliver dozens of runs to evaluate speed over the course of four years that you won’t get from four total reps at the NFL Combine and a Pro Day. These pre-draft events don’t reveal a player’s stamina to run faster than his opposition, his toughness to respond after being punished for 3.5 quarters, and his knowledge of how to time his speed within the context of his blocking scheme and the alignment of the defense.

The tape will help you see if the player’s claims that his workout was hampered by injury, weight gain, or illness. The 40-time may not be a one-size-fits-all number when it comes to certain positions. Running back is an excellent example.

Successful, productive running backs with long careers in the NFL during the past 10-15 years have ranged from 185 pounds to 260 pounds. Just on weight alone, that range spans the dimensions of cornerbacks, safeties, inside and outside linebackers, and defensive ends.

We don’t apply 40 times equally to these five positions.  We shouldn’t apply it equally to a position with a range of physical dimensions that is nearly as broad as the entire spectrum of defensive personnel.

I discuss this in more detail in this Boiler Room episode featuring a 70-yard touchdown run by Guice. I also illustrate how I examine speed on tape for running backs before and after the Combine.

For analysis of skill players in the 2017 draft class, download Matt Waldman’s 2017 Rookie Scouting Portfolio today! Better yet, if you’re a fantasy owner the Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2017 RSPs at no additional charge. Best, yet, 10 percent of every sale is donated to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse. You can purchase past editions of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio for just $9.95 apiece.


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