Matt Waldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio examines two pass protection assignments of NFL Draft prospect Jordan Scarlett and why running backs have a steep learning curve in the pros.
Jordan Scarlett is an NFL-caliber ballcarrier. He’s a patient runner who will also hit tight creases and bleed everything he can from them. He ran over and bounced off LSU’s linebackers throughout their 2016 contest.
Like most NFL prospects at the position, how fast Scarlett develops as a pass protector will determine his opportunity to see playing time in an offense. The most difficult part of pass protection for running backs during their first year in the NFL isn’t the physical or technical elements of blocking opponents. It’s the diagnostic complexities of defensive alignments, blitz looks, pre- and post-snap changes, and the contingencies that he and his teammates along the offensive line must take into account within the designated protection scheme.
The two plays in this Boiler Room episode are a straightforward assignment and one that has layers of diagnostic complexity.
I don’t claim to have an accurate label of the protection call for the second play in the episode. While being accurate will often help me determine exactly what happened and the nature of the flawed play, what I shared is enough for anyone to understand that there are layers of complexity that a running back must learn in order to become a competent pass protector.
This analysis of Scarlett is only the beginning of what you’ll find every year in the Rookie Scouting Portfolio publication. For most in-depth analysis of skill players available, get the 2018 Rookie Scouting Portfolio. If you’re a fantasy owner the Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2018 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 each. You can pre-order the 2019 RSP beginning in December.