RSP Boiler Room No. 146 RB Karan Higdon (Michigan): Quality Over Quantity

Michigan running back Karan Higdon doesn’t see a lot of targets in the passing game. Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines one of those rare opportunities for the 2019 NFL Draft prospect.

Michigan. Jim Harbaugh. Big offensive linemen. Power football.

If we were sitting in a candle-lit room with incense and a crystal ball while chanting “The team, the team, the team,” we might begin to hear “The Victors” and sense the spirit of Bo Schembechler marching into the room.

The Wolverine football program wins with a potent ground attack and Higdon is the figurehead in the backfield. He’s a good college running back who hits gap plays decisively and finishes runs with his pads low and his pistons pumping.

It’s a sight you’ll see 18-28 times a game. What you won’t see but a fraction of that volume is Hidgon targeted on a passing play.

Volume in the passing game has become a determinant of skill for NFL running back prospects. There are so many players that teams must evaluate that a runner lacks significant volume, it’s easy to fall into the trap that the player isn’t a good receiver.

The Jaguars and Seahawks were surprised about the respective receiving chops of Leonard Fournette and Alex Collins. Watch enough of their college tape, and there are illustrations of good receiving technique and difficult targets.

No evaluator wants to make a judgment about a player’s skill set based on a handful of exposures but sometimes that’s the reality of the situation. Higdon could be one of those prospects in 2019.

If that’s the case, this is the type of play from Higdon that fits some of the targets I got to see from Fournette and Collins that helped me conclude that each was a competent receiver.

You work with the information you have. Although Higdon will lack a worthwhile sample size, the number of skills embedded within this catch make it a worthwhile play to base judgment on the player — if that’s the extent of the player’s use.

This analysis of Higdon 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. 



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