Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room No. 153 RB Tony Brooks-James (Oregon): East-West to North-South

In this RSP Boiler Room episode, Oregon running back Tony Brooks-James executes a cutback with a strong cut that Matt Waldman seeks from NFL Draft prospects. 

Whether it’s a small back like Tony Brooks-James or a big back like LeGarrette Blount, when it comes to evaluating the caliber of a runner’s cutback ability, I want to see how well he can change direction from an east-west orientation to a north-south path.

How many steps does it take? How mobile are his hips and ankles? How well can the runner accelerate after the change of direction?

Brooks-James does all three things rather well on this run.

The more adept a runner is at executing cutbacks of this nature, the greater potential he has as a zone runner — especially an outside zone runner. There are many productive NFL running backs who need 2-3 steps to transition from east-west to north-south. Ideally, you’re seeking 1-2 steps although there are specific plays where runners can do a tremendous job setting up the cutback so more steps aren’t an issue.

As Mark Schofield highlights in this Teddy Bridgewater post, it’s often about “feel” for the situation.

This analysis of Brooks-James is only the beginning of what you’ll find every year in the Rookie Scouting Portfolio publication.

For the most in-depth analysis of offensive skill players available (QB, RB, WR, and TE), get the 2019  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 now through December 28 and get a 10 percent discount.


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