Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room focuses on the pad level of 2019 NFL Draft prospect, RB Tony Brooks-James.
Power, leverage, and balance are three different qualities that work in harmony for excellent running backs. However, it’s important that you note the difference when scouting.
You may not always be able to separate them when studying a play, but there are many instances where you can. Tony Brooks-James is a short and small back. He lacks power, but he plays with good leverage thanks to his pad level and a forward lean through contact.
A back like Brooks-James won’t break a ton of wraps because he lacks the power to run through anything more than a reach for a body part, but he can earn yards through contact because of his leverage. Here’s a good example of this 5’9″, 185-pound (after gorging on Waffle House, maybe…) runner working through the wrap of a defensive tackle.
While power can break through wraps and push and pull defenders, leverage can make it difficult for a defender to earn a grip and make him work longer and harder to get a wrap. This buys the running back more space to operate for a longer period of time.
Brooks-James won’t be carrying the load for an NFL team if he makes a professional roster, but his pad level and leverage can help him, and other smaller backs, work between the tackles as a subpackage option.
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