Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines two reps from one of the best pass-protectors at the running back position in this 2021 NFL Draft class, Indiana’s Stevie Scott III.
The demand for a running back to deliver in pass protection depends greatly on the scheme. At least, that’s what you’ll read in some circles. After all, the Chiefs didn’t need Kareem Hunt to be a competent blocker when he was in Kansas City.
They also had Patrick Mahomes, who delivered an MVP campaign in 2018 despite getting pressured 214 times—the most in the league and 16 more than the Texans, the next-worst team. Mahomes also took a league-high 67 hits and no other quarterback came close to the number of hurries (121).
While the Chiefs’ offensive line (and Mahomes) were better at reducing the pressure in 2019, the loss of Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff in 2020 only five other teams in the league allowed more pressure on their quarterback this year.
So yeah, the ability for running backs to pass protect isn’t a big deal anymore if you have an MVP-caliber talent like Patrick Mahomes or Russell Wilson. For the rest of the league, a running back who can pick up blitzes and hold their own with a wide range of athletes still has value, even if it’s not the primary role for the position.
Indiana junior running back Stevie Scott III is a big and agile running back who can tote the rock despite the potential concerns from stat-based analysts who will see a decline in rushing production for three consecutive years. After studying six games of Scott’s 2020 campaign, the context behind that decline is likely the dearth of open creases compared to previous seasons.
He’s good enough to earn a roster spot in the NFL and when he does, one thing that isn’t debatable about Scott’s game is his pass protection. He’s among the best in this running back class. After charting six games from his 2020 season, Scott delivered on 89.6 percent of his pass protection assignments—and I marked down for reps where he didn’t allow pressure on the quarterback but the quality of the rep projected poorly for the NFL game.
Whether it’s stand-up or cut-blocking, slot blitzes, or edge rushers in a tight pocket, Scott gives his quarterback a fighting chance to stay on his feet and deliver an accurate ball.
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