Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines the NFL Draft prospects of Florida running Dameon Pierce, whose versatility and drive area big reasons why there’s a place for him in the league.
Pierce reminds me of Branden Bolden and Tim Hightower, two backs with the size and versatilty of every-down backs but lacked the elite athletic ability that teams seek from starters they want to build around.
Bolden became a special teams’ maven who consistently generates production in the Patriots’ offense when called upon, especially as a receiver inside the opponents’ 30-yard line. Bolden played 9 of his 10 years with the Patriots and will likely retire in New England.
If Pierce doesn’t earn a sizable role as a runner, he’s a good candidate for the Bolden Career Path — especially when you’re willing to split defenders at the goal line without a helmet. Not advisable, but definitely notable.
However, I think Pierce offers a little more than Bolden as a runner and receiver and that gives him more in common with Hightower. The former small-school sleeper from Richmond earned 10 touchdowns as a rookie for the Cardinals, working behind Edgerrin James.
During his seven-year career, Hightower had 3 seasons with at least 700 yards from scrimmage, including a 1,026-yard, 8-score campaign in 2009. He culminated his career with a 748-yard, 5-TD effort with the Saints.
Pierce is a cutback runner with contact balance who can win the ball as a receiver on contested vertical routes. His draft capital may be similar to recent Gator alumnus La’Mical Perine, who does everything well enough to earn a roster spot but nothing that stands out to earn significant playing time.
Unlike Perine, Pierce offers a little more power, cutback ability, and receiving skills to work his way into a long-term contributor who may never become a star but he can hold down a starting gig when the team is in need.
And as you can see from the photos, Pierce is a determined player with a special-teams mentality. Not much downside for a player who will likely earn a Day Three grade.
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