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 Post subject: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:42 pm 
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C.J. Spiller
5-11/196
Clemson Senior

PROS: He has elite speed and acceleration and once he gets on the second level is likely to take it the distance every time. Is shifty in the open field and practically impossible for any college-level defender to tackle him one on one in space. Usually avoids the big hits because he's so fast, it's hard to get a square hit on him. Shows decent patience and vision. Has quick burst to hole, pressing it, and has the lateral burst to bounce it outside. Can be a dangerous cutback runner for similar reasons. Has good hands, adjusts to the throw. He's dangerous after the catch, working very well in the flat, on screens, and on wheel routes. He can line up in the slot. Effective in pass protection, showing ability to chip pass rushers to buy quarterback some extra time. Very good returner that shows ease weaving through traffic
CONS: Dances too much when he gets in space, going east and west too much. Needs to do a better job running between tackles. Too often looks to bounce play outside and get big yardage rather than taking what is given to him. Lacks the power to break many tackles. Needs to get stronger, particularly in order to improve in pass protection.
OVERVIEW: Spiller was a dynamic weapon at Clemson, that his senior year formed the entirety of their offensive attack for the most part. He split time with James Davis for three years, and was a big play threat. He showed more maturity and toughness as a senior than he did in his previous years. He almost transferred after his freshman year. Scored 8 touchdowns on kickoffs and 1 on punts during his career. Scored a touchdown in all 14 games as a senior, finishing that year with 1212 yards, 5.6 yards per carry, and 6.8 yards per touch on offense. Also averaged 32.8 yards per kickoff and 4 scores as a senior.
NFL FORECAST: A year ago, if asked about his potential, I would have said he wouldn't be any better a pro than Reggie Bush. Because as a junior, like Bush has been as a pro, he didn't show toughness and wasn't going to be a reliable runner. After this year, I would say his potential is closer to Chris Johnson. Like Johnson, he has great speed to take it the distance on any given play. He isn't as tough as Johnson, nor does he has his vision, so I wouldn't be expecting any 2000-yard season from him at any point in his career. In the end, I can split the difference and say he'll be better than Bush, but not quite as good as Johnson. So that probably makes him like Felix Jones. But regardless in the right offense he's going to at least be a weapon. His Bush-like ability to be a factor in the passing game and a matchup nightmare for teams will assure that. And his ability as a homerun threat in the running game will certainly be an asset. He is good enough to come in right away and compete on third downs, although there is room for improvement as a blocker. But it won't be a major obstacle going forward because he already has comparable ability as a player like Warrick Dunn and Johnson in that role. I'm not thoroughly convinced he can be a lead back like Johnson in that he can consistently get 15-20 carries per game and produce on a weekly basis. But I do think he's a guy that should at least get 10 carries, and if he can be spelled in short-yardage and in the redzone, then teams should be happy with his production. But I'd be a bit reluctant to completely turn over the keys of the offense to him.
ATL FORECAST: Spiller could be a dynamic weapon in the Falcons offense. He would provide an immediate upgrade over Jerious Norwood because his superior speed, versatility, and fresher legs. He would fit that niche nicely as a third down back. And he has the potential to be the lead back in the Falcons ground game down the road if/when the team goes to more single-back sets to feature Matt Ryan's passing ability. But given Mularkey's preference for a power running game, it's hard to see Spiller reaching his full potential as a Chris Johnson-type here in Atlanta. Instead, he would be used more on a level comparable to Norwood or Bush. He would be a significant part of the offense, but not sure the coaching staff would fully embrace his skillset to be the man.
VALUE: Spiller has first round ability. Because I'm not convinced of his future as a lead back, I would be reluctant to take him in the Top 20, but for a team that already has an established power runner and just looking for that shot in the arm offensively, he might just be worth a middle-first round pick.

SKILLS
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average,4-very good, 5-elite

SPEED: 5.0
POWER: 2.0
AGILITY: 5.0
VISION: 3.0
HANDS: 4.0
BLOCKING: 3.0

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"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.


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 Post subject: Re: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:51 pm 
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Pros: Pretty good size with great speed and quickness. He is a threat to score any time he touches the ball. He is a dual threat back as he can run the ball and he is a good receiver out of the backfield, making him very dangerous. He is also a very good return man, and should get opportunities to return kick-offs in the NFL. He has good vision and does a good job of making a cut and attacking the seam when he finds room to run and not dancing around in the backfield. He also has the speed and quickness to bounce a run outside if there is nothing available inside. He can run through shoddy arm tackles, but his game is more predicated on shiftiness, making people miss and outrunning people than running with enough power to run over people. He has a good burst to hit the hole and accelerates in the blink of an eye, which makes him a nightmare in the open field. He also shows pretty good ability as a blocker when he stays in the backfield in that role.

Cons: Does not run very hard, but that is to be expected of a speed back. He won’t necessarily go down at first contact, but rather at the first appropriate form tackle he encounters. He doesn’t have the best leg drive or leg strength to keep his legs moving to either drag the tackler with him or to break out of the tackle all-together. He does a good job of fighting through tackles, especially ones that are too high, but at times he will struggle for too long and make himself susceptible to a strip. When guys are tackling high in a group one of them will go for the punch or strip, and I have seen this happen to Spiller a couple times where he is fighting for extra yardage and the ball pops out when a group of players are around him. He just has to go down. He could stand to improve as a pass blocker, but that can be said of most running backs in any class. One thing that concerns me a bit is how much he bounces runs outside. Reggie Bush got away with that in college, but obviously it is much harder to do in the NFL. You have to take what you can get inside unless you have a clear avenue to bounce it outside. Spiller is good about recognizing that, but even still at times I have wondered if he could have cut a run back for decent yardage instead of bouncing it outside the tackle box. I think that comes back to him not having the best vision as well as not running as well between the tackles as you would like to see.

Overall: Spiller is a very good running back prospect and is a true dual threat because he is such a dangerous receiver out of the backfield. He is worthy of a 1st round pick and I would be shocked if he isn’t the first running back off the board, but I can’t help but feel he is a little overrated because of his big play ability. People will see his size, speed and quickness and immediately think “Chris Johnson” and salivate over him, but I am not sold on him like I am Chris Johnson. I don’t think he is good enough at running between the tackles or at finding cut-back lanes in tight quarters with his vision to be a work-horse back in the NFL. He isn’t tough enough as a runner and he doesn’t run well enough between the tackles, plus he would wear down in that role. His role is as a situational back, similar to Reggie Bush or Jerious Norwood, in that he won’t get more than a handful of carries but he will be used in a variety of different ways. He will spell the starting running back with 8-10 carries a game and get more touches as a receiver and in all probability as a return man, and that is where he will be the most dangerous. He won’t wear down, he will get opportunities to play against a tired defense, he will get chances to match up with linebackers in coverage out of the backfield or in the slot and he will be able to get into the open field where he is most dangerous. I don’t think he will ever be the main man in an offense like Chris Johnson is, but I do think he can be a dynamic weapon like Bush is in New Orleans. He has that kind of speed and playmaking ability out of the backfield or as a receiver to do so.

Projection: Top 25: He could go as high as the Seahawks at #14, but if he isn’t drafted there he could go #15 to the Giants, #18 to the Steelers, #21 to the Bengals, #22 to the Patriots, #23 to the Packers or #24 to the Eagles. I don’t really think he will slip any farther than that, since all of those teams could theoretically use a situational back.

SKILLS
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average,4-very good, 5-elite

SPEED: 5.0
POWER: 2.0
AGILITY: 5.0
VISION: 3.0
HANDS: 3.5
BLOCKING: 3.0

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