PROS: A good north-south runner with a good combo of speed and power. Has nice power, fighting for extra yards and keeps feet moving after contact. Plays with good balance and burst, showing the footwork and quickness to sidestep to defender on the second level. Shows nice hands and a capable receiver. Has potential in pass protection.
CONS: Lacks quickness to the hole. Can be overly patient. Doesn't have quickness or burst to bounce plays outside or take advantage of cutback lanes. Doesn't always play behind his pads, and lacks pop as a downhill runner. Needs to be more physical given his size in pass protection. Doesn't always play with great vision.
OVERVIEW: He's got a good combo of power and speed, but he's more fast than quick. Was the man as a senior, and had his most productive year with 1362 yards (5.2 avg) 10 touchdowns and 20 catches. Split carries for much of his career with Brad Lester, although he was the lead rusher in each of the past three years.
NFL FORECAST: The problem with Tate's game is the lack of ideal burst. He's got speed, but he's not fast. He's slimmed down a bit since the end of the season, so that probably should help him get a step or two quicker. He's a player that reminds me of Matt Forte. I think like Forte, he can be a factor in the passing game. But like Forte, I'm not sure he can consistently capitalize as a lead back. He's probably going to be a player that reflects his offensive line. When his blockers prevent penetration, and open big lanes for him, he has the skillset to take advantage. But despite his size and speed, he doesn't play as big as he's listed nor as fast as he times. What you see on tape more often than not is a guy that looks to be around 210 pounds and runs in the 4.5 range rather than a guy up around 220 and running in the low 4.4s.
ATL FORECAST: Tate could be a challenger to Norwood for the third down role, and because of his size and better durability has a chance to succeed Turner down the road as the lead back. Tate probably isn't good enough to be the sole ballcarrier that Mularkey prefers, and would be best splitting carries with a more explosive homerun threat. And he's not really going to be the ideal short-yardage back either. He could win a third down role fairly early on because he is essentially a nice blend of Norwood and Snelling. He could be a capable role player, but I'm not sure he would rise beyond being a 10-15 carry guy in Atlanta.
VALUE: Tate is a player that should probably go in the third or fourth round for a team looking for an all-around back that can share the load.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average,4-very good, 5-elite
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.