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.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average,4-very good, 5-elite
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.