Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech

Scouting reports of running backs and fullbacks in the 2010 draft.
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Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech

Postby Pudge » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:20 pm

Georgia Tech Junior

PROS: Has excellent power and good balance and is very hard to bring at times. Keeps his feet moving after contact and fights for extra yards. Tends to crave contact on the second level and has a good stiff arm. Shows some quickness and cutting ability and able to sidestep a defender in the hole. Shows ability and potential as a blocker in pass protection because of his size and strength.
CONS: Doesn't seem to show a lot of vision and will dance too much at times in the backfield. Doesn't always run behind his pads.
OVERVIEW: Dwyer plays in Tech's flexbone triple option, which really isn't a scheme that is conducive to NFL running. Basically there isn't a lot of variety for him besides the toss sweep and dive play. So despite the physical tools, I'm not sure he has developed the vision necessary to be a good runner on the vast variety of other plays he'll be asked to run in the NFL.
NFL FORECAST: You like Dwyer's potential and there are times when he reminds you of a player like Marion Barber with his power running. And I think he could be a solid feature back for some team, particularly if/when he improves in pass protection. And maybe it's just because of the scheme, but there seems to be something missing from Dwyer's game, and I can't put my hand quite on it. But I would compare it to the lack of the "it" factor when watching a quarterback. So at this point, I really don't trust Dwyer. At least not to come in right away and be an impact player as a feature back. I would expect him to get off to a relatively slow start much like Rashard Mendenhall or Cedric Benson. And a slow start meaning that he'll probably have to be a complementary runner and won't have quite the impact even that role that people expect within his first year or two. If there are intangibles for running backs and they need them to succeed at the NFL level, then I have yet to see them from Dwyer. But again, that might have been their scheme holding him back. So I would say there is a buyer's beware on Dwyer. I think he's too talented to be a bust, and really there haven't been that many "true" busts at this position in the pros. Sure, plenty of disappointing players (Ron Dayne, T.J. Duckett, William Green, Chris Perry, Reggie Bush, etc.), but rarely are running backs complete non-factors as pros unless injuries are the problem. But Dwyer is a boom/bust prospect that will probably either be the next Larry Johnson or the next T.J. Duckett.
ATL FORECAST: Dwyer wouldn't be a bad fit here in Atlanta because he offers the type of powerful, workhorse back that Mularkey tends to prefer. But his immediate contributions to the team would be fairly minimal since he doesn't seem the type that can be a serviceable third down option off the bat. So he'd only probably only play minimally as a rookie, and only get reps when Turner was injured. Perhaps if Turner continues a downward decline, he could be thrust into the starting lineup midway through his second season. But if Turner continues to play at a relatively high level in 2011 and beyond, Dwyer isn't really going to see the field. He could make a good successor for Turner, but basically it'd be a Ricky Williams-Deuce McAllister or Marshall Faulk-Steven Jackson situation, where both players really couldn't co-exist on the same team. So you'd have to get rid of one, presumably Turner. So really drafting Dwyer would only be smart move for the Falcons if they believe this is likely to be Turner's last year in Atlanta. Otherwise, they are probably better off targeting a player that is bit more complementary to Turner, i.e. can contribute immediately on third downs.
VALUE: Dwyer is a first round talent, but again I don't really trust him. I'd feel comfortable taking him in the early part of the second round in the Top 40, where if he does turn into T.J. Duckett it wouldn't bite me in the butt. But a team looking for a workhorse back that already has a third down option like Houston or San Diego wouldn't be mistaken if they used a Top 25 pick on him.

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

SPEED: 3.5
POWER: 4.5
HANDS: 2.0
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Re: Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech

Postby Mr. Offseason » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:53 pm

Pros: Has an impressive combination of size, power and speed. He has the size to run over defenders and to break arm tackles with ease along with a pretty good stiff arm, but he also has the speed to get the edge and to break off long runs and to outrun players who may have angles on him. He shows pretty good vision and does a good job of making one cut and getting North-South even when he gets pitches in Georgia Tech’s option oriented offense. Shows some ability as a receiver out of the backfield also and shows decent hands.

Cons: He operated out of a triple-option offense so it is kind of hard to project how well he will transition to the NFL. I can’t say for sure that he will by watching him play. He runs upright at times and doesn’t pummel people in the open field like you would necessarily expect out of a man his size. He shows good vision, but often times he had gaping holes or blockers out on the edge and just had to make a cut to get to them and then was in the open field. He has good power, but runs out of bounds far too much for my liking. I would like to see a guy with his size and power as a runner to lower his shoulder and get a few more yards at the end of his runs instead of tip-toeing out of bounds. He needs work as a blocker but that can be coached up in the NFL. Is a decent receiver but I don’t entirely trust his hands.

Overall: Dwyer is an impressive specimen and was very productive at Georgia Tech but I have my doubts. He doesn’t run as hard as I expected him to and doesn’t finish his runs strong and seems to prefer to run out of bounds and avoid contact. He shows good vision, but it is hard to evaluate how much was his vision and how much it had to do with his offensive line making it easy for him to figure out where to run at times. He has an impressive combination of size, speed and power which gives him a lot of potential as a runner, but some of his fundamentals are questionable to me. His combination of size, speed and strength reminds me a bit of Michael Turner, but he doesn’t run as hard, run through tackles as well or finish runs as strong as Turner does. He does have similar speed for a big running back to break off big runs like Turner does though. His path to NFL success may be similar to Turner’s in that he may need a supporting role for a couple of years while he polishes his fundamentals and gets coached up, then he may be able to emerge as a starter on his team or he can leave for greener pastures to become the feature back. But I don’t think Dwyer is going to make the immediate impact in the NFL a lot of people will expect from him or that people expect from running backs in general. His ceiling is a quality RB in the NFL, perhaps as good as Turner, but his ceiling is a #2 or #3 RB with good, size and speed that never really puts it all together. I tend to believe that he will get some time to develop and end up being a good running back, but I think he is a year or so away from making a significant contribution.

Projection: 2nd round: He might go early in the 2nd but I think the mid-late 2nd is where he will end up. Personally I would jump all over him in the 3rd though.

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

SPEED: 4.0
POWER: 4.0
HANDS: 2.5
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