Finding Broncos: Scouting Tennessee Running Back Alvin Kamara

In our latest Finding Broncos, Nick Kendell returns to scout Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara.

Alvin Kamara, Running Back, Tennessee Volunteers

http://www.scout.com/player/156213-alvin-kamara?s=101

Combine Measurements

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 214 pounds

Arm: 32-¾ inches

Hands: 9-¼ inches

Combine Results

40-Yard Dash: 4.56 seconds

Vertical Jump: 39-½” inches *

Broad Jump: 131 inches *

Bench Press (225 lbs): 15 reps

*Denotes 90th percentile or higher compared against peers

Stats

Year Rush Att Yards YPC Rushing TD Receptions Yards YPC Receiving TD
2015 107 698 6.5 7 34 291 8.6 3
2016 103 596 5.8 9 40 392 9.8 4

Medical History

Suffered multiple knee injuries during his time at Alabama and at Tennessee. Running style suggests more injuries down the road.

Character

Was suspended multiple times during his early years at Alabama before transferring to Tennessee.

Pros

Constantly putting opposing defenders on skates. A very shifty runner that can embarrass talented defenders (see Zach Cunningham) if they do not approach with proper tackling technique.

Always just out of grasp of tackler in one on one situations. Can start and change direction with great fluidity. A creator in the open field and can make something out of nothing regularly.

A constant threat as a receiver for the Volunteer offense, will need to keep working as a route runner but solid enough that they shifted him to slot or out wide on different occasions. Does his best work in space so, coupled with his receiving skills, can be an excellent complementary back to a team that already has a between the tackles power back.

Although lacking an elite 40-yard dash, Kamara showed at the Combine that he has ample lower body explosion in his jumping drills.

Cons

Runs rather upright and prone to taking big hits. Oftentimes exposing himself and the ball to danger. Really can see his whole body jarred when taking on contact.

Lacks power in his frame. If tackler approaches with good angle and technique, Kamara will be brought down more often then not. Does not display proper vision, missing lanes or running into offensive linemen (which, to be fair, he had a poor offensive line in front of him).

Very raw as a pass protector and when he was asked to stay back and block, often struggled.

Never was a primary ball carrier. Split carries his entire career at Tennessee. Questionable what kind of workload he can handle.

Overview

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Kamara never was ‘the guy’ on his offense, but that didn’t stop him from being one of the more electric playmakers on his team. By just watching highlights, one would think Kamara is a first round selection, but a deep dive into the tape reveals multiple issues including fumbling and vision, as well as a run style that may leave him vulnerable to future injuries.

Even still, Kamara is a great playmaker in space that has a tendency to make defenders look silly. Will need to be a complimentary back most likely, but can be a weapon as a ‘lightening’ to another back’s ‘thunder’.

Fit With The Broncos

The Denver Broncos are looking at the likes of Christian McCaffrey and other scat-backs to compliment what the stable of C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker, and Kapri Bibbs already bring to the table. While, if in the future the Broncos move on from Anderson and Booker never develops into a prime starter, Kamara is not the type that can handle a between-the-tackles heavy workload, so that should drop his long-term value.

Alas, in a copycat league looking for Patriot-style backs who can catch the ball make plays in space, Kamara will be drafted higher than he likely should given his injuries, spotted usage, and skills as a running back.

Draft Grade: Round 3

Where He Goes: Round 2

Nick Kendell is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. Follow him on Twitter @NickKendellMHH.

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