Scouting Steelers Final Draft Pick FB Noah Herron

Moved into the starting lineup as a senior, leading the team in rushing with 274/1,381/5 on the ground and 36/351/1 as a pass catcher. Shared the ball with Jason Wright as a junior, yet still posted 739 yards rushing with five scores.

Noah Herron School: Northwestern
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 224 40: 4.74 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Moved into the starting lineup as a senior, leading the team in rushing with 274/1,381/5 on the ground and 36/351/1 as a pass catcher. Shared the ball with Jason Wright as a junior, yet still posted 739 yards rushing with five scores.

Positives: Good-sized ball carrier with solid running intangibles. Keeps driving forward displaying strength in his lower body and a punishing runner between tackle who picks up yardage off initial contact. Works to finish runs and always giving top effort. Also patient, waits for blocks to develop and immediately finds the running lanes. Solid receiver out of the backfield, extending his hands to catch the ball away from his frame.

Negatives: Lacks speed and agility around the corner. Not an elusive runner who can immediately change direction or make defenders miss. Must pick all aspects of his blocking.

Analysis: An offensive threat as a ball carrier or pass catcher, Herron's ultimate NFL position could be at fullback. Has potential as a triple threat player, yet must quickly improve all of his blocking skills as well as intensity.

Herron is a versatile back who more than capably took over the running back duties in 2004 as the team's heir apparent to Jason Wright. Like Wright was, Herron is an excellent receiver, solid blocker and strong rusher. His skills gave the Northwestern offensive coaches a lot of flexibility when designing and calling plays. He has some of the best hands on the team and showed a great ability to find the crease and seams of a defense.

Herron was rated one of the best running backs in the Midwest by PrepStar as a senior at Mattawan High School. He was a member of the Detroit Free Press Top 25, Associated Press All-State and three-time first-team all-conference squads. As a senior, Herron missed his first three games with an ankle injury, but recovered to rush for 842 yards (8.3 avg.) and 19 touchdowns. He also played linebacker, with 36 tackles and five blocked kicks that season. For his career, he ran for 5,544 yards and scored 92 times. The team achieved a 26-4 record during his tenure. Herron also averaged 20 points per game for the fourth-ranked basketball team in the state.

Herron redshirted in 2000 at Northwestern. He appeared in eight games in 2001, missing the final three contests with a stress fracture in his foot. He finished with 39 yards on three carries (13.0 avg.), 103 yards on six kickoff returns (17.2 avg.) and caught two passes for 18 yards. He appeared in 12 games as a reserve running back in 2002, gaining 365 yards with seven touchdowns on 66 attempts (5.5-yard avg.). He snatched 15 passes for 184 yards (12.3 avg.) and totaled 99 yards on seven kickoff returns while adding seven tackles on special teams.

With Wright and Terrell Jordan ailing in 2003, Herron saw considerable time in the backfield, finishing second on the team with 119 carries for 739 yards (6.2 avg.) and five touchdowns. He hauled in 19 passes for 228 yards (12.0 avg.) and a score and returned three short kickoffs for 29 yards. When called upon to start, he tallied four 100-yard performances.

Herron was a consensus All-Big Ten Conference second-team selection. He was named team co-MVP and the Big Ten's Back of the Year by the Chicago Tribune. He ranked second in the conference and 14th nationally with an average of 115.1 yards per game. He finished with the fifth-best single-season rushing total (1,381) in school history, carrying 274 times (5.0 avg.) with 14 touchdowns. Herron ranked third on the squad with 36 catches for 351 yards (9.8 avg.) and a score, as he amassed 1,732 all-purpose yards.

In 45 games, Herron piled up 2,524 yards with 26 touchdowns on 462 carries. His 2,524 yards rank fifth and his 26 scores on the ground rank fourth on the school's career-record list. He snatched 72 passes for 781 yards (10.8 avg.) and a pair of scores. He also gained 231 yards on 16 kickoff returns (14.4 avg.) and recorded 14 tackles (11 solos) with a forced fumble. His 168 points scored rank ninth all-time and his 3,536 all-purpose yards rank fifth in school history.

ANALYSIS



Positives: Has a thick, stocky build with solid overall muscle tone, good bubble, thick chest, thighs and calves … Has decent speed and quickness off the snap, but compensates for a lack of blazing speed by his responsiveness to reading inside blocks and his powerful leg drive to break tackles … Runs low to the ground and has the hip wiggle to bounce off tackles … Shows good body lean and lower body power … Has just enough speed to hit the edge and bounce to the outside, but is best when running between tackles … Has the hip weave to elude and developed good juke and burst ability in 2004 … Runs hard and plays with good instincts, awareness and run vision … More of a north-south runner with good weave and knee bend … Turned into an effective receiver underneath, showing the ability to spot the seam and settle in the zone … Runs good routes out of the backfield and maintains concentration going for the ball in traffic.

Negatives: As a runner, he has an above-average start, but lacks good lateral quickness and is not really a shifty runner … Needs to have a hole and room to run in order to have success, because he is not a real creative runner without much elusiveness to make defenders miss in the open … More effective when running up the middle, as he does not have the second gear to beat defenders to the perimeter … Willing blocker but is just adequate, as he can recognize and try to pick up the blitz, but lacks good agility to sustain and does not generate much power with his hands, despite his size … Does not show explosion or burst coming out of his stance, needing to build up to top speed … Even with his size, he does not seem able to power through blocks upfield as a receiver, needing to gather before gaining acceleration.


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