AnalysisI remember this running back from Alabama as one of the most talented players I saw in the 2012 class. This former four-star recruit didn't disappoint in Tuscaloosa. He played his role and was very effective in both the run and pass game for the Crimson Tide. Yeldon finished with 3,322 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns and caught 47 passes for 494 yards and two scores. He's not a speed back but a patient runner with good vision, balance and shows the ability to stay on his feet because he just runs hard.
Dave-Te' Thomas Player Evaluation
Instant Analysis from Scout's Jamie Newberg:
The Jaguars just got Blake Bortles some help, drafted running back T.J. Yeldon. This former four-star recruit didn't disappoint in Tuscaloosa. He played his role and was very effective in both the run and pass game for the Crimson Tide. Yeldon finished with 3,322 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns and caught 47 passes for 494 yards and two scores. He's not a speed back but a patient runner with good vision, balance and shows the ability to stay on his feet because he just runs hard. There’s no question he could be an every down back in the NFL.
Report from NFL Scouting Services' Dave-Te' Thomas:
Like former Tide tailback Mark Ingram, T.J. Yeldon possesses good but not great speed to get to the edge. His best ability as an outside runner is his vision to identify opening holes. He has enough burst and power to run through tight areas and shows decisive cutting ability. He just doesn't waste time looking for the “perfect” rush lane, but can make defenders miss in tight quarters with good lateral agility.
Yeldon’s nagging injuries in 2014 might have attributed to him not demonstrating his normal that sudden initial burst and good stop-&-go action that he showed as a freshman. He does do a decent job of maintaining balance and accelerates out of his breaks well.
He shows good vision and change of direction agility moving around in the backfield, but might be better served lowering his pads, squaring his shoulders and trying to power through tackles, rather than try to dance around them. He shows good anticipation in the second level, but was not as quick to find the seam to break through for long runs as a sophomore and junior like he did in the past.
Yeldon does not have the acceleration to separate from the pack when turning the corner to get into the open. He stays low in his pads and is a deceptive runner, but lacks suddenness, as this allows defenders to chase him down once he gets into the second level. He can surprise a lethargic defender with his head and shoulder fakes.
Yeldon is more of a finesse-type runner than a power back, despite his size. He needs to stop dancing so much in the backfield, as he might have good weight room strength, but not enough to push the pile and get through traffic. He runs hard, with a good pad level when near contact, but needs to show better body lean in attempts to fall forward. When he gets too tall in his stance, he can get knocked back, as his base will narrow.
The Tide junior has become a decent weapon catching the ball out of the backfield. He is a good hands catcher who will extend to catch outside his frame. He is used mostly on screens, but his hands are of a receiver’s quality, as he can snatch, turn and accelerate without having to gather. He has not been used much on deep routes, but with his leaping ability and hands, he appears capable of combating defenders for the ball on deep patterns.
Yeldon is not used much as a lead blocker, but shows good form attacking defenders in pass protection. He is quick to locate stunts and games, even when aligned deep in the backfield. He shows good hand placement when facing up and knows how to angle in the second level when trying to cut block.
He squares to the target and strikes with arms properly extended, never letting them get too far outside his frame. His hip snap lets him get out on the edge to help the offensive tackles with the speedier pass rushers and he also looks to get a piece of the defender.
NFL Scouting Combine measurables
6-1/226 (4.61 forty)
31 5/8-inch arm length
36-inch vertical jump
117-inch broad jump
7.19 3 cone drill
4.22 20 yard shuttle Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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