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NFL Draft Under the Microscope: Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk

Shutdown Corner
NCAA Football: West Virginia at Baylor
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(USA Today Sports Images)

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Leading up to the NFL draft on May 8-10, Shutdown Corner will examine some of the most interesting prospects in the class, breaking down their strengths and weaknesses.

Lache Seastrunk
Running back
Baylor
5-foot-9, 202 pounds
2013 stats: 158 carries, 1,177 yards, 11 touchdowns
40-yard dash: 4.51 seconds (official time at NFL scouting combine)

The good: For some reason, Baylor hardly used Seastrunk for the first half of the 2012 season. Once they started giving him the ball, their offense and the program took off. That's not entirely a coincidence. Seastrunk was perfect for the Baylor offense, breaking big play after big play down the stretch of that season. He averaged well over 100 yards per game and became a Heisman Trophy candidate for 2013. His strength is his speed. He was originally an Oregon recruit (you may remember he was caught up in the recruiting scandal that got Oregon in trouble), and fits the mold of Ducks players who find a crease and can hit a home run. He averaged 7.7 yards per carry in 2012 and 7.4 yards per carry last season. That's pretty impressive.

The bad: For NFL teams, there are a lot of things about Seastrunk that should give them concern. First, even though Seastrunk was fantastic every time he touched the ball, Baylor did not think he could handle a lot of carries. He averaged just 14.4 carries last season. He had 20 or more carries in a game only one time in his college career. And for a small-ish change-of-pace back, Seastrunk has not shown he can catch the ball out of the backfield. He had zero catches last season. Baylor's offense rarely uses backs in the passing game, so teams will have to take a leap of faith that Seastrunk could do it in the pros after barely showing it in college. Then Seastrunk, who has great football speed, ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the combine. That's not bad but for a back whose entire game is built off speed, it's not an eye-popping number to make scouts forget all the negatives. He also dealt with some injury issues last year and missed two games, which doesn't alleviate concerns about his size and durability. 

The verdict: If you want to be negative about Seastrunk, you have a back who hasn't shown he can be a lead back, but if he's a third-down back he has never shown he can be a receiver out of the backfield. And he was productive in a Baylor offense that, like Oregon, spreads the field and opens up huge holes for backs with inside zone running. Those huge holes won't be there in the NFL. Still, the positives about Seastrunk are intriguing. He was incredibly efficient at Baylor and ran hard for his size, and just because he hasn't carried the ball more or caught it out of the backfield doesn't mean he can't do it. He's a high risk-high reward pick in the middle rounds. If a coaching staff can teach him what he needs to be a complete back, he could be a very good part of a committee, though it's hard to see him ever being a Jamaal Charles or LeSean McCoy-type lead back. But he does have the ability to be a nice contributor who hits a big play here and there. There's value in that.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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