This past February, our latest "Introduction to Scouting" class was taught by Greg Gabriel. Over the next few weeks, we'll be featuring the best scouting reports from the graduates. If you would like to join the next session, it begins May 19th, and runs for six weeks. You'll learn a high level of scouting knowledge from one of the most seasoned vets of the industry, Greg Gabriel, whose scouting career spanned 29 seasons. Register at nfpscout.com.
Today, the class takes on LSU running back Jeremy Hill.
STRENGTHS: Powerful build with prototypical height and weight. Physical running style – lowers shoulder to power through defenders and keeps legs churning to consistently pick up tough YAC. Possesses excellent
balance – bounces off defenders/arm tackles to stay on his feet and rarely goes down on initial contact. Effective inside one-cut runner – good burst to and through the hole, gets downhill quickly and can pick
and slide his way through traffic. Reliable dump-off/screen option in the passing game. Protects the ball well (one fumble, 371 career touches). Flashes the ability to be a solid face-up blocker in pass pro; can drop his base and anchor. Still has a lot of tread on his tires. Competitive.
WEAKNESSES: Lacks upper echelon speed or second gear to separate from second level defenders and take it the distance. Is a bit tight in the hips and struggles stringing together moves to make defenders miss in space. Doesn’t showcase the ability to create when the hole closes. Needs to show more patience when working off blocks. Generally runs behind his pads, but could be more consistent. Not sudden enough to be an effective route runner in the passing game. Effort in pass protection needs to be more consistent. Has character concerns.
SUMMATION: Hill, who sat out 2011 due to legal issues, is coming off a productive sophomore season where he finished with 1401 rushing yards (6.9 ypc average) and 16 touchdowns, second most in school history. A big, thickly built back who runs angry, Hill is most effective between the tackles. He showcases nice burst to and through the hole with quick enough feet to slip through creases and pick and slide his way through traffic. However, he doesn’t have the speed and elusiveness to be a home-run threat once he gets to the second level. In the passing game, he has reliable enough hands to be a check-down option, but isn’t sudden enough to run the route tree. His receiving skills and upside as a pass protector, however, are adequate to be a three-down player. Overall, his competitiveness, exceptional contact balance and consistent ability to pick up tough YAC project him as a potential starter in a ball control, power-based offense. However, his character issues raise red flags and warrant a thorough background investigation.
STRENGTHS: Is strong runner who can lower his pads and push the pile. Hits the hole fairly quickly and shows balance in traffic, breaking arm tackles and finishes runs by consistently falling forward while consciously securing the ball. Best when running between the tackles. Competitiveness and toughness evident vs. both Mississippi State and South Carolina by taking on and violently running at and through defensive backs downfield. Also showed desire and determination vs. South Carolina by pushing the pile on short TD. A willing pass blocker who will step into the hole and take on LB's and DE's alike. Will miss a read (vs. Florida) and will, at times, dive at rushers vs. walling them off. Shows soft hands, but strictly as a check down, screen or swing receiver. Football smarts was visible on more than one occasion, two examples occurred vs. Florida: 1) effectively and aggressively cut block a free rushing DE on a designed short pass play to prevent a batted ball 2) intentionally stayed in bounds to keep the clock running
WEAKNESSES: Lacks top line speed and is not a home run hitter, although capable of long gainers as evidenced by his 50 yard TD vs. South Carolina. Lacks consistent vision, missing some holes and cut back opportunities (vs. Florida). Will run high into the hole at times and get stood up for little to no gain. Lacks elite athleticism to make jump cuts or sharp bursting cuts, rarely makes more than one move on any given play. Average agility and quickness, getting what's there but not often times more. Not a dangerous threat on the outside, but can make the corner.
SUMMATION: Good sized, thickly built running back that can be an effective between the tackles runner, capable of goal line carries. Strong enough, while showing the necessary desire, to pass block. Soft enough hands to remain an option on third down. Lacks elite athleticism to excel at any one area, but not deficient enough at any one to be a liability.
Strengths: Possesses a large frame in upper body and has above average girth in lower half of body... Can break tackles after initial contact which result in extra yards and is not afraid to lower his shoulder at the end of his runs... He tends to also show good balance by getting low and maintaining his center of gravity when running between the tackles and tends to fall forward at the end of runs... His legs are always moving and if defenders do not wrap up the lower half of his body, he will continue to move the pile... Very physical in his running style and is not afraid to punish opposing defenders... can showcase some instinctive cutback ability as well.
Weaknesses: Can lose concentration or patience on certain plays that will result in a loss or no gain... His field vision can be inconsistent at times where he can either see a lane and break a run for 20+ yards or hesitate with a result of a short loss on the play... May not showcase elite speed at the position that allows him to separate from opposing cornerbacks and safeties... Pass protection could see some improvement when planting his feet and preparing for contact.
Overall Impression: A big running back who can potentially play all 3-downs in the NFL. Has a physical element to his running style that allows him to pick up extra yards on nearly every play.