Next up on our tour of potential future Jaguars is Clemson running back CJ Spiller. Depending on how the Jaguars have Spiller graded, this could be one of the first tests to Gene Smith's committment to BAP. Spiller was an explosive, All-Purpose back throughout his career at Clemson. However, he truly came into his own during his senior year, where he was mentioned as a possible Heisman contender.
You may be thinking, well why would the Jaguars go with a running back if they have Maurice Jones-Drew? Well, MJD's decline during the back half of the year weakened the argument that he can be a 16 game 25 carry a year back. However, paired with another elite talent like Spiller could give the Jaguars the most dangerous backfield in the NFL.
The first thing that pops out to anyone who studies Spiller is his versatility. Not only is he a danger out of the backfield, he is so good at catching the football, he could be a first round pick at wide receiver. Spiller was Clemson's big play threat, and when he wasn't lining up in the backfield, he was lined up as a wideout more often than not.
He uses his speed and vision to his advantage. Not since Reggie Bush has a player made such a career of making defensive players look silly. Regardless of his timed 40, Spiller has game speed. He hits it into high gear quickly and doesn't let off. Though he reportedly ran a 4.12 40 with his strength and conditioning coach.
The stat that jumps out to me the most is that CJ had just TWO fumbles in his entire four year career. Yes, two. In addition, Spiller was the unquestioned leader and team captian at Clemson, another characteristic Gene Smith values.
However, that versatility comes at a price. As I mentioned earlier, when he wasn't lined up in the backfield to carry the ball, he was usually lined up as a wideout. This mean's that he isn't near the pass blocker you would want to see in a running back. While that wouldn't be much of a problem if he is a change of pace back to start off, it'll be a major liability for any team that will make him their primary back.
In addition, he doesn't have any real physicality to his game. He is much more adept at running away from a defender than running through one. He never looked natural trying to plunge head on into a pile, and never moved it. In the NFL, it could potentially limit his game to being just a situational player.
Video Killed The Scouting Report
CJ Spiller: By The Numbers
|At A Glance|
Position 1: Running Back
Position 2: Returner
|Class: Senior||Age: 22|
Projected Round: Top 15
1st Team All-American: 2009
ACC Career Leader All Purpose Rushing Yards
Joins Reggie Bush as only two players to have 5,000 punt return, 2,500 rushing, 1,500 kick returning, and 1,000 receiving yards in a career.
According to the Experts
Has elite explosion and reaches top speed very quickly. Creates separation in a blink and is often being chases from behind. Very difficult to get a clean hit on Spiller. Can explode through a lane the second it opens up and can change direction on a dime. Can make forty five degree cuts when running at full speed, a very rare trait. Feet are light on the ground.
The power aspect of the position is not his forte. He eludes contact because of his quickness and agility, but not as a result of him being soft. He will put his head down when he has to, but he doesn’t push piles forward. If a tackler can get their hands on him with any strength and balance, he won’t break the tackle. Doesn’t have a thick base to run through arm tackles.
Extremely fast with gamebreaking ability, instinctive, breaks a good amount of tackles for his weight, very elusive
Cuts outside too often, not assertive between the tackles, weak inside runner who won't do much around the goal line
Best Case/Worst Case
Best Case: Marshall Faulk. Faulk was one of the ring leaders in the Greatest Show on Turf in St.Louis. He could catch it out of the backfield, line up as a wideout, and could get the tough yards when needed.
Worst Case: Reggie Bush. While Bush hasn't been outright bad in New Orleans, he hasn't risen above being a very good role player.