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Isaiah Crowell 2014 NFL Draft Profile

One of this years most talented running backs is a blast from the past -- former UGA RB Isaiah Crowell.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Where Isaiah Crowell Wins

Isaiah Crowell, known by many for his freshman season at UGA and then his infamous off-field issues following, was likely one of the two most naturally talented running backs in the draft. Say what you want about him, but he can play. He has what Ryan Lownes called "The RB Holy Trinity: Balance, Vision, and Burst." He is a rare running back who possesses all three of these tools, and quite simply was the best player on the field every game.

His greatest asset is his burst and foot speed. He can out-run defenders to the edge, or press holes at the line of scrimmage and make a decisive cut to blow by defenders downhill. He is not just a speed back though, as he has shown the strength to break first contact at the line of scrimmage and in open field.

In space, Crowell shows the ability to make defenders miss by hitting a second gear or using very good spatial awareness and balance. He always knows where he is on the field, and he is a very controlled runner. He keeps his feet moving and the first tackler will rarely bring him down in space.


Where Isaiah Crowell Needs To Improve.

The one asset of Crowell's running ability that did not blow me away was his actual elusiveness. He can beat defenders in a number of ways, but ultimately was not very elusive or creative in how he did it. He has good short area explosion but seems to struggle when forced to change direction or string together moves. He is very much so a downhill runner, and while there is nothing wrong with that, he will not be able to outrun NFL defenses like he did in college.

Crowell displayed good strength and ability to break tackles but he still needs to add a good amount of bulk, specifically in his upper half, to have these yards after the catch skills translate. I am also not sold on how much he can stay on the field on third down. He has a good receiving skill set but was not tested much as a pass blocker.

Overall Impression

Like I said earlier, Crowell is one of the two most naturally talented running backs in this class (along with Carlos Hyde) and early on I like him as a change-of-pace style back. Unfortunately, whether Crowell succeeds or not depends on things that are not football-related. I do not know Crowell, so I'm not one to pass judgement, but he needs to hope to have his off-the-field concerns squared away if he wants to play up to his potential.

Grade: 7.25, Day 2.