2020 prospect primer: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Name: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Position: Running Back
NFL Grade: 6.39 ("Will be a starter within first two seasons")
Stats: Edwards-Helaire's last season at LSU saw him rush for 1,414 yards on 215 carries with 16 touchdowns on the ground. But that's not all. He also starred in the receiving game, catching 55 passes for 453 yards and a receiving touchdown of his own. Because of his workload, he wasn't used as much on special teams in his junior year, but returned 10 kicks for a total of 214 return yards, anyway. He was named First-Team All-SEC and the team's MVP after putting together 'one of the most outstanding all-around seasons for a running back in school history,' according to the Tigers' website.
Comments: If you want to talk about a true hybrid running back coming out of college and ready for the big stage – that would be Edwards-Helaire. He was a finalist for the 2019 Paul Hornung Award, which is given to the nation's most versatile player, because of his mix of rushing and receiving stats last season. An immediate contributor at LSU, by Edwards-Helaire's junior season, he had mastered the traits of a three-down back and become a true asset on special teams as a returner.
His 5-8, 209-pound stature works more for him than it does against him. As solidly as he's built, he still ran a 4.6 40-yard dash at the Combine. It could even help in his pass protection abilities, though NFL.com's Lance Zierlein says that's currently an area of his game in need of improvement.
Here's what else he has to say:
"Compact, sudden back who runs low to the ground with power and balance to break tackles and the agility to bob, weave and shake them in tight quarters," Zierlein wrote. "Edwards-Helaire runs with instinctive eyes and quick-cut foot speed. He doesn't really have tells or tendencies and can alter the rush track when needed, which makes him so unpredictable for defenses. While he can create for himself, he's better off working inside-out as NFL linebackers might be able to outflank him on pure outside runs. He has pop behind his pads but lacks short-yardage size. He has the talent to become a good, three-down back in time, but needs to improve in pass protection."
But he's sure fun to watch on tape.
The Bucs bringing in Tom Brady likely means they'll need a pass-catching back to complement their running back stable. That's what Brady has been used to with guys like James White, who is currently in New England. Edwards-Helaire would be a realistic second-round option, should the Bucs choose to go that route in the draft this year.