Is Clyde Edwards-Helaire worthy of first-round pick?

After going undefeated and winning the national title, LSU football’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire declared for the 2020 NFL Draft. Let’s get to know him.

 

The LSU Tigers are the defending national champions and one of the core members of the team was running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He’s one of many LSU Tigers declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft and is leaving LSU a year early.

 

Edwards-Helaire is from Baton Rouge, La., sticking close to home when he chose to attend LSU and came out of high school as a four-star recruit.

 

In his first year at LSU, Edwards-Helaire played in nine games and recorded 77 total yards. As a sophomore, he played 13 games total and posted 146 rushing attempts for 658 yards and seven touchdowns and he also recorded 11 receptions for 96 yards.

 

Edwards-Helaire recorded career-high stats in his junior year, posting 55 receptions for 453 yards and a receiving touchdown in addition to 215 rushes for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also earned All-SEC honors on the first team as a running back and the second team as a returner and was a 2019 Paul Hornung Award finalist.

 

Strengths

The LSU back has three years of kick returning experience, possesses excellent ball security and his physicality allows him to run low to the ground with precise bend and balance. He’s able to cut-and-go without stopping, can alter his run tempo when needed, and he runs crisp routes of the backfield.

 

In the 2019 season, 36 percent of Edwards-Helaire’s carries produced first downs or touchdowns, his eyes and feet make him unpredictable and yards after contact are nearly always automatic.

 

Weaknesses

Edwards-Helaire has many strengths and is a very well rounded player, but needs to improve on his speed on longer runs, his speed to the corner and he could increase his power near the goal line and on short runs. He stands at 5-foot-7 and weighs 207 pounds with 29-inch arms, which gives him a limited catch radius, he’s on the smaller side for an interior runner and he needs to work on his pass protection.

 

Draft Projection

Edwards-Helaire performed relatively well in the combine and earned a 6.39 prospect grade which equates to the ability to become a starter within his first two years. However, many players performed better than Edwards-Helaire in the combine and that could affect how high he goes in the draft. In my mock draft, I placed him with the Baltimore Ravens and the 28th pick.

 

Projection: Late-first, early-second round

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