In football, and really in life as a whole, the more diversified one’s skills the chances of success increase. A job seeker that has secondary degrees or is fluent in a second language probably has a higher chance of getting said job over the competition.
Football especially covets guys who bring multiple skill sets to the table. Look no further than in New Orleans where Taysom Hill has carved out a niche as a thrower, runner, receiver, blocker and special teamer. That’s why, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s ability as both a runner and a receiver, we should expect to see 22 in the NFL for many years to come.
Position: Running Back
Arm Length: 29”
Hand Size: 9 5/8”
40 Time: 4.6
Bench Press: 15 reps
Vertical Jump: 39.5
Broad Jump: 123
2019: 1,414 yards on 215 carries (6.5 yards per carry), 16 touchdowns; 55 receptions for 453 yards, 1 touchdown; returned 10 kickoffs for 214 yards
The elephant in the room is Edwards-Helaire’s size. Some teams may hold his shorter stature against him. Sure, he may not be the go-to option on a fourth and goal at the one situation but ask Nick Saban or Trevon Diggs if they think Edwards-Helaire is big enough to be an NFL running back.
What Edwards-Helaire lacks in size he makes up for with a low center of gravity and uncanny balance. Like New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara, Edwards-Helaire can absorb contact but stay upright and eek out a few extra yards.
Speaking of Kamara, Edwards-Helaire’s ability as a pass catcher will make him a lot of money. Edwards-Helaire can catch the ball out of the backfield but can also line up in the slot or even split out wide. He was even asked by teams to work with wide receivers at the combine.
Edwards-Helaire is quick rather than fast. His ability to cut and juke players out of their shoes will be how he gets his yards. He won’t win many foot races though, Pro Football Focus measured his breakaway percentage at 44.7 percent, 44th best in the country. He’ll need to improve as a pass protector moving forward too in order to be an every down back.
Edwards-Helaire’s short stature shouldn’t keep him from succeeding in the NFL. Plenty of guys with Edwards-Helaire’s size have enjoyed long careers. Think Darren Sproles, Maurice Jones-Drew or Doug Martin. Again, go back and watch the LSU-Alabama game and ask yourself can Edwards-Helaire play in the league. With his receiver-like ability to catch the football, Edwards-Helaire should, at the very least, serve as a complimentary piece for a professional team’s running back tandem.