Temple running back Barnard Pierce is a guy that when I watched him play, I thought he reminded me a lot of Matt Forte but I didn’t think he had the same kind of straight-line speed.
Turns out, he’s faster.
Pierce had a fantastic pro day for the Temple Owls, turning in a 40 yard dash time of 4.34 seconds, which is absolutely incredible. Pierce left school a year early much to the chagrin of his former head coach, but he should be a second or third pick almost guaranteed now after that kind of showing.
Last season, Pierce ran for 1,481 yards and 27 touchdowns, and while he is a big back, he’s not considered much of a power back, which is why some scouts have him in the third or fourth rounds.
Here is my scouting report:
Pierce is the type of guy who could come out after this year, his junior season, and make serious noise at offseason workouts. He is a physical marvel at about 6’1″ 220 pounds, and he reminds me a lot of Matt Forte with his ability to cut and his straight-line speed. I am not sure he has 4.4 speed like Forte, but he is definitely quick and a former track guy who can definitely burn defenders. Runs hard, will remind a lot of people of James Starks of the Green Bay Packers. Has had a huge career with Temple to this point, rushing for over 1,000 yards in two of his three seasons with 45 career touchdowns through 11/9/11. Needs to improve in his pass catching skills, but definitely has the ability to make plays in the open field. I am not willing to say he is a poor power back for his size, but he is definitely better suited to make plays on the outside and in the open field (similar to Forte).
Sometimes he will go down a little too easily on initial contact, but he is one of those guys who will have carries of 3, 4, 3, 2, and 3 yards and then just bust off a 30 or 40 yard rush. Nice agility, will at times try to do too much. Will have to make an adjustment to higher level of competition for sure, as he will not physically dominate most everyone like he does now at Temple. Good patience, doesn’t let the fact that defenses key on him on every play get to him as the game progresses. Solid balance, always looking for the open lane which can sometimes burn him as he will abandon initial gap read and try to reverse field.
PROS: Size, agility, big play ability, upside, hard runner, potential as a receiver, nose for the end zone
CONS: Lack of adequate competition, sometimes over-anxious, tends to rely too much on ability to dominate opposition with measurables, lack of receptions.
Player comparison: Matt Forte/James Starks