+Good power for size
+Really deceptive with his eyes
+Great body control
-Literally did not catch a pass this year (9 in his career)
-Too small to be much of a pass blocker
-Shorter than ideal
A lot of people have been saying lately that running backs won’t be going in the first round anymore. People say they are a dime a dozen, they get injured a lot, etc. But it’s not actually a bad idea to draft running backs in the first round. It just feels that way because we are in the midst of an incredibly long drought of good running backs emerging from the college ranks. Do you want to know how bad it is? To remind you how short a running back’s career is, 22 of the top 25 rushers were 28 and under last season (DeAngelo Williams, Frank Gore and Fred Jackson were the exceptions). But just 5, that’s right, 5, of those 22 will be under 26 by the start of the next regular season. One of those 5 was benched late in the season (Stevan Ridley), and another was Le’Veon Bell, a marginal running back who only made the list because his team had no options and gave him a ton of carries. The other 3 are Alfred Morris (who turns 26 during the next season), Eddie Lacy, and Zac Stacy. I’ve scouted 5 drafts. 2010 was a good year for running backs. Since then, every running back class I have seen has been terrible. Eddie Lacy, Doug Martin, and Gio Bernard (when healthy) were the only guys who had first round film. Zac Stacy (a personal favorite of mine, a guy I was obsessed with last year), David Wilson, and Trent Richardson (thought he was crazy overrated, had long speed but little quickness) were on the border. We are in the midst of a weird drought, and the quality of the NFL’s running game will deteriorate in general until, as simple as it sounds, good running backs enter the NFL. We’ll probably see that in 2015, when Todd Gurley, T.J. Yeldon, Melvin Gordon, and Duke Johnson all are draft eligible. We won’t see it in 2014, where Lache Seastrunk is the only guy who has borderline first round film, with Andre Williams and Bishop Sankey not too far behind.
Seastrunk has solid measurables. He has mediocre height at 5’9, mediocre bulk at 201lbs, and solid speed with a 4.51 40 at the NFL combine. 201 is the lowest I have seen him listed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets to at least 208lbs by the start of his NFL career. He did a respectable 15 bench reps at the NFL combine, simply average for his size, but led all running in both vertical (41.5 inches) and broad jump (11-2) at the combine. Both of those numbers are indicative of his lower body explosion and power. His hands are on the small side but fairly normal for his height, although the correlation between height and hand size is much weaker than say, height and arm length. He has some durability concerns, but I can’t offer much insight in that regard given that I have no medical background, and I won’t try to analyze his injury issues.
Seastrunk has beautiful stats. I don’t care if it’s the Big 12 (not known for run defense); a running back who had over 1000 yards in both his sophomore and junior seasons with a 7.7 and 7.4 yards per carry respectively is impressive (18 touchdowns in 2 years doesn’t hurt either). But as incredible as his yards per carry is, what I love most is the lack of carries. He finished his college career with less than 300 touches, albeit barely. Those are fresh legs, a major positive in the opinion of any scout. He comes with much less wear and tear on his tires than a typical collegiate running back, which will bode well for him long term in the NFL.
Seastrunk is a good inside runner. He’s very fast on film and elusive through the hole. He plays hard, he has good power for his size, and solid vision. As a small back, when running inside, he must find balance in his timing as he bursts through holes. Power backs just run straight up the gut and try to run over guys, but little backs like Seastrunk must be a little more careful about running into guys when running inside, as he doesn’t have the power to simply run through people. Seastrunk has found a pretty good balance in this regard, not too impatient and willing to change his speeds yet also not indecisive. He has outstanding body control and can stop on a dime. making it very hard for linebackers to take the proper angle on him, and he flashes a moderately effective stiff arm and great lateral quickness. He’s not very good at evading arm tackles and he struggles to weave through tight spaces in traffic. Still, he’s a pretty good inside runner for his size.
Seastrunk is a solid outside runner. First of all, like many quick backs, he makes his living running outside. He can be a solid inside runner when you respect the outside, but if you can stop him from doing a great job as an outside runner, you’ll be fine. He’s too athletic for linebackers to keep up with him as an outside runner, so the key to stopping Seastrunk is good tackling from your corners. He’s best suited to a team with receivers who can block (Chicago), for Seastrunk has proven that he can’t consistently evade the tackles of corners. Still, he moves really well laterally, which helps him as an outside runner, and he changes directions almost instantly. His body control makes him a challenge in the open field, and he can be very deceptive with his eyes. He has decent vision as an outside runner and does a respectable job of following his blocks.
Seastrunk’s biggest problem is passing downs. He is 5’10, 201lbs, and he didn’t have a catch this season. Too small to block and clearly doesn’t have much experience as a pass catcher. His routes are pretty iffy and he’s rarely on the field for pass plays in general. His hands aren’t terrible (from his sophomore film, obviously), but his blocking is pretty bad, showing little on field awareness as a pass blocker and a lack of power. Until he improves his routes and becomes a reliable pass catcher, he is unplayable on third down.
Ultimately, I like Seastrunk. He’s as elusive and hard to tackle as any running back in this class with the ball in his hands, and his elusiveness gives him plenty of potential. Very underrated prospect.
NFL Comparison: David Wilson, except a little worse as a pass catcher
Grade: 86 (worthy of a mid second round pick)
Projection: 73 (will be a late third round pick)