As we continue to progress toward the 2014 college football season, I want to continue breaking down the best prospects in the country, and we continue here with Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon.
Yeldon is a 6’2″ 218 pound former big-time recruit who could be the next in a line of Alabama running backs to be a first or second round draft pick in the NFL, joining Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, and Eddie Lacy.
Yeldon is not the bowl-you-over, power-style back that the aforementioned three players are, something you might assume given his size. He has very good speed and is very agile for a player of his size. The biggest problem I have with his game, which can be cleaned up, is the fact that he had five fumbles last season.
There’s no question this kid has talent. He was a blue-chip high school prospect who came to Alabama and had two seasons of 1,000 plus yards right away, including a yard per carry average over the two years of around six.
He’s obviously a back capable of carrying a full workload, but his game needs to go through a bit of a maturation process. He’s a solid receiver out of the backfield, but his pass protection needs work, and he should get more of it in a pro-style offense at Alabama. He has good quickness to the hole and has good ability in the open field to make people miss.
I have been deceived by Alabama running backs in the past, but I think I was right about Eddie Lacy and I think that Yeldon is a guy who needs a little more seasoning, but can be a very good NFL back when he’s given the opportunity.
His high-cut frame has proven to be an issue at times with ball security, but he has the ability to grow into a back the size of Adrian Peterson, which can’t hurt his chances.
I want to see Yeldon take the bull by the horns this year as a junior and flex his talent a little bit. He shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle of Alabama running backs with his ability and I expect him to have a big year.
Here’s a video cutup of Yeldon against Virginia Tech last year as a sophomore, courtesy of the great folks at DraftBreakdown.com.