A 2013 three-star recruit out of American River Community College, Devontae Booker has started 19 of 23 career games played at Utah. Missed the final three games of the 2015 season after undergoing left knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Solid height and weight with a sturdy frame and very good athletic ability.
Weight: 212 lbs.
Class: Redshirt Senior
Estimated 40-Yard Dash Time: high 4.5s
A zone blocking scheme in which he can utilize his vision and patience to locate the running lane, make one cut and explode through the hole to the second level of the defense.
Devontae Booker possesses elite vision and patience after taking the handoff. He also displays good agility, making one cut behind the line of scrimmage and accelerating through the hole to the second level of the defense. Maintains balance as he runs through traffic, while keeping his legs churning before falling forward to maximize yards after contact.
Here’s an example of Booker’s strengths on full display. He uses his vision to follow his blocks and burst through to the second level. After contact, he keeps his legs moving and falls forward to gain an extra five yards.
Very good, competitive toughness as he excels in short-yardage and goal line situations as well as against top competition. Averaged 133 yards per game in seven contests against ranked opponents. Showcases impressive football intelligence when the play breaks down, using his vision to improvise and create something out of nothing.
In the clip below, the blocking breaks down but Booker has the vision and elusiveness to turn a certain loss into a big gain.
In the passing game he’s a dependable receiver, even lining up in the slot in empty sets. Adjusts to the ball well and turns upfield quickly.
While Booker has the vision and burst to get to the second and third levels of a defense, he doesn’t possess the breakaway speed to be a home run threat. Too often he’s caught from behind by a linebacker or defensive back. The biggest issue however is his ball security.
In just 23 career games played, he fumbled the ball nine times. The problem is in the way he carries the football.
Just look at the videos and pictures at the top and to the right. The ball is not properly secured and can easily be stripped. That was the case in the play below as the Arizona defense creates a turnover because Booker is way too loose with the ball; carrying it more like a discus rather than a football.
Even if Booker can protect the ball on first and second downs, his pass blocking needs to improve if he is going to be on the field on third down. He aggressively attempts to take on pass rushers, but a marginal anchor allows defenders to easily push him back towards the quarterback.
Age is also going to be an issue for some teams. He’ll be 24 years old before his first carry in the NFL. To put that into perspective, Booker is only three months younger than RB Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bell was drafted in 2013 and has already played three seasons in the NFL.
Overall, Devontae Booker is a starting RB in a zone blocking scheme in which he can utilize his vision and patience to find the open running lane, make one cut and burst through the hole. Is not a RB with home run speed to breakaway from defenders in the secondary.
His recent knee surgery will force him down draft boards, as will his age. He’s not an every down back, but is capable of carrying the ball 15-20 times per game if he can fix his ball security issues. In the end, Booker should come off the board early on day three of the 2016 NFL Draft.