A 2020 NFL Draft scouting report for LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire really caught my attention in the game between LSU and Auburn about halfway through the 2019 season. It seemed like every time Edwards-Helaire touched the ball, he found a way to break free and make a play. He also did a great job as a safety valve for Joe Burrow in the passing game. I knew right then and there, Edwards-Helaire was a 2020 NFL Draft prospect that we had to pay attention to.
The very next week, LSU traveled to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama in a matchup that everybody was excited to see. Against an Alabama defense filled with future NFL stars, Edwards-Helaire balled out again, carrying the ball 20 times for 103 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught nine passes from Burrow for 77 yards and one touchdown.
Simply put, Edwards-Helaire was fantastic in that game and was a major reason why LSU was able to leave Bryant-Denny Stadium with a victory. In that two-game stretch, Edwards-Helaire caught my attention and he just continued to roll after that. He was undoubtedly one of the best running backs in college football this season and should be considered one of the top-tier prospects at the position in the 2020 NFL draft class.
Weight: 209 pounds
Career Stats (38 games): 370 carries, 2,103 rushing yards, 23 rushing touchdowns. 69 catches, 595 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown.
2019 Stats (15 games): 215 carries, 1,414 rushing yards, 16 rushing touchdowns. 55 catches, 453 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown.
Edwards-Helaire sets up his blocks well, showing impressive natural patience behind the line of scrimmage and fantastic ball carrier vision. He is a smooth runner who has quick feet and impressive COD quickness. He also shows great lateral agility and uses jump-cuts well to change his path of attack and fool opposing defenders in traffic. His short-area quickness jumps off of the screen on tape.
He works through traffic extremely well, showing impressive natural instincts with the ball in his hands. Edwards-Helaire does a great job of finding the correct hole and adapting his plan of attack on the run. He also shows good elusiveness in the open field.
Edwards-Helaire is not the biggest back, but he does show strong power at the point of attack. He does a great job of keeping his center of gravity low and consistently drives forward after the first contact. Edwards-Helaire is an extremely tough runner who never stops grinding for extra yardage and he shows good contact balance as well.
In the passing game, Edwards-Helaire separates himself from most of the other backs in the 2020 NFL draft class. He is a fantastic route runner out of the backfield who can create space against linebackers who try to check him in man coverage. Edwards-Helaire also does a nice job of finding space against zone coverage. This guy is just a smart football player who has fantastic natural on-field instincts. If there is open space to be found, he will find it.
Drops are not an issue for Edwards-Helaire and he does a nice job of catching the ball and turning up-field quickly to pick up extra yardage. He is solid in pass protection, showing impressive competitive toughness when asked to block. That being said, he was not asked to do much blocking at LSU. It will be interesting to see how he holds up when he is asked to protect the passer more often.
Honestly, I do not see many weaknesses in Edwards-Helaire’s game. His pass protection grade is incomplete, but he does show some promise in that area. His raw speed and burst through the hole are average, but it is not like he is slow. He has enough speed to be a consistent competitor at the next level.
Overall, Edwards-Helaire is an extremely talented running back prospect whose combination of quickness, power and receiving ability will make him a productive player at the next level. He is a scheme-versatile running back who should easily be able to handle three-down running back duties if asked to do so.
The 2020 NFL Draft is loaded with impressive talent at the running back position, but Edwards-Helaire is among the best backs in this class. I could see him coming off of the board anywhere from the mid-second round to the early-third and any team that takes him is going to be extremely happy with their decision.