Ryan Matthews  RB  Fresno St 

TALENT BOARD

 Round 4


 

STRENGTHS

Ryan has good size, strength and speed to play his position.  He looks to have nice hands coming out of the backfield and is a smart player who shows some leadership skills in his play on the field.  He does a solid job following his blockers, is a tough runner through the tackles and looks to have good balance.  Ryan is the type of back that looks at the game plan and follows it to the letter. 

 

NEEDS TO IMPROVE

Ryan seems to be a tough kid, but does not run with the aggression that you would like to see from a player who is his size.  He lacks quickness and vision in the hole and runs upright in a straight line style that could lead to injuries at the next level.  Ryan runs out of a spread offense and if the offensive line does not make their blocks, Ryan does not make any yards.  He also is not a very good blocker and does not read defenses or understand blitz pickup.  

    

BOTTOM LINE

Like I said, if the offensive line does not make their blocks, then Ryan does not gain any yards.  Now, I guess you can say that about a lot of running backs, but the difference is that, in Ryan's case, he is considered a top running back in this draft.  In my opinion, top running backs run with good lean, have vision and quickness in the hole,  have excellent balance and quickness and can make a big play out of nothing.  Running backs that do not have quickness and cutting abilities struggle at the next level.  A running back who can run in a zone blocking scheme, hmm....you should be able to find one almost anywhere in the draft or, for that matter, in free agency.  The Denver Broncos proved that when Mike Shanahan was the coach.  Ryan could be a very good back in that style of running offense, but we are looking at backs that have more ability than that when you draft a player in the first three rounds of a draft.  The play life of most offensive line zone blocking running backs is not long in the NFL because of the numerous injuries and lack of true running back skills.  I can see Ryan being successful like Kevin Faulk is for the Patriots, but he has to learn to read and block the blitz aggressively and right now he does not do that very well either.

 

Drew Boylhart  1/10