Tre Mason   RB   Auburn

TALENT BOARD ROUND 1

STRENGTHS
Tre has the athletic talent and running back skills that could make him the top running back pick in this draft. He has the quick feet, lateral explosion, vision and lower body strength to be considered as a starting running back for the team that selects him. He is almost impossible to tackle in the open field or when he runs inside and through the tackles. Tre has the natural skill of falling forward and not taking a direct hit when you tackle him. He is strong and will move the chains on third and short as well as break the big play. On screen passes he makes his opponents look silly trying to tackle him in the open field and you better have some very good tackling safeties when he runs through the tackles or he will be waving bye bye to them and scoring touchdowns all game long. His style of quick cutting lends itself to less knee injuries because he doesnít have the long strides that require a player to plant his leg to make a cut. He uses what I call a double step to make his cuts and that means his leg is not planted for any length of time and players with this kind of agility have less chance of knee injuries. You need quick feet, a short stride and the ability to explode out of your cuts along with excellent vision to be a top running back for the next level. Tre has all those skills, which makes him a potential impact running back for the team that selects him.

CONCERNS
Tre has to stop fumbling or he will not reach the impact level he reached at the college level. He also has to want to be a better blocker. This lack of effort to block for his quarterback on passing downs is a character flaw that is very disturbing. Tre has the talent and football intelligence but on the field seems to feel that blocking for his quarterback on passing downs is not a priority. If you expect everyone on the team to block for you I would expect that you would be grateful and, when needed, block as best as you can for them. It shows selfishness on the field that might have repercussions in decision making off the field.

BOTTOM LINE
Tre is a very talented football player but in analyzing his play on the field, the lack of effort in blocking for his quarterback is troubling. In interviews I would show him the film and ask him point blank what seems to be the problem with blocking? If teams are not happy with the answer, I could see some of them dropping Tre on their boards in spite of his obvious talent. There is way too much talent and skill in other areas that make this decision not to block for his teammates more than troubling. He has the talent, the size and the football intelligence to identify and pick up blitzing linemen; he does get in their way, but once he engages, most of the time he doesnít give any effort at all. Truthfully, Tre has top ten talent and skill Ė his play against the top competition at the college level and being the impact player of his offense proves that. You can downgrade the value of the running back position all you want, but as far as Iím concerned, there are exceptions to every downgrade position -- and Tre is that exception. Some teams will tell you that you can find safeties anywhere in the draft and still safeties are selected in the first round. So why not running backs? Iíll tell you this: you donít find running backs anywhere in the draft. You just get lucky when you do. The only reason that Tre is not selected in the first round will be because of his lack of blocking and his fumbling; however, if he improves in both of those areas, you have selected a Pro Bowl running back. I believe he will improve in both of those areas and for me if running back was a priority for my team in this draft I would not hesitate in selecting Tre at any point in the first round but he better have a good answer for not blocking and tell me how he thinks he can correct his fumbling or he would be dropping on my board too.

Drew Boylhart
MAR/2014