2018 NFL Draft Preview: Derrius Guice

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Last year Derrius Guice replaced Leonard Fournette and rushed for nearly 1,400 yards on only 183 carries.

Derrius Guice avoids the biggest knock on top-level backs coming out of college, a huge work load. Leonard Fournette carried the football 300 times his sophomore season, which is a lot of wear and tear on his body. However, even if Guice carries the ball 300 times this season, he will have almost 100 fewer carries over the course of his career.

Guice isn’t the same type of runner as Fournette either, which should help decrease the risk of injury. Guice weighs in at 212 pounds, which is almost perfect for his 5’11” frame. Guice is built to sustain a full season, regardless of level, however his running style could increase that risk.

Guice runs like every play could be his last, which is fantastic. However, that style creates a risk for injury. When a defender knows that Guice won’t go down easily, the defender might go for his knees. It isn’t a dirty move but it does create an almost unnecessary injury risk.

Running Style

Guice is what most define as a “one cut back”, meaning that he puts his foot in the ground and gets up field. When he sees a hole there is no hesitation. He gets to and through the hole as quickly as possible but that doesn’t need to be viewed as a lack of patience. Guice has the patience to wait on a hole to open or for blocks to develop but he isn’t going to dance when the time comes.

The LSU back has the ability to put his foot in the ground and accelerate up field. His acceleration out of cuts cannot be downplayed, it is top tier. Not only does Guice have great acceleration, he has the ability to change direction without losing any speed. Part of the reason he can do that is balance, Guice does an excellent job of keeping his weight under him .

He is exceptional at running through contact on his legs. Standing at 5’11” Guice has a low center of gravity, which helps keep him upright. Guice isn’t so short people go over the top of him, but he also isn’t 6’3″ like Derrick Henry. Ideally running backs should be around 5’10” give or take two inches. That does not mean that good players can’t be on either side of the scale.

Athletic Ability

Guice is a top tier athlete. When Guice gets into the open field it is game over, not very many people in the world are going to catch him from behind. That could also be because he doesn’t give up on a run until the whistle blows or he crosses the goal line, whichever comes first.

Guice shows that top-level acceleration that can separate one running back from another. Guice also has the strength to handle himself as a pass blocker. Guice had a few plays last year where he knocked pass rushers around, which is an underrated trait for a college back. Technique can be taught, desire to block is harder to teach.

Bottom Line

Guice is currently my number one back, and that isn’t a knock on Saquon Barkley, I just really like Guice’s game. One thing I would like to see from Guice is more involvement as a pass catcher. I just want to see the ability to catch the ball and continue down field. If he can show that ability he can lock up the number one spot at his position.

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