2018 NFL Draft Preview: Kalen Ballage

Arizona State
Running back
6-2, 227, Senior

Kalen Ballage is a bigger receiving back that projects as a day-two pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

  • Shows burst between the tackles
  • Has big play ability
  • A consistent threat in the passing game
  • Does not create his own space
  • Shows good balance through contact
  • Worked out of the wildcat a lot

Kalen Ballage was a big part of the Sun Devils’ offensive attack. His 536 yards on the ground don’t stand out as groundbreaking but his eight touchdown and 185-yard all-purpose performance against Texas Tech on Sept. 10 a season ago tied an NCAA record.

He was able to score for Arizona State 14 times on the ground in 2016. His ability to catch passes shows as a strength for the big-bodied running back. He was used as an option in the flat, as a check-down option, and sometimes used as a vertical threat to help stretch the defense. His size and ability to catch the football could make him a useful third-down back at the NFL level as he should be able to pass protect against solid pass rushers.

Ballage is a project player. He could improve his quickness and ability to gain yards throughout his final season of his collegiate career. He struggled to generate his own space but was able to show his burst in between the tackles and fall forward to make the most of his yardage with each touch. His placement as the Wildcat running back shows that the coaching staff had faith in his ability to run the football and had the patience to run behind his blockers.

This looks like it will be another solid running back class in this upcoming NFL Draft. Ballage will need to show more quickness and develop more value in early downs by NFL standards but should be a top three round pick in 2018.

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