04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Ravens' picks: Round 3/84 --Bernard Pierce, RB, 6-0, 218, Temple...Pierce is a zone runner, extremely physical and durable. He rushed for 3,570 career yards and 53 touchdowns. - The Sports Xchange
Just as when he was lightly recruited out of high school, Pierce is difficult to evaluate now because his results seem to add up to more than the sum of his individual abilities.
He has decent explosion and quickness, as demonstrated with his 36 1/2-inch vertical jump and 10' 8" broad jump. But his functional football speed does not seem to match his decent 40-yard time of 4.49 seconds. He runs a bit upright and his body seems tight rather than agile.
Pierce also had several lingering physical issues, including a bad hamstring and concussion, and started only 24 of his 34 games. Still, he managed to carry the offense in 2011, rushing 273 times for 1,481 yards and 21 touchdowns and was second in nation in scoring with 162 points. He finished his career with 3,570 yards rushing (5.38 per carry) and 54 touchdowns.
Pierce does have a large frame and good toughness and the more of that he can assert at the next level, the better because he is probably not going to dazzle NFL defenders with his speed and elusiveness.
Strengths: Possesses a bigger frame with a strong, compact build -- has done a nice job adding bulk to his frame the past three years. Flashes initial burst and good lateral quickness to sidestep defenders or bounce runs outside with very good foot quickness. An instinctive runner with elusive, slippery moves with the first defender rarely bringing him down in space. Displays very good feel as an inside and outside runner with above average vision to make sharp cuts -- very good patience and footwork to pick through defenses. A physical runner who doesn't shy from contact, doing a nice job lowering his pads and absorbing contact with balance -- fights for every yard with toughness to run through arm tackles. Put together a strong collegiate resume the past three seasons with above average production -- holds school single-season records for rush scores (27) and 100-yd rush games (9), plus career record for rush scores (53).
Weaknesses: A tall, upright runner who lacks imposing power as a runner. Not a quick-twitch athlete and is forced to gear down too much. Not very loose throughout his frame and looks tight when quickly redirecting. Lacks great straight-line speed and might struggle to win the edge at the next level, lacking an extra gear to separate himself. Tends to dance too much and go east/west or leave his feet instead of taking what's there. Has some ball security concerns and offers limited versatility at the next level with little experience as a receiver (only 19 career catches) and as a return man (only 1 career return on special teams) -- raw in pass protection and needs work in this area. Took a beating in college and has strong durability concerns, missing several games over his career and didn't look 100% most of his career -- missed extensive time with hamstring issue and also a concussion.
NFL Comparison: Chris Ivory, New Orleans Saints
-- Dane Brugler