2020 NFL Draft RB Watch: Edwards-Helaire continues to impress, plus the rise of the dual-threat quarterback
College football is seeing innovative ways to run the football
On any given week, it would be easy to highlight the elite draft prospects that separated themselves from the rest. Utah's Zack Moss and Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor had huge days for their respective teams. The hope this week is to shine the spotlight on some players that do not get the same level of national attention.
CBS Sports examines the highs and lows that running backs had to offer this week across college football.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU
Edwards-Helaire is undersized by NFL standards at 5-foot-8 but he produces every single week. His latest output included three touchdowns on six carries against Arkansas. There are traits that will impress talent evaluators. On these runs, fans will notice his patience, jump cut ability and explosion. When he gets in the open field, he breaks down his footwork which forces the linebacker to commit and Edwards-Helaire bursts in the opposite direction.
The Tigers use Edwards-Helaire in the passing game a lot and he attacks each route with the passion of a wide receiver. The Louisiana native has a strong base which allows him to run through tackles and maintain balance.
There was a very good story regarding Edwards-Helaire and why he has two last names. It should give fans an idea of the type of character the running back possesses as well.
Michael Warren II, Cincinnati
Warren is a bigger back that plays with aggression. He has rushed for at least 100 yards in three of his last four games. Over the same time period, he has seven touchdowns for the American Athletic Conference East division champion Bearcats. In the highlight video below, fans will see his balance through contact as well as some jump cut ability to find a clear path. The junior from Toledo is averaging 4.8 yards per carry this season.
Warren is a one-trick pony in the sense that he is not providing much support to Cincinnati's pass game.
Darius Anderson, TCU
Anderson averaged 120.8 rushing yards per game through the first four weeks. In the seven games since, he has averaged just 44.1 rushing yards per game, including seven yards on five carries against Oklahoma this week. His play has diminished in the passing game as well. His stay among the top ten running back prospects was short-lived.
The Horned Frogs did lose starting right tackle Lucas Niang for the season, which is undoubtedly hurting the team's ability to run the football.
Anthony McFarland Jr., Maryland
McFarland was one of the most explosive players in college football last season averaging nearly eight yards per carry. He burst onto the scene in a near win over Top-10 Ohio State. McFarland recorded nearly 300 rushing yards that day. His sophomore season has been less impressive. The Maryland native has topped 100 rushing yards just once in ten attempts.
In his latest output against Nebraska, McFarland averaged 3.5 yards on ten carries. The once-heralded high school recruit has two seasons left before he is forced to enter the NFL Draft. He has a lot of upside and that may shine through in a setting like the NFL Combine. At this point, it may be in his best interest to return for a junior season, however.
Dual-threat quarterback trend
College football saw an unusually high number of quarterbacks that led their team in passing and rushing this week. Kentucky's Lynn Bowden Jr., Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts, Wake Forest's Jamie Newman, California's Chase Garbers, Nebraska's Adrian Martinez and Notre Dame's Ian Book were all examples.
The NFL has welcomed several non-traditional passers in recent years such as Josh Allen, Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson. The college game is often a reflection of changes at the next level.
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