Derrius Guice, LSU
Weight: 224 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.49 seconds
Vertical: 31.5 inches
Broad Jump: N/A
Seemingly the No. 2 running back on most analysts’ boards, Guice seems to be destined to go inside the top two rounds of the draft, and potentially at the end of the first round, though I wouldn’t expect that. He’s a downhill runner who plays with aggression and has little regard for his health or the tacklers. He’s got a giant tattoo on his back that says “savage,” which is all you really need to know.
He was considered a better prospect just one year ago but suffered a knee injury during preseason camp that he decided to play through, and it showed in his performance. Despite totaling 54 more carries in 2017, he finished with 136 fewer rushing yards and four fewer touchdowns than he did in 2016. Some say that the loss of Leonard Fournette put him in the spotlight and that he was better in a timeshare. Whatever the case, Guice has shown skills that should translate to the next level.
Vision/Patience: 4.0 out of 5 stars
He’s a downhill runner, so he needs to see a hole relatively quickly. He’s got a solid approach, knowing what kind of running back he is, putting his head down when he knows there’s nothing there. Once he hits the open field, he’s got enough lateral ability to make a defender miss, though that’s not his area of expertise. He’s one of the better goal-line running backs in the class, finding the smallest of holes to get into the end zone. It’s why he was able to score 26 rushing touchdowns over the last two seasons. He’s not going to be very patient with his blockers up front and will try to squeeze through a small hole before bouncing it outside. With a running back of his style, you shouldn’t expect too much patience if we’re being honest. He has some lateral ability, but it’s not his bread and butter. There will be times where he displays just the right amount of patience, and it happens to be on the goal-line, which gives him a solid bump in the category.
Elusiveness (twitch, juke, tackle breaking): 4.0 out of 5 stars
He’s not a twitch running back that will shake a defender out of his cleats, though he is one that will run a defender over in the open field. At 224 pounds, it’s what you’d hope for with him, though it’d be nice to see that more behind the line of scrimmage. If you give him a few yards to gain momentum, he’s going to be a handful to bring down, so you better hit him early, or force him to move laterally. He’s definitely above-average when it comes to his tackle-breaking abilities.
Speed: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Sure, his 40-yard dash was impressive for someone of his size, but he’s not going to be known as a speed guy in pads. As mentioned throughout this profile, he’s a bruiser, though it’s good to have that speed in the open field. Still, he’s above-average in this category as well, as he doesn’t leave you wanting more.
Pass-catching/Pass-protection: 2.5 out of 5 stars
I might be generous giving him two and a half stars here, as he could improve in his pass protection. He’ll often lower his head to make a block, leading him to whiff on pass rushers at times. He’s also seemingly unaware where the quarterback’s pocket is at times, standing too close to him in protection. What bumps him up is that he is a very capable pass-catcher out of the backfield, though you won’t confuse him for Christian McCaffrey any time soon. Using him in the screen game would be wise for his drafting team, as it gives him those few yards to gain some steam, making him a tough tackle.
Balance: 4.5 out of 5 stars
One of the highlights of Guice’s skillset is his knowledge of how to use his body. Some players don’t understand what they are, but Guice knows exactly who he is and what he should be doing. Fortunately, his balance allows him to play the way he should, lowering his shoulder when he needs to, and staying upright when there’s a hole to be hit. While making his cuts, he often keeps his pad level down, allowing him to maneuver through traffic.
Potential Landing Spot
When predicting a landing spot for Guice, you obviously want to pick a team who has a vacancy at their starting running back position, but also has a third-down back in place while Guice works on his pass-protection. It’s why I’ve always said the Browns were the perfect fit, pairing him with Duke Johnson. But assuming they draft Saquon Barkley in the first round, I think the Jets are a team that makes tons of sense at the top of the second round, as Matt Forte just retired, and Bilal Powell is going to be 30 years old this year.
While watching Guice and trying to find a comparison, you want to think of someone who can break plenty of tackles, but it keeps coming back to that reliable balance he has. It’s something that Frank Gore made work for a long time, taking what was given, though Guice has more big-play ability. You can say he’s a mix of Gore and Marshawn Lynch, just not as safe as Gore, and not as violent as Lynch. Whatever the case, he’s a hard-nosed running back that’ll make you earn your tackle. Considering he’s going to be drafted so early, he’s a name to familiarize yourself with for fantasy football purposes.