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Rookie Scouting Report: Running Back Devin Singletary

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Mar 29, 2019

Despite a horrible NFL Combine performance, Devin Singletary has some good traits

Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic

Height: 5’7″
Weight: 203 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.66 seconds
Vertical Jump: 35.0 inches
Broad Jump: 117 inches
3-Cone Drill: 7.32 seconds

Prior to the NFL Combine, there were plenty of Singletary supporters who said he just might be the top running back in the class. Their tune changed rather quickly when he measured in at just 5-foot-7, ran a horrid 4.66-second 40-yard dash, and had the fourth-worst 3-cone drill time. His stock may have dipped more than any other running back who performed at the Combine.

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While at Florida Atlantic, Singletary carried a massive workload, particularly over the last two seasons where he tallied 562 carries. The level of competition wasn’t near that of some of the top backs in this class, which is what allowed him to tally 66 rushing touchdowns over three seasons at FAU. His 5.2 yards per carry in 2018 wasn’t particularly strong and neither was the fact that he totaled just six receptions for 36 yards… all season… in 12 games.

Vision/Awareness: 3.5 out of 5 stars
He displays great patience in his offensive line, allowing them to open holes for him to run through before he makes his decision. This can be a great thing if he lands on a team with a solid offensive line, but it could be disastrous if he were to play for a team who gets no push up front. He did bounce runs outside a lot more than he’ll be able to on the pro level, particularly when it was third-and-short. His approach didn’t change much no matter where the yard markers were, and that’ll hurt his chances to stay on the field for third-and-short. He did score 66 touchdowns in three seasons, so he obviously had some nose for the end zone, but he needs to understand how to get more downhill and not so much all-or-nothing. In the end, his awareness is lacking but his patience and vision are rock-solid.

Elusiveness (twitch, juke, tackle-breaking): 4.0 out of 5 stars
He might have more juke than anyone else in this draft class, as he cuts on a dime and has the ability to break ankles with his lateral movement. He hides behind his offensive linemen very well, which likely comes from his lack of height rather than his ability to get low, but it does help his elusiveness. He did break some tackles at the college level, and while I don’t believe he’s going to break many tackles at the NFL level, he shouldn’t get thrown around like most smaller running backs do. He earns a high grade here due to his ability to evade tacklers, not so much for breaking tackles.

Speed: 3.0 out of 5 stars
The Combine proved what was seen on tape; Singletary doesn’t have good top-end speed. The Combine didn’t destroy his value to me, as he appeared quicker than fast on film. I’d rather have a running back who’s quick and elusive in-between the tackles than one who runs a fast 40-yard dash. The question comes down to whether his speed will hold him back and my answer is “no.” He was able to patiently wait behind his offensive line and get to the edge before most defenders could, but also had enough quickness to slide in-between blocks and not be tackled by his shoelace. He’s not a track star and you should be okay with that.

Pass-catching/Pass Protection: 2.0 out of 5 stars
I don’t know why he caught just six passes in 2018, as he appeared to be competent when targeted. All we have to go off is college tape, so we can’t say he’s exceptional, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying he’s not capable of being a threat in the passing-game. He’s a willing blocker, but lowers his head into blocks, thrusting himself into the defender, who can then side-step him. He’s not big enough to take on edge defenders, though any competent offensive coordinator will understand his limitations at his size. I’ll label him as slightly below-average here, though I’d almost like to say it’s an “incomplete” in the pass-catching.

Versatility: 2.0 out of 5 stars
He’s not someone who’ll be handling 20-plus touches in the NFL and he’s not a running back who’ll be very good in an offense with a subpar offensive line. He’s also not someone you want to trust protecting your quarterback. When drafting someone like Singletary, you must have a certain role designated for him, which gives him a below-average score when it comes to versatility.

Potential Landing Spots
With a running back who’s expected to go on Day 3, it’s somewhat pointless to guess which team will take him. So instead, I’ll look at a few teams who could use someone like him. If the Eagles decide to wait on running back, he’d make tons of sense behind that offensive line and in that scheme, as he wouldn’t be asked to carry the whole workload, but rather perform in a timeshare. I also believe the Saints would be a good fit if they’d like to add depth behind Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray. Bottom line, you want to see him land on a team with a solid offensive line in place.

NFL Comparison
There were a few players who came to mind while watching Singletary, though the perfect comparison I could come up with was Ameer Abdullah. Both players come with less-than-ideal size but can juke defenders out of their shoes when given the opportunity. We didn’t see Abdullah heavily utilized in the passing-game because he landed on a team with Theo Riddick, though I still believe he can contribute in that area which is how I felt after watching Singletary at FAU. Abdullah is somewhat forgotten because of the offense he fell into, as the Lions offensive line never blocked the way he needed it to. Abdullah was also a patient runner who waited for a hole to open and would then win his one-on-one battles in the open field. Singletary could suffer the same fate if he lands on a team with a bad offensive line, as his patience would never shine.

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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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