Rookie Scouting Report: Running Back Rodney Anderson

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Mar 26, 2019

If it weren’t for injuries, Rodney Anderson would be a much higher draft pick

Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma

Height: 6’0″
Weight: 224 pounds
40-yard dash: N/A
Vertical Jump: N/A
Broad Jump: N/A
3-Cone Drill: N/A

If you were to just pick up film on Anderson and not hear any backstory, you’d really wonder why he isn’t being discussed as a potential first-round pick. But when you look up at his measurements and then see he’s got ‘N/A’ by every category, you realize that something must be wrong. Anderson has dealt with a lot of injuries for someone who’s just coming out of college. He suffered a broken leg his freshman year, a fractured neck vertebra his sophomore year, and then a torn ACL that caused him to miss nearly the entire 2018 season.

Complete a mock draft in minutes with our free Draft Simulator >>

When on the field, Anderson was a game-changer for Oklahoma, averaging 6.43 yards per carry while scoring 21 touchdowns in his last 15 games. Due to all his injuries, he has just 200 carries and 17 receptions on his frame, though the injuries are a bit more concerning than the tread on his tires. He was unable to perform at the NFL Combine, which will cause him to drop down draft boards.

Vision/Awareness: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Not as decisive as some of the other top backs from this class when he gets the ball; you’ll see him hesitate behind the line of scrimmage at times. He also struggles when it comes to short-yardage situations, as he has little room to operate. It’s different on the second level, as he seems to see holes before they even open. He’s much better when facing a few defenders in the open-field compared to trying to decipher which hole to hit in-between the tackles. He knows exactly how to use his blockers out in front of them, as defenders get spun around more than they rightfully should. There should almost be a mixed grade here, as he’s below-average for the first second, but then flashes an elite grade on the second-level.

Elusiveness (twitch, juke, tackle-breaking): 3.5 out of 5 stars
Despite being a bigger back, he’s not someone who’s a grinder, but rather one who manipulates defenders and blockers very well. He makes subtle cuts while in full stride that cause problems for should-be tacklers. While in the open-field, he’s about as elusive as they come, as you almost never saw a defender line up a solid strike on him. He has to take a ding at the line of scrimmage though, as he’s not someone who can juke a defender in the backfield and he’s still a bit upright, giving defenders a big tackling surface. He doesn’t just fall down and it will require some effort to bring down a running back his size, but he’s not a consistent tackle-breaker.

Speed: 3.0 out of 5 stars
For a guy who’s six feet tall and 224 pounds, he has plenty of speed for what he’ll be asked to do. He ramps his speed a bit, as he’s a bit sluggish out of the hole, but once he plants his foot in the ground, he really moves well. This may have had something to do with the offense at Oklahoma, as there were a lot of options and draws, which can make running backs appear to be moving in mud while the defenders are coming in. We didn’t get to see him run the 40-yard dash, but most expected he would come in around the 4.50-second range, which seems about right.

Pass-catching/Pass Protection: 4.0 out of 5 stars
He sells his assignment very well, as rushers will believe he’s blocking, only for him to sneak past them for a screen. Lined up out-wide at times, has size comparable to a wide receiver. He’s extremely fluid running his routes and has soft hands for a big wide running back. Knowing how good he is in space, it would make sense for him to be a pass-catching running back who’s capable of handling early-down work if needed. From his limited sample of pass-protection, he’s not someone you want protecting your quarterback too often. He was consistently shoved back towards the quarterback.

Balance: 2.0 out of 5 stars
He’s a bit up-and-down in his approach, though he lowers his shoulder at times. He’s not a shifty runner, but more of a downhill, one-cut running back. Because of that, you won’t see him get his body lateral very often. He relies on his vision far more than his balance to gain yardage. If there’s one plus to his balance, it’s that he won’t lose speed when making his cuts while moving downhill, though it’s not as if those runs are going to come along all the time.

Potential Landing Spots
It’s unlikely that we see Anderson walk in and contribute immediately for a few reasons. There aren’t many vacancies for starting jobs, and on top of that, Anderson is going to fall into the later rounds due to his injury-plagued past. Truth be told, there aren’t many teams who couldn’t use a lottery ticket like Anderson on their depth chart should the starter go down with an injury. He would make a lot of sense in Tampa Bay, as the Bucs shouldn’t be giving up on Ronald Jones after just 23 career carries, but they do need to have a backup plan in case he doesn’t pan out. They have a lot of holes to fill at the start of the draft, but taking a shot on Anderson on Day 3 makes tons of sense.

NFL Comparison
When looking at Anderson’s size, one-cut running style, and soft hands, it’s hard not to compare him to Arian Foster. While I don’t believe he has the vision Foster had, he has that smoothness in the open field. This isn’t me saying he’s going to be named to four Pro Bowls, but rather the type of player he is/can be. Neither of them are tackle-breakers, though they’re not easy guys to bring down. Both of them make defenders look silly in the open-field, and both of them plant their foot on their one-cut style and ramp up speed. Foster also had a bit more lateral agility, though it wasn’t anything that stood out. Unfortunately, Foster dealt with plenty of injuries as well, starting all 16 games just once in his eight-year career.

Other Rookie Scouting Reports
Josh Jacobs (RB – Alabama)
David Montgomery (RB – Iowa State)
Damien Harris (RB – Alabama)
Darrell Henderson (RB – Memphis)

More to come in the following weeks…

SubscribeiTunes | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | SoundCloud | TuneIn | RSS

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

What's your take? Leave a comment

1Saquon Barkley (NYG)RB
2Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)RB
3Christian McCaffrey (CAR)RB
4Alvin Kamara (NO)RB
5Melvin Gordon (LAC)RB
6Todd Gurley (LAR)RB
7DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
8Davante Adams (GB)WR
9James Conner (PIT)RB
10Le'Veon Bell (NYJ)RB
 View All Rankings 
11Joe Mixon (CIN)RB
12Julio Jones (ATL)WR
13Odell Beckham Jr. (CLE)WR
14David Johnson (ARI)RB
15Michael Thomas (NO)WR
16Travis Kelce (KC)TE
17Nick Chubb (CLE)RB
18Dalvin Cook (MIN)RB
19JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)WR
20Antonio Brown (OAK)WR
21George Kittle (SF)TE
22Mike Evans (TB)WR
23Zach Ertz (PHI)TE
24Tyreek Hill (KC)WR
25A.J. Green (CIN)WR
26T.Y. Hilton (IND)WR
27Patrick Mahomes (KC)QB
28Leonard Fournette (JAC)RB
29Aaron Jones (GB)RB
30Keenan Allen (LAC)WR
1Mike Trout (LAA)CF,DH
2Mookie Betts (BOS)CF,RF
3Christian Yelich (MIL)LF,CF
4Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
5Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
6J.D. Martinez (BOS)LF,RF
7Jose Ramirez (CLE)2B,3B
8Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL)LF,CF
9Alex Bregman (HOU)3B,SS
10Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
 View All Rankings 
11Bryce Harper (PHI)CF,RF
12Manny Machado (SD)3B,SS
13Trevor Story (COL)SS
14Jacob deGrom (NYM)SP
15Justin Verlander (HOU)SP
16Paul Goldschmidt (STL)1B
17Javier Baez (CHC)2B,3B
18Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B
19Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
20Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
21Cody Bellinger (LAD)1B,CF
22Gerrit Cole (HOU)SP
23Trevor Bauer (CLE)SP
24Blake Snell (TB)SP
25Anthony Rendon (WSH)3B
26Aaron Judge (NYY)RF,DH
27Andrew Benintendi (BOS)LF,CF
28Chris Sale (BOS)SP
29Whit Merrifield (KC)1B,2B
30Corey Kluber (CLE)SP
1Anthony Davis (NOR)PF,C
2James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
3Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)SF,PF
4Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
5Kevin Durant (GSW)SF,PF
6LeBron James (LAL)SF,PF
7Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
8Nikola Jokic (DEN)PF,C
9Damian Lillard (POR)PG
10Russell Westbrook (OKC)PG
 View All Rankings 
11Victor Oladipo (IND)PG,SG
12Paul George (OKC)SG,SF
13Joel Embiid (PHI)PF,C
14Kawhi Leonard (TOR)SG,SF
15Chris Paul (HOU)PG
16Jimmy Butler (PHI)SG,SF
17Kemba Walker (CHA)PG
18Kyrie Irving (BOS)PG,SG
19Ben Simmons (PHI)PG,SF
20Jrue Holiday (NOR)PG,SG
21Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
22Andre Drummond (DET)PF,C
23John Wall (WAS)PG
24Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
25Khris Middleton (MIL)SG,SF
26Donovan Mitchell (UTH)PG,SG
27Bradley Beal (WAS)SG
28Kevin Love (CLE)PF,C
29Draymond Green (GSW)PF,C
30LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS)PF,C
Follow the Pros!

Follow us on Twitter @FantasyPros for exclusive advice and contests