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Salvon Ahmed Has Incredible Play Speed (2020 NFL Draft)

by Kyle Yates | @KyleYNFL | Featured Writer
Apr 4, 2020

Salvon Ahmed, Washington

Height: 5’11”
Weight: 197 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.62 seconds
Vertical Jump: 34.5 inches
Broad Jump: 120.0 inches
3-Cone Drill: NA

(Games Scouted: BYU (2018) | Washington State (2018) | Arizona (2019) | Utah (2019) | Oregon (2019) | Cal (2019))

Each year, I’ll sit down in June or July and begin doing preliminary tape evaluations on the upcoming rookie class. When I got to Salvon Ahmed‘s tape, I became extremely intrigued and gave my stamp of approval already at that point.

I saw tremendous footwork and incredibly play speed, which was enough for me to mark him as a sleeper in the 2020 class. While he didn’t put up gaudy numbers this past season at Washington, he performed as well as I could hope and I was feeling very good about my evaluation.

Unfortunately, Ahmed came to the Combine under 200 pounds, which is slight for a NFL RB. Anything under that weight and NFL teams are going to be hellbent on using you as a change-of-pace or 3rd down only back. If that was to be Ahmed’s role, he’d need to run well enough at the Combine to validate the play speed and juice that he showed on tape. As shown above based on his testing numbers, that didn’t exactly happen.

There are now question marks surrounding Ahmed and what his true role is going to be in the NFL. Does he have the speed to be that “spark plug” for an offense? Is he truly at his limit on his frame to add any more weight without losing any more explosiveness?

What do all these questions mean for his fantasy football outlook?

Those questions are answered here in my detailed scouting report on Salvon Ahmed (ratings out of five stars):

Vision/Awareness

While Ahmed’s vision isn’t exactly his best trait, it’s one that I was certainly impressed with when watching his tape…He has great patience behind the line of scrimmage. He’s often seen waiting to find his hole and then uses his athleticism to burst through the line. He may have the tendency to bounce outside a little bit too often for my liking, which knocks his overall rating down slightly here, but he certainly has the traits in this category to succeed in the NFL.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐1/2

Elusiveness (twitch, juke, tackle-breaking)

Ahmed isn’t going to be the type of back to break 100 tackles on a season, but his burst and athleticism makes it hard for defenders to even get their hands on him. He wins with pure speed, as opposed to some other backs in this class, who will win with power or great tackle-shedding ability.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐

Size/Speed

This is the section that makes Ahmed a tough evaluation. If we’re purely going off of play speed on the field, and not taking into account his Combine run, Ahmed may be up there with the top guys in this class. If you watch the video below, you’ll see that Ahmed is simply explosive and can outrun nearly anyone. You have to take into account that Ahmed may have been playing at a much lighter weight at Washington versus what he showed up at at the Combine, but the raw athleticism is there. He does not have great size though and has zero power elements to his game. He’s a pure speed player and is best used on outside zones, stretches, etc.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Pass-catching/Pass Protection

Ahmed displays natural receiving ability, but he wasn’t used this way frequently at Washington. With only 16 receptions this past season, it’s difficult to truly ascertain Ahmed’s proficiencies in pass catching, but I saw a natural receiver on tape. With that being said, he struggles in pass protection due to his size. Shows good technique, but just may not have the size to stand in and be a true factor in pass protection. This will worry some NFL coaches.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐1/2

Versatility

As mentioned above, Ahmed certainly has the skillset to be used out in space or in an outside-zone scheme. However, he showed the ability to carry the ball well in-between the tackles with his footwork and ability to shift momentum laterally and then explode vertically. He’d be best served in a 3rd down back role in the NFL, but he may not have the necessary tape to back that up for NFL coaches right out of the gates.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐1/2

Projected Draft Spot

Right now, after Ahmed’s Combine performance, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go undrafted. It’s unfortunate, because Ahmed is still truly one of my favorite players in this class. However, NFL teams just simply aren’t going to know what to do with him. The amount of teams that are going to be interested in him are now minimal due to his projected role in the NFL, so it’s going to take him landing in the right spot for him to have fantasy football value.

Pro Comparison

When looking at Ahmed’s measurements and potential scheme fits, the player that keeps coming to my mind is Raheem Mostert. Mostert is 5’10/197, which are near identical measurements to Ahmed, and he possesses incredible play speed. Ahmed may actually run with a bit more of a low center of gravity, which may make him slightly more agile than Mostert. Mostert bounced around the NFL for a while before landing in Kyle Shanahan’s scheme and this is the dream scenario for Ahmed and his potential fantasy outlook. If he lands in San Francisco with a late round pick, or as a UDFA, I’d be willing to pull the trigger in the early 4th round of a Dynasty rookie draft. Anything else though is going to be difficult to figure out a path to fantasy football relevancy…

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Kyle Yates is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Kyle, check out his archive and follow him @KyleYNFL.

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