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Dynasty Rookie Prospect Profile: Isaiah Spiller (2022 Fantasy Football)

Dynasty Rookie Prospect Profile: Isaiah Spiller (2022 Fantasy Football)

Isaiah Spiller caps off an immensely productive career at Texas A&M. Since stepping on the field in 2019, he established himself as the team’s lead back, averaging 180 carries, 997 rushing yards, 24.6 receptions, and 195 receiving yards per season. Those counting numbers culminated in a 23.7% college dominator (48th percentile, per Playerprofiler.com), 5.6 collegiate yards per carry (57th percentile), and 9.7% college target share (76th percentile).

Spiller began the draft season with the dark horse opportunity of establishing himself as a top-shelf prospect to be mentioned in the same breath as Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker. That star has dimmed after his athletic testing came back. Spiller disappointed scouts with a 4.69 adjusted 40 yard dash time (20th percentile), speed scores (26th percentile), and burst scores (24th percentile), all below the 30th percentile mark. These subpar testing marks drop him out of the second-round conversation, with his draft capital more likely to settle into the third or fourth-round range. Spiller is still a talented player with plenty to offer an NFL team.

Isaiah Spiller Draft Profile

Position RB
School Texas A & M
Height 6’0″
Weight 217
40-Yard Dash 4.69
2021 Age 21
Class JR
Recruit. Stars 4

2022 NFL Draft Prediction: 3rd Round

Isaiah Spiller College Statistics

Year Games played Rushing attempts Rushing yards Targets Receptions Receiving yards Total Touchdowns
2019 13 174 946 37 29 203 10
2020 10 188 1,036 26 20 193 9
2021 12 179 1,011 33 29 189 7

 

Isaiah Spiller Dynasty Fantasy Analysis

Isaiah Spiller is a clear tier below Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker III when discussing this running back class. Does that mean that he can’t also garner volume as a team’s lead back or a possible three-down option? The luster of Spiller’s collegiate skillset shouldn’t be diminished or discounted because of his disheartening stopwatch scores. If we were solely discussing the 2020 version of Spiller, we would be having a different conversation.

In 2021 he was an improved player on film after dropping ten pounds through the offseason. Spiller is a one-speed runner on many of his carries when he gets the ball in his hands and into the second level. The work he put in between 2020 to 2021 does show up on his game tape and in the metrics. After a dip in his Yards after contact per attempt and breakaway run rate in 2020, he bounced back nicely to or near previous levels. Last season he enjoyed a noticeable bump in his foot speed. This has allowed him to utilize jump cuts more in the backfield and after his initial burst through the hole. When teamed with his vision in traffic, his lateral agility improvements should allow him to remain a “chunk” runner in the NFL. This can also be seen through the lens of his 2021 statistics. While his breakaway run rates forecast a player that won’t be a home run threat in the NFL, he does have consistent stand-up double potential. He was caught from behind on numerous runs in college. In 2021 his percentage of runs for ten or more yards (15.9%) eclipsed Breece Hall’s (14.2%) and nestled in nicely behind Kenneth Walker’s (16.7%).

Among running backs with 100 or more rushing attempts (*Statistics referenced per PFF*):
Year Yards after contact per attempt (Rank) Breakaway run percentage (Rank)
2019 4.19 (10th of 176) 45.4% (37th
2020 3.40 (30th of 95) 39.7% (41st)
2021 3.63 (36th of 170) 45.6% (27th)

Because of his limited athleticism, Spiller is at his best when he gets downhill quickly instead of dancing behind the line with jump cuts. Overall he does this just fine, but three are moments where it can be an issue. While 72.3% of his collegiate carries came on zone runs, he might be better suited to be utilized more on gap scheme runs in the NFL. He meets the burst threshold to get to the edge in zone runs, but he’s more reliant on his offensive line than backs that possess more speed. He’s not a back that can create a ton of yards on his own or make more than one player miss in the hole. Getting him through the line asap will allow him to best deploy his vision and power at the second level against linebackers and corners. He also displays good leg drive and tenacity to transition into a solid option at the goal line and in short-yardage situations.

Spiller still has parts to his overall game that need to be cleaned up. His pass protection reps need to be more consistent. He sometimes puts some good blocks on tape by getting low and exploding through the oncoming rusher, but on other snaps, he’s sitting up high and is blown out of his shoes into the quarterback. He allowed a pressure or quarterback hit on 17.4% of his pass blocking snaps (per PFF) at Texas A&M. Spiller has accumulated enough solid showings showing adequate play strength in this area that I have hope he can be at least serviceable with it. He needs to become more consistent with his technique.

His pass protection lapses, marginal athleticism, and yawn-inducing 0.94 collegiate yards per route run (per PFF) offer concern that his ceiling in the NFL could be as an early-down hammer or 1A while never enjoying a three-down workload or 65% share of a backfield. Texas A&M decided this was for the best in his final season. After logging 20 carries or more in 50% of his games in 2020, this number was drastically reduced to 16.6% (only two games) in 2021 as Devon Achane wiggled his way into the rotation. Achane saw 130 carries (Spiller, 179) as the lightning to Spiller’s thunder. Achane’s track star speed (accomplished member of the Texas A&M track team) gave defenses more to worry about and game plan for. It’s not crazy to think an NFL war room could view him in a similar light.

Player Comp – ugly David Montgomery

Spiller possesses the same high-volume grinder upside as Montgomery in Chicago, and he’s likely to see similar draft capital. Until he proves he can clean up his pass pro issues, he could lose passing-down work to a specialty back (i.e., Tarik Cohen) early in his career as Montgomery did.

Landing Spot and Dynasty Outlook

Isaiah Spiller might have fallen to the fourth round, but the landing spot could be a fantasy gold mine. Austin Ekeler is entering his age 27 season and can become an unrestricted free agent in 2024. If the team chose to move on from him next year, they could save nearly six million dollars against the cap by cutting him. Ekeler has dealt with an ankle sprain, concussion, quad strain, hamstring strain, and knee hyperextension costing him six games since 2020. The Chargers have scoring chances to go around as they were second in red-zone scoring attempts per game last season. Since Melvin Gordon’s departure, the Bolts have been yearning for a running mate to team with Ekeler. Joshua Kelley and Larry Rountree weren’t up to the task, but Spiller could be. With the opportunity to earn a role in year one, Spiller could be a nice dynasty equity gain and trade chip midseason, even if you aren’t a believer in the talent.

Check out our complete list of 2022 NFL Draft profiles here partner-arrow

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Derek Brown is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Derek, check out his Archive and his Twitter at @dbro_ffb.

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