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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Will Shipley (RB – Clemson)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Will Shipley (RB – Clemson)

FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at Clemson running back Will Shipley.

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Will Shipley

Will Shipley (RB – Clemson)

5’11” – 205 lbs.

Background:

A four-star recruit ranked by some (including Rivals) as the top running back in his class despite his senior season being canceled. Started five of 10 games as a freshman, with a team-leading 149-739-11 (5.0) rushing tallies. Expanded his share of the carries the following year, enjoying his best season with 210-1,182-15 (5.6) rushing and 38-242-0 receiving. Through the regular season of 2023, slipped behind Phil Mafah in output, but has been getting nearly even touches and has a 156-798-5 (5.1) line with 29-235-2 receiving.

Positives:

Significant three-year contributor for a major program. High-energy back who gets up to speed quickly, with good acceleration and very quick feet. Has a no-nonsense approach to minimize losses, and makes good decisions with the ball. Shows good flexibility; runs with good knee bend and a low pad level. Gets behind his pads and barrels ahead for solid, consistent gains between the tackles. Recognizes chances to bounce runs outside, but generally executes the play as called. Can hide behind the line and shuffle to find open lanes. Executes zone concepts well, which are the most common runs in Clemson’s offense. Has the speed to win the edge on outside runs, and makes smooth cuts upfield. Knows how to finish runs, and consistently falls forward, with good leg drive after contact. Creative and elusive in the open field. Has been a pretty reliable pair of hands over the past couple of years, with some shake to make defenders miss in space. The team allows him to run a wider range of routes than some of the other backs in this year’s class. Also has some experience returning kicks.

Negatives:

Lost his lead back role as a junior. A bit smaller than teams look for in a feature back. Accelerates quickly, but top-end speed is closer to good than elite and may be a chunk runner in the pros. Fights hard to finish, but doesn’t have a major power element to his game and doesn’t break a ton of tackles. Ball security isn’t a major problem, but has fumbled seven times over the past two seasons combined. Has struggled in blitz pickup throughout his career, and may not have the ideal frame for that role as a pro, either.

Summary:

A decisive, physical runner who gets up to speed quickly and can contribute as a receiver and kick returner. He may not have quite the same physical or athletic tools as some of the other backs in the class, and wasn’t able to replicate his sophomore-year success as a junior, but teams could fall in love with his competitiveness and toughness. Looks like he’ll probably be more of a mid-round selection. Would probably function best in a zone-based scheme.

Projection: Round 4-5

 

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