Sports Info Solutions (SIS) brings you the second annual edition of The SIS Football Rookie Handbook, with scouting reports and statistical breakdowns on over 280 college football players who are likely to be drafted or signed as rookie free agents in 2020 (a glossary for the below stats can be found here). New features for this year include unique and informative NFL team pages, research deep-dives by the SIS R&D team, and—for the first time ever—the NCAA version of their flagship football statistic, Total Points.
For our second running back preview, we will look at Clyde Edwards-Helaire. A brief explanation of our running back grading scale can be found in our preview of D’Andre Swift from earlier this week.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire: RB Rank 4 of 24 | Final Grade: 6.6
Report by Matt Manocherian
Edwards-Helaire is an elusive playmaker who is limited in pass pro but has the instincts, quickness, contact balance, and receiving ability to thrive in a complementary role where he can get opportunities in space.
Edwards-Helaire lined up at RB in LSU’s shotgun, zone-heavy run scheme. He suited up in 41 games, starting 14 of them. He is a very short but thick back who thrived in the space created by the Tigers’ offense. While his play speed is good, he is a quicker-than-fast playmaker who does his best work in big situations and has a nose for the first down marker and goal line. He impacts both the pass game and the run game, but pass protection is a severe weakness.
Edwards-Helaire shows good vision as a runner with a quick jump cut that he uses to set up blocks and explode through creases. He has quick feet and shows an excellent spin move that can leave defenders grasping at air. He shows just sufficient power and usually can’t move DLs back if they get a clean shot at him or push the pile effectively on inside runs. That said, he is difficult to tackle with a bowling ball style to complement his compact frame. He shows very good contact balance, consistently bouncing off tackles, preserving his forward progress in the process. He is a very good zone runner who excels at pressing the hole to set up blocks, sneaking through cutback lanes, and exploding into the secondary.
Edwards-Helaire generally is a smooth hands-catcher, but he shows some inconsistency and will drop passes from time to time. His small frame limits his catch radius, and he struggles to make difficult catches on inaccurate throws. When throws are on-target, he is quickly into his run after the catch. He shows the ability to line up wide and create matchup issues for the defense. He is also a tough matchup for linebackers out of the backfield, showing quickness in and out of breaks. He lacks strength in pass pro and really struggles in this area. He is also inconsistent as a cut blocker, often missing his target. His best passing game usage is as a receiver, where his abilities to separate and become a playmaker give him value on all downs. That said, he is limited in his ability to pick up the blitz in obvious passing situations.
As a prospect, Edwards-Helaire compares favorably to Giovani Bernard when he came out several years ago. He projects as an ideal candidate to form a two-headed backfield along with a bigger back, and he’ll thrive as a playmaking weapon in shotgun, spread formations, similar to his usage at LSU. In terms of special teams value, he has been used as a kick returner and projects to be able to fill the same role on the NFL level.
|Playmaking ability||Pass pro|
|Excellent spin move||Catch radius|
|Passing Game Impact||6|
|Year||Att||Rush Yds||Y/A||YAC/A||Rush TD||Targets||Rec||Rec Yds||Y/Trgt||Rec TD|
|Positive %||Per 100 Touches||EPA|
|Year||Split Out %||Heavy Box %||Routes Run||Yards Per Route Run||Blown Block %||Rush||Rec||Total|