[#FilmWithFive] Prospect Preview: RB Derrius Guice
Well, here we are once more. The running back obsession has successfully spilled over into yet another draft class, you guys. Buckle-up.
Entering the 2017-2018 college football season, there will be two names that we’ll be hearing over and over and over again until April 26th, 2018: Saquon Barkley and Derrius Guice.
Two elite running back prospects that are essentially 1 and 2, or 1a and 1b, in the eyes of the majority at this point in time. For comparison’s sake, Christian McCaffrey and Joe Mixon were two backs that I was very high on last season, for obvious reasons. Again, both 1 and 2 respectively. There would be no hesitation on my end drafting Barkley or Guice over either 2017 players. My McCaffrey “craze” was well-documented, so this is high praise to say the least.
there's still plenty of room on the most handsome hill of them all. pic.twitter.com/dkqO8oNjRE
— Ryan (@StillRyanFive) March 4, 2017
Anyway, for those who have been following along on the timeline for a little while now (and sitting through those awkward McCaffrey tweets), you’ve probably seen some discussion about Saquon Barkley. He’s been the best back in the country since he stepped foot in Happy Valley, and the expectations that surround the junior phenom this season will be elevated even more so as such.
It’ll be hard to do, and even tougher to speak about, but my love for Saquon may even surpass the admiration that I had for Christian. It happens. Love is weird sometimes.
You see, I have a thing with running backs. I enjoy watching them, sure, but I’ve also longed for the Raiders to select a true game-changer at the position to call their own. If you know me for my Christian McCaffrey or Saquon Barkley infatuation (either now, or prior), you might remember my feelings towards Ezekiel Elliott. Whether it’s Elliott, or McCaffrey, or Mixon, or Barkley, or any number of the backs I’ve gushed about in between, it all comes back to the simple fact that there’s still a need in Oakland.
Obviously Marshawn Lynch is back in town, The Town, his home, but I don’t think that goes beyond this season. The Raiders’ have a couple of young, electric, second year players in the backfield in DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard. Reggie McKenzie just drafted North Carolina’s Elijah Hood in the seventh round who’s drawn early (early) praise. While all this is “fine” for the time being, unfortunately, none of these players are the answer at running back long-term.
That brings us back to the 2018 class.
You watch one game – or a quarter, or even just a series – and quickly understand why Saquon Barkley’s talked about as much as he is. He’s a special talent, and one that’s already drawn Ezekiel Elliott comparisons. As much as I love Saquon, and as much as I loved Ezekiel, I can’t say I agree with that parallel. Sure, I suppose from a “ceiling” standpoint, maybe? Where Barkley could (should) be drafted? I get it. But from a running style, and on the field, I don’t quite see it. Barkley may be more Tomlinson-ish, to me, but we’ll get to that some other time.
Enter Derrius Guice. The reason we’re all here.
Derrius Guice is Ezekiel Elliott all over again. The former 4-star back from a loaded 2015 class has the same combination of violence, attitude, and shiftiness as a runner. Elliott checked in at 5’11”, 225 with 4.47 speed. That’s nearly as ideal as it gets. Our pals at NFL Draft Scout, who have a pretty good track record in this department, have Derrius Guice sitting at 5’10”, 212 with 4.52 speed. It’s not identical, but it’s close. I’d expect Guice’s 40 to stay around the low-4.5’s, perhaps dip down to the high 4.4’s if all goes well? If he can do so while adding five to eight pounds, then we’re really talking.
The measurements are nice, and so are the highlights.
We’ve all seen the highlights:
— Ryan (@StillRyanFive) July 16, 2017
— Ryan (@StillRyanFive) July 16, 2017
We’ve seen the body bags he’s handed out:
— Brandon Saho (@BrandonSaho) February 6, 2017
We’ve also seen him in the weight room, if you’re into that sort of thing:
About triple his body weight. Derrius Guice is a freak and a very talented RB pic.twitter.com/gHjozSkAiT
— Patrick Schmidt (@PatrickASchmidt) June 23, 2017
Another prospect where the high praise just makes sense. There’s little room for debate, in my opinion, at least given what we know (and what we’ve seen) at this time. Special player.
Let’s dig a bit deeper before the season starts, and get ahead of some of these takes that’ll surely follow.
First and foremost, you’re going to want to read this piece over at Bleacher Report.
The title says it all. It’s perfect. That’s how Derrius Guice goes about his business on the field.
As a freshman at Louisiana State, working behind some other running back, Guice managed to churn out a ridiculous 8.5 yards per attempt (on 51 carries). Getting more of the work in 2016 due to an injury to the aforementioned other back, Guice still produced a strong 7.6 yards per tote. If you’re a numbers person, and numbers person alone, those are some that’ll essentially paint the picture.
It’s rare that Derrius Guice goes down on first contact. He’s a bully. He wants to run over you. He wants to you to think twice about approaching the box on the next snap. You couple that, with the other traits that we’re going to discus– right… you get it, “special”.
This is how you want your running back to finish a run, I think:
Getting things done between the tackles:
Patient feet, following the block, waiting for things to open up. In the end, bouncing off of defenders for a gain:
Scrapping for yardage after initial contact:
Balance, balance, balance. Nifty spin, again, after contact, bullying his way through:
He kinda had himself a game vs. A&M, you guys:
Often times, we’re separating running backs into two categories. There’s the smaller, more “nimble”-type runners with plus-agility and footwork. Then we have the big, move-the-chain bruisers who tend to be the opposite of “light” on their feet.
Elite runners, like Derrius Guice, effortlessly blend power (detailed above) with the footwork that allows them to be effective when moving in the open field or in tight spaces. Basically, Guice has plenty of wiggle to his game, and certainly more wiggle than you’d expect after watching him either run over or through defenders for multiple quarters.
Like I said, light on his feet:
It’s a “minimal” 3 or 4 yard gain, but what we’re interested in his how he moves. Check the bounce outside, back inside, little spin moved mixed in. This isn’t your typical “power” runner.
More vs. Arkansas. Subtle jump-cut, good vision. Nearly a home run ball…
Here’s the home run, though. We’ll talk about the speed in a bit. He’s got that too.
Outside, inside, and back outside. Hips are also working it appears.
Probably not the best example, but this is what my favorite runners are able to do: win one-on-one. He’s essentially beat to the edge but is able to shake the defender and scoot ahead for some additional yards.
Good feet, then carries the pile for an extra yard or so because of course he does.
More of that one-cut heat. This is the “sorry, Louisville” portion of the write-up. Cut, eyes up, finds the hole, end zone.
Guice embarrassed A&M:
Nifty cut in the red area:
Derrius Guice is very much a one-cut runner. That’s where he’s going to beat you. However, off the handful of clips above, you can tell that it’s simply an injustice to paint him as “only” a one-cut back. He’s capable of winning in the open field, setting you up behind the line of scrimmage, and stringing together multiple moves in order to spring himself free. Furthermore, it wouldn’t be fair to Derrius to only refer to him as a “power running back” (although he clearly is). My guy Connor Rogers referred to Guice as an “angry ballerina”, and that’s probably the best description I’ve read at this point in time. He’s angry, and he’ll hit you in the mouth, but he’ll also dance elegantly around you.
Speed, Burst, and Balance
Patience and vision? Check.
Footwork and agility? Check.
Let’s go ahead and check off some of the remaining boxes, shall we?
Another home run ball. The speed is obvious. Please don’t question the speed.
Little speed/burst as he hits the next level:
More of the burst:
I mean, this is a gimme…
Balance is such an underrated trait, in my opinion. This play is quintessential Derrius Guice:
A&M finally caught him dead, but it’s the effort (and more of that balance) that you like to see:
Where do we go from here?
I’m glad you asked.
Much like other talented runners in recent years (Gurley, Elliott, McCaffrey, Mixon, etc.), there aren’t many questions left to answer on the field. While there’s no such thing as a “perfect” prospect, Derrius Guice is pretty close, as were the others. With that said, we can certainly circle a few “holes” in Guice’s game, and look for him to answer some questions during the upcoming season.
I briefly discussed the Ezekiel Elliott comparison earlier, which is where I’m happy to plant my flag early on. The Louisiana State running back isn’t on the same level when it comes to blocking (not yet, at least), but that general “nastiness” in Guice’s game lends itself to the job.
This is what excites me about Derrius Guice the most heading into this year. One of the biggest “areas of concerns” in his game the lack of involvement in the passing game. That’s not to say that Guice isn’t capable, he just wasn’t called on. That’ll change this season, however, and we can thank new offensive coordinator Matt Canada for that.
LSU RB Derrius Guice asked if he's going to have a bigger role in the passing game. "Yes." Great answer.
— Christopher Walsh (@WritingWalsh) July 10, 2017
— Campus Insiders (@CampusInsiders) December 14, 2016
We all want to see a lot more of these plays this season:
Trust me, it’s coming…
Derrius Guice going through a pass catching drill.
— Joshua Thornton (@JoshuaThornton_) March 14, 2017
While he’s able to create behind the line of scrimmage, at times, it’s frustrating when the “dancing” leads to missed opportunities. If I had to pick another area to improve, it would be his decisiveness. Now, granted, this all feels rather nitpick-y; this is the same knock I had on Joe Mixon coming out of Oklahoma last year. We know the vision is there for the Tiger.
Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive