[#FilmWithFive] Prospect Preview: RB Miles Sanders

Pennsylvania State running back Miles Sanders is in a tough spot.

For starters, he’s got the narrative of an “underwhelming” 2019 running back class working against him. This narrative will claim more victims than just one this cycle. For me, I rather like this class. We’ve quite obviously been spoiled in recent years when it comes to running back talent and class impact as a whole. I do expect there to be a drop-off in 2019, but the impression that I’m getting is that many are simply working right past this group.

Additionally, Sanders had the task of running the ball a year after former teammate Saquon Barkley left to play his football on Sunday’s.

I watched some of Barkley’s games on Sunday. He’s just as good on Sunday as he was on Saturday. It’s fair to suggest that the bar was set rather high (for Sanders). Those are tough shoes to fill for any prospect walking into that role.

Use the Google and look around and you’ll find plenty of articles and interviews where teammates and coaches praise not only Sanders’ ability as a runner, but also as a teammate and leader. Much like Barkley, he’s going to check those “intangible” boxes.

You can’t compare Sanders and Barkley. You can’t compare their talent and you can’t compare their box scores. It’s not fair to either player. That doesn’t mean that the former should be overlooked, for any of those reasons.

Sanders brings more than enough to the table. Let’s take a look.

Ability as a receiver.

During his junior year in Happy Valley, Sanders topped out at 24 receptions (notable and expected uptick given his usage; tallied 2 and 6 respectively in previous years). That’s a good base.

He looks like a natural hands-catcher, from what I’ve seen. Here he is on the wheel with some yards after the catch down the sideline:

They put him in the slot as well, something offensive coordinator’s can take advantage going forward:

This is easy, routine stuff, but I like the little move after the catch to create additional yards:

Contact balance and tough yards.

NFL Draft Scout lists Sanders at 5-11, 215. We’re obviously going to have to wait until the Combine to confirm anything, but on paper, that’s good enough. With such a strong build, it’s no surprise that Sanders churns out yards after contact. Contact balance is paramount in running backs and Sanders checks that box, too.

Patience; vision and decisiveness.

Le’Veon Bell made it popular, and ever since his ascendance, “patience” has become the buzzword and arguably the most coveted trait in a runner.

Sanders is not Bell, but he does have a good bit of patience to his game. That patience, combined with his sharp, decisive running-style, leads to chunk yardage. He moves the chains consistently.

Working around a hectic line of scrimmage, picking up ten and the first.

Nothing is happening in front of him so, thanks to some quick feet, he’s able to bounce this one outside for a positive play.

This run showcases multiple traits. The patience and vision approaching the line of scrimmage, the cut and burst, and then the ability to work through initial contact. His can make it happen in the open-field, too, setting up a defender in this instance.

For the former five-star and nation’s number one running back recruit who managed a if-nothing-but-solid 1200+ yards and 9 scores in 2018, there is almost no talk about his prospects at the next level. I’m thinking that changes as we work closer to the draft.

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive