2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Rhamondre Stevensonby Mike Fanelli March 18, 2021 2 comments
In today’s NFL, running backs fit into one of two categories. Either they are a featured back and deserve a three-down role, or they are a specialist and only fill a certain role. With Oklahoma running back Rhamondre Stevenson, he has the potential to turn into a featured back while serving as a specialist early in his career.
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Name: Rhamondre Stevenson
Position: Running Back
Weight: 245 lbs
While he lacks breakaway speed, Stevenson has good overall speed for his size at over 240 lbs. Stevenson will get caught from behind in the open field at times but builds up long speed the more steps he takes. No NFL team should select Stevenson for his speed, as it isn’t critical to his game.
At times, Stevenson would miss cutback lanes. However, his vision is on par with most starting running backs in the NFL. Sometimes when he gets strung outside on stretch runs, Stevenson struggled to find cutback lanes unless his offensive line opened a clear lane. However, when in the open field, Stevenson’s vision makes him dangerous.
Breaking Tackles (13.33/15)
Now let’s get into Stevenson’s game. If you are a defender trying to tackle Stevenson, be sure to go low and wrap up; otherwise, he will put you on the ground. Stevenson has a strong stiff arm that he showed off several times at Oklahoma. Stevenson also displayed an impressive spin move, especially given his size. Furthermore, his ability to take hits and stay upright makes him valuable in short-yardage situations.
At 245 lbs, Stevenson isn’t going to have the acceleration a smaller running back would possess. However, when he plants his foot in the ground and cuts upfield, Stevenson can go from zero to 60 fairly quickly. He has more burst when running North-South than East-West, but overall this isn’t an area of concern given his size.
Change of Direction/Quickness (7.17/10)
As a bigger back, Stevenson has good change of direction. Stevenson can plant his foot on the ground and cut upfield. Furthermore, when in the open field, Stevenson showed an ability to open his hips and change direction, leaving the defender leaning the wrong way. When a hole opens up, Stevenson has the quickness to plant his foot in the ground and hit the hole quickly.
Contact Balance (9.17/10)
This category ties back into Stevenson’s breaking tackle grade. His contact balance is one of the best in the draft class. When defenders try to hit him high or undercut him, Stevenson shakes it off and keeps on running. If a defender wants to get Stevenson on the ground, they better wrap up around the thighs, and even then, it’s not a sure thing to work.
Receiving Ability (7.75/10)
Given his physical profile, you wouldn’t think Stevenson would offer much in the passing game. However, he showed natural hands in college, bringing in most of his catches with ease. While he mainly was used on screen passes and check-downs, Stevenson has room to grow in this area. Don’t be surprised to see him turn into a 50 plus catch a year running back before his rookie contract is over.
Stevenson’s physical running style comes from his natural strength. He keeps his legs turning and uses his lower body strength to grind out every yard. However, his strength doesn’t just come from his lower body. He has a strong stiff arm, that will put defenders his size and bigger on the ground with ease.
Short Yardage Situations (4.5/5)
Whether at the goal line or on fourth and short, Stevenson is built for that situation. His lower body strength allows him to grind and turn his legs till he’s crossed the line. Even when he’s stacked up, he always spins or lunges forward to get the needed yardage. While he isn’t the goal line back Derrick Henry is, Stevenson should step in day one as a team’s short-yardage back.
Pass Protection (3.33/5)
While he wasn’t asked to pass protect very often, Stevenson did a good job picking up blitzing defenders. When a linebacker or safety shot off the edge late, Stevenson would be in a position to pick them up. However, when coming off a play-action fake as asked to protect the A gap from a blitzer, Stevenson was often stuck in no man’s land. Instead of chip blocking, Stevenson would stand there like a deer in headlights. There is plenty of room for improvement in this area, but the potential is there.
If Stevenson makes it to day three of the draft, an NFL franchise is getting a steal. While Stevenson isn’t an elite running back in any sense, he has the tools to be a lead back with room to grow into a full-time starter. Even though he will likely never turn into a dangerous weapon in the passing game, he can stay on the field on third down once he improves his pass protection.
Ideally, Stevenson should start his career on a team with an established veteran receiving back. In this situation, he would fill the early-down and short-yardage roles as a rookie while developing his passing game role. At the end of the day, Stevenson will never turn into a star running back. However, he is the perfect example of a “use and discard” running back, as he is ready to be the lead back as a rookie. Depending on where he lands, Stevenson could finish his rookie season with over 1,000 rushing yards.
Final Grade (79.42/100): Third-Round Pick
Player Comp: Carlos Hyde