Comps – Low/Medium/High
Devontae Booker (Low) – D’Onta Foreman (Medium) – David Johnson (High)
Stylistically speaking, I believe that Devontae Booker’s tape coming out of Utah may be more comparable to Rodney Anderson’s tape than D’Onta Foreman’s or David Johnson’s. That said, Booker did not have the get-away speed that Anderson has, nor did he have the excellent vision that is constantly on display when watching the Sooner running back. Anderson may not be the pillar of agility or explosiveness, but he is consistently able to create yardage where other backs would fail miserably. Whether it’s extending plays when backfield pressure arrives or blazing past a safety’s angle, he doubles the yardage and shortens the field even more. Although there isn’t an overwhelming power or contact balance to speak of with his game, he is an incredibly difficult runner to stop in his tracks. Anderson consistently falls forward for extra yardage, and tends to always find his way for the first down regardless of the traffic he hits. This is largely due to two aspects of his game that make him a great for the NFL. Firstly, Anderson runs with good upper body lean, and he dips his way into contact to absorb it with leverage. His momentum is not going to be halted unless you come correctly at his lower body, and arm tackles or upper body shots bounce off harmlessly. Secondly, Anderson makes himself a smaller target to make contact with for defenders with weight shifts leading into contact. He doesn’t break any ankles, but will always be a tough out in the hole due to his side-stepping of reckless tacklers. His running style is much more about recognition than patience, but he has a fair amount of both. He sets up defenders and plots out his course in space before trying to deceive the would-be tacklers. There isn’t an instant burst that sends him to the house, but if he gets 10-15 yards to reach his top speed it will be near impossible to catch him if you’re not taking an advantageous angle. He has legitimate track speed that will be enough to rip off long touchdowns as a pro. Anderson’s size and experience as a receiving back in Lincoln Riley’s offense will be huge draws that could boost his stock. He doesn’t have great routes or perfect technique, but his hands are always reliable if the ball is in his catch radius. His pass blocking needs improvement in regards to using his hands, but he looked more engaged last year in that regard.
Ability to Create Yardage
Capable of sticking foot into the dirt and making direction changes, although he is a bit long-legged and may need more than one step to do so. Somewhat tall runner who is going to get chopped at the knees a lot. Can’t make hard cuts where he is forced into instant adjustments. Makes up for some limitations with his decisiveness. Excellent stop/starter who can halt himself and reverse direction without getting a finger on him. Utilizes the stiff arm as a means of controlling distance. Gets skinny and makes himself a smaller target when making cuts. Much tougher out in 2017 in all areas of his game. Would die on the field to cross the marker. Feet were silky smooth at times against the Bulldogs. Understanding of tempo as a rusher cannot be overstated; timing is excellent.
Long speed is adequate for ripping off home runs against most defenses. Galloping stride that sucks up green grass and erases angles from linebackers and safeties. May have lost a step due to injuries, so testing speed will be very important for his draft stock. Straight up burner when he gets into a foot race. Needs time to build up; not an instant accelerator through the hole. Type of runner who only needs a moment of daylight to be gone. Retains most of his momentum when making cuts because he doesn’t have to shift his weight entirely. Control over his own speed is something to be admired; unafraid to shift down to better his field positioning. Elusiveness is good for a college back, but may be easier to catch against better competition. Lateral quickness is a question.
Did not push through contact against Florida Atlantic; seemed too easy to bring down. Can break through arm tackles when he has a full head of steam. Tends to go downwards rather than forwards when working between the tackles. Gets good forward lean and uses it to keep rolling for more yardage. Measurables suggest a body that can handle NFL wear and tear, but history and style of play suggest otherwise. Leg drive doesn’t always win, but it’s not due to lack of effort. Gets tangled too often around the ankles. Should not be trusted as a short yardage back due to inability to pile push, although vision works. Will get wiped out in the backfield if there is any penetration because of high initial takeoff. Looked much stronger and balanced in 2017; popped off of tackles against Georgia. Style of power translates well to NFL.
Solid open-field awareness. Spots lanes opening up for big runs and immediately capitalizes. Natural feel for avoiding backfield breakthrough is there; instant reactions grant him second chances when his line fails him. Shows comfort working through the hole and won’t panic when forced into tight spaces. Patient in following his downfield blockers. Downhill mentality that doesn’t draw him out into no man’s land for no reason. Avoids defenders in the hole with slippery sidestep made possible by his eyes. Understands how to maximize the yardage that is given to him without having remarkable agility or strength. Needs to bounce things outside more to maximize his skill set. Loves to use the stutter step to vary pace and mix it up on defenders. Gets a bit too eager and ends up on his puller’s back early on.
Pass Blocking & Receiving
Has some pass-catching ability out of the backfield even though he was not targeted that frequently during his time with the Sooners. Good hands catcher who can work outside of his body to pull passes in. Doesn’t explode out of the catch; not a great YAC option considering how much room he needs. Enough awareness for blitz pickup to work in pass protection, although he’ll need to improve his technique to stay in front of the defender. Leads with the shoulder rather than getting his hands up to handle linebackers or stunting edge rushers. Gets blown off his feet by bull rushers who come with a big punch. Size will have coaches wanting to work with him. Has shown he can get some arm extension when he sees defenders coming.