|Class:||RS Junior||40 time:||4.34|
If we’re going strictly off of what Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk tells us he’s going to do this year, he should be considered an easy first-round pick, seeing as he will be the first running back to win the Heisman Trophy since 2009 and only the third since 2000. However, the back who guaranteed a 2013 Heisman victory last December will have to put up much more consistent results on the field this season if he wants to prove himself as a bona fide NFL talent.
The 22-year-old Texas native has been held back by off-the-field issues for a long time, and last year was the first time he saw college action. He had been a top recruit at Oregon back in 2010, but there was an NCAA investigation into whether Seastrunk had been paid to come to the school. He didn’t mesh well with head coach Chip Kelly, and it was eventually decided that it would be better for both parties if he left the program. He ended up at Baylor, and came on towards the end of the year while splitting time with fellow back Glasco Martin.
Due to Seastrunk’s inexperience and the fact that he blew up near the end of last season, averaging 159.3 yards per game over the last four games, it’s still very possible he could develop into an elite running back. However, he still has many things he needs to improve. It’s quite alarming how much Seastrunk gets taken down right at the line of scrimmage. If he doesn’t polish his skills running between the tackles, he’ll have a very difficult time trying to get past defensive linemen in the NFL.
Also, Seastrunk is used in a rather peculiar fashion at Baylor and will need to develop some additional skills as he moves along. Due to his small size, it’s natural to think that Seastrunk would be used primarily on outside runs and passing plays, especially with the presence of the bigger and more physical Martin. However, Seastrunk is used primarily on runs straight up the middle and in fact only had a few opportunities to catch passes last season. Many times, NFL teams like to use running backs of his stature as more of an outside runner, so it would be helpful if he demonstrated the ability to handle those types of skills this season.
Seastrunk definitely has the skills to succeed, but he needs to be more consistent this season. If he can show the ability to be an all-around successful back and not just an occasional playmaker, he could be one of the top running backs in the 2014 draft. Likewise, though, if he slacks this season, he may have to stay for his senior year at Baylor or take his chances in the draft. With the declining value of running backs in recent years, he could be risking a drop to the sixth or seventh round if he decides to come out after a sub par season.
- Very good pass protector
- Good at picking up speed at the second level
- Big play potential
- Likely to boost his stock at the combine due to his impressive athleticism
- Tends to get eaten up by defenders behind the line of scrimmage
- Doesn’t have a whole lot of initial quickness
- Does not exert as much power as a 210-pound back should
- Relies on dancing around and breaking tackles to gain yardage; this will be much more difficult to do against polished NFL tacklers
- Doesn’t have much experience as a receiver (only nine catches in 2012); with his size and skill set he needs to be an adept receiver to succeed as a pro
- Has a level of cockiness that could put off evaluators and teammates; he has been telling the media, coaches and teammates since his freshman year that he’s going to win the Heisman trophy
- Character concerns, as he is rumored to have accepted money to play at Oregon
- Due to layoff time from transfer, is now over-aged and is a 22-year-old junior
- Timeshare with Glasco Martin could limit his opportunities
Seastrunk needs to back up his Heisman talk with some on-field results. The Big 12 is no longer a league of fantastic competition, so he must take the bulk of the carries and prove that he’s a touch above the rest.
2014 Draft Projection: 4th round