|Position:||RB||School:||Sam Houston St.|
|Class:||RS Senior||40 time:||4.6 (Estimated)|
In this day and age of football, it’s not very often that you find a smaller running back who uses patience and vision instead of speed and east/west running to pick up big yards. When it comes to Sam Houston State runner Timothy Flanders, though, that’s exactly what you get.
A diminutive FCS running back with good speed and sneaky power, Flanders has spent the last three seasons slashing and gashing opposing defenses. Throughout his first three years at Sam Houston State, the Oklahoma native racked up 4,234 rushing yards and 52 touchdowns on 758 carries while also adding 58 catches for 566 yards and three scores through the air.
Flanders started his college career at Kansas State, but transferred after redshirting during his freshman season. Since joining the Bearkats, he has become a two-time All-American and two-time Walter Payton Award finalist. Flanders rewrote the Sam Houston record book for nearly every major rushing category.
Like all small-school prospects, Flanders will be surrounded by questions leading up to draft day. By what he’s shown through his career at Sam Houston State, though, there’s plenty of reason to believe he can be a difference-maker in the NFL.
- Phenomenal vision and patience when looking for a hole
- Reads his blocks well and makes the most of what the defense gives him
- Uses his blockers in the open field to create more yards
- Makes quick decisions and cuts with surprising finesse – his jump cut looks like he glides
- Rarely runs east and west
- Routinely runs through arm tackles
- Willing to run in between the tackles and doesn’t bounce outside unnecessarily
- Takes great care of the football – always has two hands on the ball when in traffic
- Explosive runner – will find an opening and burst through it before the defense can react
- Runs with determination – rarely ducks out of bounds, doesn’t shy away from contact, and always fights for extra yards
- Is a capable receiver out of the backfield – 60+ catches, 600+ receiving yards in career
- Takes good angles in pass protection and isn’t afraid to meet defenders at the line
- Very durable; missed some time while dealing with a number of nagging injuries in 2010, but hasn’t missed a game since.
- Has great stamina, often handling 30+ touches in one game
- Puts his body on the line if it means helping his team win
- Hard-working player/student with no off-field issues
- Smaller than most NFL teams would prefer
- Like most small-school prospects, lack of elite competition could make transition hard
- Shows good power against FCS competition, but it might not translate against tougher, stronger competition in the NFL
- Doesn’t always run with balance, often leaning forward too far and stumbling after contact
- Doesn’t have elite speed and will often get caught from behind in the NFL
- Average lower-body strength limits his ability to drive the pile
- Inconsistent drive after contact – will drive legs on one play and not on the next
- Despite solid pass pro technique, frequently gets knocked backwards due to lack of lower-body strength
- A lot of wear and tear on his body – almost 1,000 touches in the last four years.
- Spent his entire college career playing out of the Pistol
Many will overlook Flanders because of his height and lack of speed, but there’s no denying that he has the explosiveness and vision to be a factor in the NFL. He racked up 173 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 8.9 yards per carry against Texas A&M, so he is clearly capable of producing against an upper-level FBS defense. As long as he can stay healthy and work on his balance/lower-body strength, Flanders is definitely worth a late-round pick if a team is looking for a spark in the running game.
2014 Draft Projection: 6th-7th Round
Film Watched: vs. Texas A&M (2013), vs. Eastern Washington (2012), vs. Montana (2011)