Jacksonville Jaguars select T.J. Yeldon No. 36 in 2015 NFL draft
Though he never received the hype of fellow running backs Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon, Alabama's T.J. Yeldon posted 39 touchdowns and more than 3,800 yards during three college seasons. The Jacksonville Jaguars are banking on him to convert some of that production to their offense, after selecting Yeldon at No. 36. A three-down back, Yeldon has a chance to clear up what became a murky backfield situation in 2014 when free-agent addition Toby Gerhart slumped through an injury-plagued year. Yeldon is now the most talented back on a roster that includes Gerhart, Denard Robinson, Storm Johnson and ex-Raven Bernard Pierce. There won't be enough carries to go around, but Yeldon should earn the majority of them.
Strengths: Powerful player with a muscular frame. Exciting one-cut runner who hits the hole decisively and looks immediately to gain yards after contact. Great lateral agility—has true 360-degree feet—and explodes through skinny gaps. Exhibits a combination of speed to the edge and patience on pulls and edge runs. Potentially dominant blocker who has pancaked opponents at times. Good receiver with the potential to be great. Punishing goal-line and short-yardage runner who will exert extra effort for that necessary short gain. Could be a legitimate three-down back in the NFL.
Weaknesses: Tall back (6'1", 226 pounds) who tends to run too high. Relied heavily on an expert run-blocking line to open holes at the point of attack. Could stand to be a little less patient at times, though this could be a function of scheme. Not a jump-cutter per se; needs to keep his shoulders square. More quick than truly elusive. Has 10 fumbles in his collegiate career—needs to clean that up. Needs better consistency and technique when blocking. Will be dinged as a system back, whether he is or not.
Player comparison: Ahman Green