NFL Draft

2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Oklahoma State RB Chris Carson

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

Chris Carson/RB Oklahoma State – 5’11/6 218

The Good

– Great frame and carries his weight well
– Powerful runner who runs with a low pad level and can run defenders over while maintain balance, highlight reel plays
– Downhill runner, build-up speed runner but shows above average burst that helps create his power
– Tough runner who falls forward on contact
– Bigger back but shows ability to get skinny through the hole
– Gets square in pass pro and aggressive/physical in his chips out of the backfield
– Testing indicates great explosion that will help on zone, one-cut schemes

The Bad

– Long speed is average and will only outrun slow LBs
– Vision in space is poor and he’s an incredibly straight-line runner who looks to run over, not around
– Doesn’t have much wiggle and isn’t going to make anyone miss
– Has to gather steps on zone schemes when trying to bend runs back
– Easily tracked down when trying to bounce runs laterally, not fast enough to win the edge
– Soft inside shoulder in pass pro and needs to work on recognition
– Production was below average and never had to be the bellcow back, wasn’t productive in “lead” role in 2015
– Not a lot of receptions out of the backfield and drops too many passes, questionable hands


– 213 career carries at Oklahoma State
– Career: 213 carries 1122 yards 13 TDs, 30 career receptions
– 2015: 131 carries, 3.9 yards per carry
– 2016: 82 carries, 6.8 YPC
– Committed to Georgia out of high school but ended up going to a JUCO for first two years

Tape Breakdown

I’ve had problem with the bad level of taller backs in this year’s class, James Conner comes to mind, and while Chris Carson is more than an inch shorter, his pad level is really impressive. And in moments, allows him to truck stick linebackers with some serious impressive runs.

And here…

That asset of being a very downhill runner also creates one of his weaknesses. He doesn’t have much speed, no agility, and isn’t going to make anyone miss in the open field. He’s missed chances in the open field for more yards because of his determination to run through you, not around. This is the most egregious example.

As the stats indicate, he was never a workhorse in college and when he was the lead guy in 2015, his numbers were poor. He turned things around as second in command in 2016, even though he officially stared nine games, but that doesn’t bode well for the argument he can be an every-down back at the next level.

He’s only had two 100 yard games in his two year career and only one of those came against a quality opponent, TCU, while the other came against UTEP. His hands aren’t great either and he didn’t catch many passes at school.

There are traits to like but it makes him very niche. A short-yardage, power back, maybe, but those guys don’t really exist these days. At best, he’s Shonn Greene. At worst, Daniel Thomas.

Projection: Late Day Three/Priority UDFA

Games Watched: at Iowa State (2015), at TCU, at Oklahoma

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun Watson Haason Reddick Marshon Lattimore Corey Clement Tim Williams
Jourdan Lewis Takkarist McKinley Brad Kaaya Nathan Peterman O.J. Howard
Charles Harris Alvin Kamara Tyus Bowser David Njoku DeMarcus Walker
Chidobe Awuzie DeShone Kizer Marlon Mack Cameron Sutton Zach Cunningham
Corey Davis Carl Lawson Patrick Mahomes Kareem Hunt Evan Engram
Derek Rivers Ryan Anderson Joshua Dobbs Jordan Leggett Samaje Perine
Corn Elder Bucky Hodges James Conner Cooper Kupp Stanley Williams
Fred Ross Jamaal Williams George Kittle Ejuan Price Chris Wormley
Jeremy McNichols Joe Mathis Derek Barnett Amba Etta-Tawo Gareon Conley
Taco Charlton  Elijah McGuire Ryan Switzer Tanoh Kpassagnon Tre’Davious White
Brian Hill Matthew Dayes Donnel Pumphrey Josh Reynolds Nazair Jones
De’Veon Smith Davis Webb Obi Melifonwu TJ Watt John Ross
Jerod Evans Vince Biegel Josh Carraway Josh Malone Kevin King
Fadol Brown Chris Godwin Nate Gerry Jordan Willis Stacy Coley
Zay Jones Jimmie Gilbert Glen Antoine Tarell Basham Duke Riley
Rayshawn Jenkins Chad Kelly Trey Hendrickson Jeremy Sprinkle Joe Williams
D’Onta Foreman Carlos Watkins Damontae Kaze Wayne Gallman Willie Quinn
Xavier Woods Elijah Hood Malik McDowell Desmond King Solomon Thomas
Cordrea Tankersley Solomon Thomas Josh Harvey-Clemons Raekwon McMillan Christian McCaffrey
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