From now until the 2018 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.
#5 Derrius Guice /LSU RB – 5’10” 212 lbs.
– Amazing balance
– Punishing rushing style (thrives on contact)
– Powerful lower body (keeping legs chopping)
– Above average vision
– Changes directions without gearing down
– Nice spin move
– Soft hands
– Injured for much of 2017, will he get back to 2016 form?
– Ran mostly outside the tackles
– Rarely runs behind his pads to protect himself (takes too much contact?)
– Needs a lot of improvement as a pass blocker
– Underdeveloped receiving threat
– If a lane isn’t there, the runner may stop and wait too long
– Pulled a woman out of a car wreck this past week and tweeted about it
– Ranked a 5 star recruit by Rivals and a 4 star recruit by 247Sports.com, ESPN, and Scout.com
– Named 2017 Second Team All-SEC (SEC Coaches, Associated Press)
– Started 17 out of 36 games (shared load with Leonard Fournette his freshman and sophomore years)
– College career statistics are 471 rushes for 3,074 yards (6.5 ypc) with 29 touchdowns and 32 catches for 250 yards (7.8 ypr) with 3 touchdowns
– Ran for 1,341 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 617 receiving yards his high school senior year
Faced with a 2nd and 23, #5 lines up next to his quarterback in the shotgun formation. At the snap, Guice dances to his left with his arms at his sides. The back doesn’t sense pressure behind him and ends up tripping on an offensive lineman’s leg. His lack of awareness and arms at his side (instead of being coiled-ready to strike) really make him a liability to the offense. This could tip off defenses as yo what the offense has planned with limited personnel packages.
On a 2nd and 4, Guice lines up beside his signal caller in a spread formation. At the snap, the runner takes the handoff while keying in on his pulling right guard, who helps open up the left off tackle lane. #5 turns the corner quickly while reading his downfield blocks, and then bursts into the open field. He bounces off a kneeling would be tackler and spins away only to get taken down by three defenders. This play shows off his vision and body control.
Late in the second quarter, LSU lines up in a run-heavy formation facing a 2nd and 14. #5 is the single back who screams out into the flat as the quarterback rolls back to his right. The left inside backer flows out to meet Guice, who catches the pigskin in stride. The runner uses a stutter step to make the backer miss as the Tiger back races down the sidelines to take all the real estate he could grab. I liked the way this play showed his soft hands and ability to make defenders miss in the open field.
Faced with a 2nd and 3, the LSU Tigers lined up with a two right wide set with the signal caller under center. Guice got the handoff with the play designed to go left, but reads his blockers while dunking underneath and cuts up the middle of the field. Seeing that the remainder of the defense is flowing to the middle, #5 jump cuts to his right and streaks down the gridiron. He reads his receiver’s downfield block, cutting back inside and then races past two other defenders hurdling into the endzone for an amazing 42 yard touchdown run. This is full-strength Guice with jump cuts and amazing vision to spare, unlike his 2017 film!
In a tight ballgame, the Tigers came out in a left two wide run formation. Guice got the ball from the QB and doesn’t see much. Instead of jump cutting to his right or getting low and taking what he could, #5 decides to spin and gets thumped right away for no gain. Spinning for the sake of spinning could be quite disastrous. Perhaps the runner could get away with that occasionally, but in the NFL that will lead to many scoop and scores by the defense.
If Guice can return to his 2016 form, he could be a difference maker in a rotational scheme for a high powered offense. I don’t see him as a three down back with his limited pass blocking and his violent, but sometimes unnecessarily protected running style. He leaves his body up for big hits, instead of delivering the pain to the defense. While I like him for fantasy football, I do not believe he is a match for the Steelers offense. #5 is a better fit for the Philadelphia Eagles or the Seattle Seahawks style offenses who use multiple runners in specialized roles.
Projection: Late Day One or Early Day Two
Games Watched: vs. BYU, @ Florida, vs. Missouri (2016), @ Louisville (2016)